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Has a ski injury affected your approach to skiing?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I am recovering from a dislocated shoulder and rotator cuff tear that happened when I crashed in February. It is not the first time I have hurt my self. Relatively modest damage in the past, including fractured tibia/fibula in Tuckerman Ravine week after 13th birthday, strained medial meniscus when got taken out by another skier three years ago at Jay Peak, low back strain when got caught up in a lift chair and thrown into lift shack after yanked over trip bar, etc. But this latest injury has been the most difficult to recover from, though I did it on my own without surgery. While I am raring to go for the best season ever, I must admit that this injury has prompted me to contemplate my approach to this obsession I have. Maybe not so fast, not so aggressive and maybe just a bit more respect for snow and physics. Anyone go through this kind of reassessment after getting banged up and did it change you - for the better or worse?

David

post #2 of 53

That thought process will go away after some time. I broke the bone in my tibia that connects to the acl. I wasn't supposed to ski for a year and skied about three months after my cast came off. Take it slow and do more as you're comfortable.

post #3 of 53

I cracked a rib or tore some cartlidge landing a small jump in the park a bit past the landing ramp at the end of last season.  It was far from what I'd call a very hard landing and I didn't fall.  It felt lke a bullet hit me in the side as I sucked it up with my knees and torso.   I skied to the lift feeling short of breath and noticed that it didn't get any better skiing the final hour afterwards.  It took about  6 weeks until I could sleep without being awakened by the sharp pain of an icepick in my ribs every time I turned over in bed.

 

I wasn't out of shape,  I did stuff to keep in shape and also stay limber so I'm wondering if late 40s is getting too old for such moderate to high impact activities.  Then, I look at Bret Farve and wonder how the hell he does what he does at his age. 

 

No wonder all those wrestlers get addicted to pain meds.

 

I'm going to try using one of those neoprene and velcro ab wraps for some additional support and skip the drugs.  If that doesn't work I'll start skipping the park reluctantly...


Edited by crgildart - 8/31/10 at 11:57am
post #4 of 53

Well, after slamming into a tree HARD, my new mantra is "Do you really want to hit a tree at this speed?"  If the answer is no, then I slow down. 

 

For details on the injuries, you can do a search as I won't bore people again.  Suffice it to say, I'm only back skiing because it was the first injury to speak of in 35 years of skiing, so I figured the next one would happen when I was dead.  However, just to be safe, I've slowed down quite a bit, as at my age, recovery is SLOW. 

post #5 of 53

Not yet.

 

I started at an advanced age, 37, and things that I might have done if I had started younger, I'll probably not be trying. I still work to become a better skier. I stay under control in the trees and bumps, i like to ski fast on the groomers, but not when they're icy. I don't night ski much anymore. I'll jump off small stuff if i can see the landing but that's usually a monkey see monkey do situation. Worst injury was bruised ribs a few years back. I think maybe a lot of injuries are not caused so much by a skier's approach as by a lack of attention, other skiers or stuff that is beyond your control.

post #6 of 53

I agree with SibHusky. Once you have injured yourself - or have suffered the consequences of previous injuries (primarily race and speed-related) - it pays to slow down, and ski for the conditions (and in control). After two back surgeries and a total knee replacement, I am happily skiing reds (Europe), blues and greens - and just feeling lucky that a) I'm still a good skier, and b) and able to do it and enjoy it. Black diamonds are a thing of the past - but, who cares?

 

Bottom line - once you've been injured, you view things differently.

post #7 of 53

affected your approach? sure, I learn from mistakes and lapses in judgement. It doens't mean that I stop doing something because I got hurt at it, I try to learn from it and improve on what I did. Most injuries are due to something you could have done better or differently that you can control. live and learn but don't let it stop you.

post #8 of 53

Bad experiences lead to better judgement...do what you used to do...just be wise about it. And, I'd love to ski on a pair of fat skis. I'm getting new Strolz boots this year, so new skis are out. I do love my Volkl T50s; however, I think they're dating me.

post #9 of 53

I agree with Finndog. Learning from the mistakes is the most important thing. I had a pretty nasty crash in the park last year and was lucky that the only thing that happened was i got the wind knocked out of me. Yeah  I was a little a more cautious after that but it taught me that I needed to work on my body control in the air more rather than keep trying new tricks wile being barely in control. Sometimes it takes that crash to learn what u are doing wrong

post #10 of 53

Then to re-learn...

post #11 of 53

Have broken lots of body parts skiing and otherwise.  The older I get the slower the return, sad but true.  Shoulders were quicker to come back to skiing from than knees, legs and back stuff, but it still takes time. 

