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Fat skis and knees...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I demoed a pair of 168 Icelantic Nomads (listed at 105 under foot, but measure 110 under foot) for two days recently and have been fighting some wierd knee sensations since then. I skied them a lot on harder snow (groomed and bumps). At one point, on the second day (which included some steeper terrain at ABasin) one of my knees had a fairly sharp, recurring pain in it, although it wasn't bad enough to prevent my skiing the rest of the day. I don't remember any nasty falls or wierd incidents that contributed to instigated the pain. In the car on the way home, the pain went away and was replaced by a wierd sensation...it sort of felt like my knee was swollen above the knee cap (although I couldn't see anything unusual on the outside) especially as I bent my knee more.

After a couple days, my knee finally feels mostly normal, but still a bit "wierd". I'm not sure what "wierd" means exactly...but it seems a bit more tender than usual, with pain on the inside of the knee from time to time, as well as a bit of pain when climbing stairs. Some of this is sort of typical for me after a day of harder skiing...

Anyway, the question at hand...is any of this due to skiing on fatties? In passing, someone mentioned fatties causing knee discomfort and requiring different technique to avoid the discomfort. Does this make sense? If so, what technique tweaks can one make to avoid beating up your knees on fatties? Maybe I just had a fall I don't remember where I twisted something and this has nothing to do with fatties...
post #2 of 11
They most certainly put more torque on your knee, and take more torque to get on edge. I can't say if it's enough to cause soreness/pain however. I haven't noticed a big effect, but my widest ski is only 94mm at the waist and my whole body generally feels beat after a good ski day. Any minor knee soreness blends into the background hum...
post #3 of 11
Sounds like you may have strained something - would guess your MCL - banging around on the hard bumps. Especially if you notice tenderness on the inside of the knee. The weird sensation is probably fluid. It should resolve itself in a few weeks. Ibuprofen and taking it easy on knee-intensive activities help.

Far as your question, yep, as 219 has shown, on a solid surface every few millimeters of width requires a touch more force to lever the ski up on edge. Or to keep the ski on edge when forces rebound up from the snow surface. So more stress on the joint. Normally not a big deal because most folks don't ski a 105 on hard snow a lot. In soft snow, flex, not carve, is what turns the ski, and anyway, no clearly defined surface to bounce forces back and forth. But one day last season I ended up skiing my Goats most of the day on packed groomed, skied hard, noticed some minor unhappiness in my knees that evening that I wouldn't have expected with 70 somethings.

Solution: 1) Don't use fat skis as bump and groomer zoomers. Or 2) Put your bindings on a plate, which gives you more mechanical advantage.
post #4 of 11
IMHO, you shouldn't even buy those skis unless you have other skis in th quiver to back them up. period. Of course they will tear you up in inappropriat conditions. 110's are for soft snow, only, unless you are 18 years old and have perfect connecting tissue etc.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabe View Post
Anyway, the question at hand...is any of this due to skiing on fatties? In passing, someone mentioned fatties causing knee discomfort and requiring different technique to avoid the discomfort. Does this make sense? If so, what technique tweaks can one make to avoid beating up your knees on fatties?
Besides the already mentioned "ski them only when conditions permit", I'd say there are a few things you can do to keep your knees happy on hard snow while on fat skis:

1. Create edge angles with your hips. Drive from the hip, not the knees. You need to get them up on edge to carve, skiing from the knees down will promote skidding, skidding promotes knee pain.

2. Don't smear. Put the ski up on a high edge angle (using the big muscles of the hip) and arc 'em or park 'em. A fat ski going sideways on hard snow will tweak all sorts of stuff, a wide ski on edge is just a ski on edge.

3. stay out of the bumps. Fat skis just don't fit into the zipperline and any other technique requires pivoting (to some degree), pivoting is skidding, skidding hurts. Ski 'em when they're covered in freshies or switch skis.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Besides the already mentioned "ski them only when conditions permit", I'd say there are a few things you can do to keep your knees happy on hard snow while on fat skis:

1. Create edge angles with your hips. Drive from the hip, not the knees. You need to get them up on edge to carve, skiing from the knees down will promote skidding, skidding promotes knee pain.

2. Don't smear. Put the ski up on a high edge angle (using the big muscles of the hip) and arc 'em or park 'em. A fat ski going sideways on hard snow will tweak all sorts of stuff, a wide ski on edge is just a ski on edge.

3. stay out of the bumps. Fat skis just don't fit into the zipperline and any other technique requires pivoting (to some degree), pivoting is skidding, skidding hurts. Ski 'em when they're covered in freshies or switch skis.
great advice.

also realize everyone limit is different for me 105 doesnt hurt me knees no matter what, but a couple hard surfaced runs in a row on my thugs will have the inside of my knee begging for mercy. I try not to do this to my knees.
post #7 of 11
Wide skis on groomed terrain = overcanted = stress on the knees. Not only is it harder to tip onto edge, it's also harder to maintain or increase edge angle.

+1 to using more hip, getting lifters, and choosing more appropriate terrain.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabe View Post
.... Maybe I just had a fall I don't remember where I twisted something and this has nothing to do with fatties...
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
...Sounds like you may have strained something - would guess your MCL - banging around on the hard bumps. Especially if you notice tenderness on the inside of the knee...
Yeah, maybe MCL or meniscus... MCL's can heal unless completely torn, meniscus will not.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice!

On the "ski them in the conditions they were meant for" point...well, I certainly don't plan on skiing them regularly in hard bumps/groomers. I had them on a demo for the weekend and there was no fresh snow. When I did find some freshies, the skis rocked (as expected). I was interested to see how they'd handle other conditions, and other than the knee pain, I had no complaints. If/when I'm unlucky enough to be on fatties on harder snow in the future I'll definitely try to concentrate on the points regarding hips vs. knees.

I took it easy for a few days and then yesterday took some somewhat more appropriate skis (Afterburners) through some bumps at Winter Park. It was easily the hardest I've ever skied bumps and my knees feel fine today...thighs are a little burnt, but that's a good thing.

Thanks again!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
IMHO, you shouldn't even buy those skis unless you have other skis in th quiver to back them up. period. Of course they will tear you up in inappropriat conditions. 110's are for soft snow, only, unless you are 18 years old and have perfect connecting tissue etc.
I think that this is outdated at least in the West (can't speak for the East - I don't ski there). Many wide skis these days can rail the groomers and are reasonably acceptable in the bumps (note the caveat there..). Companies like Armada are making five dimension skis like the JJ that are truly breathtaking on piste.

I've found that I can carve just about any turn great on my Icelantic Shamans (160-110-130) thanks to their large sidecut. Seriously, those things are on rails. So much so that I gave away my pair of Volkl 724's and either ski the High Society FR (105 under foot) or Shaman day in and day out. I even hit the bumps with them - they're 173's so they are quite fun.

So I would argue against the notion that a wide ski is only for soft snow or powder. It all depends on the skis.

As to the OP's original point - I can't confirm. As folks have pointed out here you do end up getting it on edge differently. Have you had any knee issues in the past?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post
So I would argue against the notion that a wide ski is only for soft snow or powder. It all depends on the skis.

As to the OP's original point - I can't confirm. As folks have pointed out here you do end up getting it on edge differently. Have you had any knee issues in the past?
I tend to agree on the fatties being OK...they skied quite well in all conditions I presented them with.

I have a family history of knee problems (my dad was one of the early people to have his knees scoped) and my knees generally are pretty achy after skiing. Oddly enough, after the skiing bumps yesterday, my knees don't hurt in the slightest. I'm starting to think I had just tweaked something and staying off skis for a few days allowed things to heal...
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