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Backyard Practice

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm motivated to write this out for my own edification but it hopefully might be of some use to others...

I left work early today for the holiday but had a tennis workout cancel at the last minute. So I'm sitting at home with a foot of melting snow on the grass and I think why not go out and practice some ski drills? As I am not very good at drilling when I'm skiing out west I decide to give it a try. I learned some things:

I basically worked on 2 drills.

1) Standing an a slope (an edge of lawn sloping up to a flower bed) and changing from uphill edges to downhill edges ("upside down") without sliding.

2) Standing on flat snow and landing on alternating edges.

Here's some things I discovered and perceptions I had awakened:

My left hip (replaced 20 mo. ago) is not nearly as capable as my right hip (replaced 7+ years ago) in terms of external rotation to get an outside "upside down" edge in drill 1. This may be because of the shorter time since surgery but I suspect a good deal of bursitis in that hip also makes it less mobile. It's good to realize this as it explains some shortcomings I feel in my skiing (and perhaps allow me to better adjust my tactics and goals).

The left hip also has more limited internal rotation there's but not as much difference between hips as there is for external rotation. This further explains some shortcomings I feel in my skiing.

Drill #1 gave me some good feedback on the relationship between tipping, counter rotation, and angulation/counter balance. I needed to add plenty of the latter two in order to try and get upside down on the downhill edges. I didn't do very well with the drill the first time around but it was on ski packed, very wet snow that was very slippery and not very soft.

I also didn't do that well with Drill #2 at first but over time things got much better. First of all, jumping and lifting the skis is not my best move although there have been times over the last couple of years (when I've been skiing a lot and practicing launching over rises) when I've done better (and been better able to avoid rocks and other obstacles in the midst of skiing). As it turned out, I started without this feel with my body naturally compensated by over extending the upper body and arms. Eventually, though, I got the feel back for extending the lower legs mostly and then lifting the skis with the legs. Now able to get my skis off the ground I found that I was inconsistently rotating my skis as I switched from 1 set of edges to the next. However, as I added more angulation/counter balance and some counter rotation I found myself able to better keep the skis in their track and eventually was doing sets of 10 changes with pretty good results.

At the end I went back to the slope to work on drill 1. There was further improvement but I hope to do it again over the next couple of days to see how much further I can improve even with my given hip limitations.
post #2 of 3
I have a friend who felt he couldn't advance one side of his pelvis into a turn (diagonal movement of the COM) as readily as the other, regardless of focus on the task. He took the problem up with some sort of medical practitioner and they discovered one leg was slightly shorter than the other. A little boot work and now he feels much more symmetrical.

By the way, have you discussed hucking off rocks/cliffs with your orthopod? Another friend who skis with knee replacements tells me his surgeon approved of skiing, but advised he avoid the kinds of impacts one would experience in jumps as much as possible.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi Kneale,

First, thanks for your concern. I'm sure I'm not the only one around here who notices that about you.

I keep up pretty well with the joint replacement field going to at least one conference each year. I'm not hopping (I would definitely not call it hucking) off anything large and I think I'm OK. Knees are a very different story and I would not practice (or at least try to exert enough self control not to) the same behaviors if I had a knee replacement. I ski with one of my surgeons every year at the joint replacement conference for a half day or so and he's seen how I ski. My other surgeon at Michigan sometimes shows pictures of me climbing or skiing in his presentations.

I think your point about leg length discrepancy is a good one to consider. My left leg is about a cm or two longer than the right after both surgeries. However, my right foot is smaller so I already have some extra shims in that boot which should counter this some. Additionally, I can feel a little soreness in my left (newer) hip as I try to make these movements. I know that my right hip continued to improve even through year 4. So I'm hopeful that I will gain further mobility in the left hip.
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