 

Suggestions on shoulder rehabs:

listen to the medicos, avoid pushing it much faster than they recommend.

Get and use a squeezy ball, they helped me a lot with mine and the Mrs. when she did her shoulder.  Heating it helped too.

You will start getting more active as your subconscious trusts the healing, just believe.

post #12 of 53

After two knee replacements in 2000 and two hip replacements in 2003-2004 , I came out about the same place as yourself . I actually have not had any decrease in skills but  do have a more cautious approach . Good luck !

post #13 of 53

Tore my acl and mcl at Tuckerman's 2 years ago (mid life crisis).

 

Change in approach?  Decided to take lessons.  Wore a knee brace for almost two full seasons. I now ski faster, however much safer and became an instructor.

 

Had a chronic bad shoulder for several years.  Skied into a cantaloupe size piece of ice I didn't see that was the same color as my goggle's lens.  Took my legs out from under me and my degenerated rtc tendon became a 90% torn rtc tendon.

 

Change in approach?  babied it the rest of the season; easy pole plants, no hitting gates, and no teaching kids that need help onto the chair lift or can't get up themselves.  The latter was excruciating pain.  Had surgery and have been working it constantly since.  This year for the first time in two years, I'll be injury free (knock on wood).

 

Lessons learned:  It takes a loooooonnnnng time to recover at 50.  Skiing smarter is the way to go.  I have nothing to prove so i do and don't do what I want.  I do love challenges though so I have to catch myself because sometimes that egotistical Marine shows up and I end up eating vitamin M for a couple days.

 

I also have no problem spending almost an entire day working a skill/drill.  At the beginning of last year, I could only do 360 spins (on snow) in one direction.  Decided that was unacceptable since I would have to teach it and spent a day doing 360s in each direction on all the green and blue trails. 

 

I like skiing fast but I hate not being in control of it.

post #14 of 53

Well, I used to ski as fast as I possibly could until the day a couple of decades or so ago that I knocked myself out for a few seconds skiing over a pronounced wind-blown ridge at top speed.  Since then I ski much more cautiously, and only open it up if I know the trial.

post #15 of 53
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfool86 View Post

After two knee replacements in 2000 and two hip replacements in 2003-2004 , I came out about the same place as yourself . I actually have not had any decrease in skills but  do have a more cautious approach . Good luck !


BRAVO! You "walk the walk," so to speak. Not sure if your screen name reveals you age, but your saga reminds me of my dear uncle who metaphorically pushed me down the hill about 46 years ago. He is now 86 and we are finalizing our annual plans for Vail. He too got a new hip about three years ago. I am afraid it did not help him eliminate his vestigial stem christie.

David

post #16 of 53

I skied 5 yrs without an ACL.  I got very good at basically skiing on my left leg, using my right only for balance.  Fortunately, I smartened up and received a new ACL from a kind corpse.  Two things I learned: (1) Ski hard but in control & (2) be a tissue donor.  Thank you to the unknown person for the ACL.

post #17 of 53

Hi David - the 86 0n my screen name does denote my age . I started skiing on barrel staves at the ripe old age of 6 , and have been going ever since , including 30 years on the National Ski Patrol . I quit at age 75 because of the knee replacements . I still get in about 35-40 days a year - mostly in Colorado .

post #18 of 53

During my first trip to whistler in April 2009 I was skiing the cement when the snow suddenly grabbed my skis. As I was an eastern skier with limited powder and deep snow experience, I tended to ski with my weight far forward. So when the snow grabbed, I went flying head over heels and landed on my left wrist, resulting in a spiral fracture. That event marked the end of my 30 day ski vacation (after only 7 days...) 

 

The next season I trained hard every day in December on the hardpack, and avoided the off-piste until taking my level 2 course. I took several more lessons off piste and in powder, and gradually my technique improved to the point I could comfortably ski the off-piste blacks out here. 

