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Knees friendly gear , does it exist ?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
After 2 weeks skiing in Dolomites ( very hard hardpack , all time on full on slalom skis ) I was forced to rest next 3 weeks - my knees filed , finally . I am 40 + years in the sport so , that is natural , but when asked one former italian racer what ski should I use from now , he shooted : " Stormrider XXL is the only easy on knees performance ski " . I have had no opportunity to test them but have some doubts . Need some support from users os XXL's and , maybe , suggestion what other to choose ?
Thanks in advance .
post #2 of 12
Love my XXL's, but I wouldn't say they are any easier (or harder) on the knees than any other similar ski. Mind you, I liked than a lot more than the Volkl AC4's they replaced. Do you need to go as wide as the XXL? If not try the XL instead, IMO a greatly underrated ski.
post #3 of 12
I've had a seriously messed up knee for years now. The biggest help you can give yours is found at the gym, not the ski store. The second biggest help will be good custom braces from your orthopedist. The third biggest help will be good boots properly fit and canted.

Only then, IMO, do we get to the ski shop. As a rule of thumb, a damper, smoother ski is going to keep knees happier than something light and full of feedback. Damp often means metal inside. K2's of course are the exemplar for older skeletons, but for those of us who think the Apache series goes more toward deadness than smoothness, I'd consider Head, Stockli, and Volkl. Plenty to choose from among those. My personal favs are the Head Superhape and iM series, and the Stockli wood cores like the XL. Nice combo of dampness, strength, and energy. I've heard good things about Nordicas, but haven't skied any.

If you're more of a finesse skier, I've found Blizzards to be lighter and quicker than many of the above, but they still handle crud and rough hard snow in a knee friendly way. The new Sollie Tornados and Furies manage to be surprisingly smooth on groomed and in chop even though they're very light, but they can get nervous on hard rough snow. Also can recommend Dynastar Legend series although you have to get used to the tip deflection. Skis I personally have trouble with in this regard: Fischers, Atomics, many but not all Rossis, most any ski that's foregrounded as "light and lively."

Finally, think hard about bindings. Pistons or springs help absorb or smooth out shocks. This is a good thing.
post #4 of 12
post #5 of 12
Try a different technique.

Some advocate keeping the knees almost straight and skidding all turns.

I prefer to make retraction turns. The outside leg is near straight through the whole turn with most of the weight on it, the inside leg is bent but light. At the transition, just relax the outside leg and tip the ankle to the new edge, allow your momentum to carry your body across the skis and allow the new outside leg to extend to maintain contact with the snow. In deep snow, equal weight on both feet but the same movements. The knees are nearly straight when under load and bend only when the load is off the knees. I've been told that the contact area under load inside the knee is greatest when the knee is straight, reduced when the knee is bent, and reduced much more when the knee is bent and angulated. I haven't played with a plastic knee model yet to see this for myself. Pressure = load divided by area, so the greatest area of contact will reduce the pressure on the parts inside the knee.

Don't flex the knees to absorb forces during the turn. Don't extend the knees under load. Never side-load the knees with knee angulation. Of course, never sit back.

The knees will be much happier if the skis are riding on their edges slicing across any lumpy snow vs. skidding and bouncing on the lumps.

Take 1500mg glucosamine and 1200mg chondroitin daily.
post #6 of 12
Originally Posted by tief schnee View Post
ahh... you beat me to it
post #7 of 12
I always thought and it looks like telemarking would be harder on the knees. I'm thinking about getting some telemark gear this winter and have worried about my aging knees and body, but is the collective wisdom here that telemarking is actually easier on the body?
post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
Don't flex the knees to absorb forces during the turn. Don't extend the knees under load. Never side-load the knees with knee angulation. Of course, never sit back.
I believe this is very good advise.
post #9 of 12
Softsnowguy: While retraction is a common approach, along with supination or all that little toe stuff, for pressuring/steering your inside ski, and while staying on edge is always a good thing for reducing shocks, I totally, fundamentally disagree with your ideas about straight outside/downhill knees. This is why:

1) The concept of an extended outside leg, taken from racing, was never meant to exclude flexing your knees. In fact, if this fully extended leg with almost all your weight on it hits a bump or rut, the impact is transmitted efficiently straight up your tibia, and across your locked knee into your femur. Good chance for articular surface ramming into articular surface, all kinds of fun outcomes.

Instead, assuming you're riding your outside ski's big toe edge, and pushing AGAINST this stable edge, instead of skidding it down the hill, you want to absorb shocks by letting your knee flex. Allow the shocks to push up, close the knee angle a bit. Moreover, a tonically flexed knee, using both quads and hams, is far more stabilized than one that's extended and depending on whatever ligaments you have left to stay together.

2) You can't ski anything very steep without angulation. But I'm not sure what "knee angulation" is; the angle is going to be created just above the hips. If you're worried about putting lateral stress on your knee(s), wear a good brace.
post #10 of 12
If you're doing hardpacks, have you tried to Rossi Zeniths?

I have crappy boots with no dampening, and demoed a bunch of higher end stuff at Stowe to see what had the best vibration absorption. I wasn't impressed with AC30s at all and with the lower-end Dynastars. The Z9s, on the other hand, were amazing. Not sure how they do it.
post #11 of 12

Here's your answer...

and I'm only half-joking.

This snow-sliding tool is easier on your knees than any ski made.
post #12 of 12
Yeah, we were all asleep at the switch and Bob got it right. Everyone I know who skis and practices medicine says that boards are far far easier on the knees. Makes sense from the basic design. Now the ankles, wrists, and back, another story...
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