 

When some people injure themselves, they cope by avoiding that which injured them. And sometimes that's prudent. But you can also learn from your injury. Granted, it's better to do the learning before or in lieu of getting injured...

post #19 of 53

I had the same injuries a couple of years ago, dislocated left shoulder, partial tear on the right, but no surgery.  Took me about year+ to fully recover and definitely led me to slow down the next season.  But last year was back to normal speeds, except when passing thought the crash zone, where I always check my speed now - I don't want any repeats, it takes to long to recover these days.

post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

During my first trip to whistler in April 2009 I was skiing the cement when the snow suddenly grabbed my skis. As I was an eastern skier with limited powder and deep snow experience, I tended to ski with my weight far forward. So when the snow grabbed, I went flying head over heels and landed on my left wrist, resulting in a spiral fracture. That event marked the end of my 30 day ski vacation (after only 7 days...) 

 

The next season I trained hard every day in December on the hardpack, and avoided the off-piste until taking my level 2 course. I took several more lessons off piste and in powder, and gradually my technique improved to the point I could comfortably ski the off-piste blacks out here. 

 

When some people injure themselves, they cope by avoiding that which injured them. And sometimes that's prudent. But you can also learn from your injury. Granted, it's better to do the learning before or in lieu of getting injured...

Funny how injuries affect peoples skiing in different ways.  When I broke my wrist (radius) skiing, I had to leave my poles at the top of the hill for the rest of the day, and at home for the next four weeks.  I think the skiing without poles forced drills probably improved my learning curve.
 

post #21 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfool86 View Post

Hi David - the 86 0n my screen name does denote my age . I started skiing on barrel staves at the ripe old age of 6 , and have been going ever since , including 30 years on the National Ski Patrol . I quit at age 75 because of the knee replacements . I still get in about 35-40 days a year - mostly in Colorado .



Just as I thought. Perhaps you are not similarly preoccupied, but the uncle I refered to has this thing about being the oldest guy on the hill. That is to say, he wants to be and he keeps a hawk eye out for others from his vintage. At Vail last year he spied such a fellow in a lesson. He had his son go over and ask the instructer how old his student was. The instructer said, the guy is 90. But he is not my student. His 25 year old female companion was. Perhaps that is another reason why historians call you guys the "Greatest Generation".

Happy trails,

David

post #22 of 53

Hi David,

 

I am struggling with the same questions/feelings.  Last season I had a hard chest to tree trunk impact that ended my season after only a few days.  I am mostly recovered but my body is still affected a bit and my mind is reeling.  I honestly feel like I narrowly escaped death that day and now some things must change.  I am sure that I will ski the trees more slowly and with better control that I had become accustomed.  But how much slower?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Well, after slamming into a tree HARD, my new mantra is "Do you really want to hit a tree at this speed?"  If the answer is no, then I slow down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzie-Lou View Post

I agree with SibHusky.  Black diamonds are a thing of the past - but, who cares?

 

Bottom line - once you've been injured, you view things differently.



To Sibhusky and Lizzie-Lou I say, more power to you two!  I think you two must love skiing more than I do.  When I'm skiing (as opposed to traversing/negotiating the lift line and such) I am always traveling at speeds much faster than I would be comfortable hitting a tree.  If I had to choose to only ski greens and blues..... oh man.... guess I'd sell my alpine gear and take up cross country.

 

So for me next season, two things are sure:  I'll ski more slowly and cautiously in the trees and I'll ski the trees less than in previous years.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View PostI must admit that this injury has prompted me to contemplate my approach to this obsession I have. Maybe not so fast, not so aggressive and maybe just a bit more respect for snow and physics.

David


Respect.  Yeah, I had a healthy respect for the mountain, the snow, and the conditions last year.  I felt a great sympathy for what could happen if you're not careful.  Now I have empathy and that will increase my respect.

post #23 of 53

Well, you don't have to be skiing the trees to hit a tree.  I was on a green run doing just under warp 6 and caught a root or something that hadn't been poking out the run before.  Tried to recover, but couldn't before I left the trail, etc., lots of ricocheting, yada yada.

 

A fluke that didn't have to happen.


What was the rush, after all?  To keep up with my buddy?  He could have waited a few seconds more.  As it was he had to wait a hell of a lot longer for me...the rest of the season.

 

That particular accident didn't affect the trails I picked the next year so much.  I did spend a lot of time on drills, though, and found I could do a lot of things better after that.  A later accident, non-ski-related, shattering my knee cap, had a much bigger impact on where I skied, but that's another story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post

Hi David,

 

I am struggling with the same questions/feelings.  Last season I had a hard chest to tree trunk impact that ended my season after only a few days.  I am mostly recovered but my body is still affected a bit and my mind is reeling.  I honestly feel like I narrowly escaped death that day and now some things must change.  I am sure that I will ski the trees more slowly and with better control that I had become accustomed.  But how much slower?
 



To Sibhusky and Lizzie-Lou I say, more power to you two!  I think you two must love skiing more than I do.  When I'm skiing (as opposed to traversing/negotiating the lift line and such) I am always traveling at speeds much faster than I would be comfortable hitting a tree.  If I had to choose to only ski greens and blues..... oh man.... guess I'd sell my alpine gear and take up cross country.

 

So for me next season, two things are sure:  I'll ski more slowly and cautiously in the trees and I'll ski the trees less than in previous years.

 


Respect.  Yeah, I had a healthy respect for the mountain, the snow, and the conditions last year.  I felt a great sympathy for what could happen if you're not careful.  Now I have empathy and that will increase my respect.

post #24 of 53

Definately, yes...I tore my acl late one season when I was like 25, fortunately didn't miss the next but I totally reassessed.  The first year is the worst but it get's better quickly.  I've been skiing all of my life and I basically looked at this way...I won't be happy if I can't ski!!! so risk analysis happens more often, plus I got married.  I don't want to have leave the hill.  One thing I do now is try to keep my skis on the hill, no drops, I'm 42 years old now so no big sacrifice.  I'm happy I can still ski it all, albeit a little slower and have to find a workaround for the airs...my kids will hopefully wait.  Hindsight is always 20/20 and I don't want to use it.  Another side benefit was overall fitness and my commitment to it. 

post #25 of 53

I ruptured my spleen and had it removed learning to spin onto boxes/rails about 6 years ago.  I quit spinning onto features after that.

post #26 of 53

Yeah, I sort of do love skiing more than life itself. I started out as a racer (albeit not a very good one), and have been an excellent skier all of my life. I've had my share of injuries, which have led to arthritis and installation of the various bionic body parts. I am 62 and am still an excellent skier. I ski with the mantra of self-preservation and the desire to still be able show off the skills and style (and style is everything in my book) that I have learned over the years. My husband can always pick me out on the hill, even though my Arctyrx jacket and pants are black (just got a new red helmet so I am now more obvious in the event I am down for the count) because of the way I ski. Caution and care have allowed me to continue to enjoy the sport - and I have to say that I am STILL a better skier than my 30-year-old-know-it-all-lawyer-daughter (and she taught for two years...but, what does that say?).

 

Ski smart and you'll ski well for a long time.

post #27 of 53

I had a torn acl my senior year of high school, the year after was my first year of skiing regularly (20-30 days that year) but i was used to the injury and had no real trouble with it. However that year did have alot of injuries for me, a concussion (trying to 360, no helmet) a dislocated shoulder and alot of stress on my other knee. As far as my skiing goes ive become nothing but more aggressive each year, of course this is only my third year of skiing more than 2 days a year and im still young enough that recovery comes quick. Im starting out this season with tendonitis in the left knee and its keepin me from mountain biking as much as usual. I still have a feeling im gonna be charging harder than ever.

post #28 of 53


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Funny how injuries affect peoples skiing in different ways.  When I broke my wrist (radius) skiing, I had to leave my poles at the top of the hill for the rest of the day, and at home for the next four weeks.  I think the skiing without poles forced drills probably improved my learning curve.

 


Believe me--if I could have skied again I would have. But I was on hardcore painkillers for four days to deal with the pain alone. The on-hill doctor's comment was "hmm, that shouldn't look like that." The bone had basically exploded. Every bump in a car felt like the bone's frayed ends were splintering against each other. The hospital doctor told me to end my season as I could ruin myself if I skied again before it healed. And now it's fine... whew, thank you Whistler doctors!


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Well, you don't have to be skiing the trees to hit a tree.  I was on a green run doing just under warp 6 and caught a root or something that hadn't been poking out the run before.  Tried to recover, but couldn't before I left the trail, etc., lots of ricocheting, yada yada.

 

A fluke that didn't have to happen.


What was the rush, after all?  To keep up with my buddy?  He could have waited a few seconds more.  As it was he had to wait a hell of a lot longer for me...the rest of the season.


That's awful! You know, it's fair to go fast, and you were in control, I'm guessing no visible obstacles either. I'd hate to second guess skiing just because there could be an invisible "something" somewhere on the run. That kind of thing could happen to anyone... it's a terrible thought.

post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 


That's awful! You know, it's fair to go fast, and you were in control, I'm guessing no visible obstacles either. I'd hate to second guess skiing just because there could be an invisible "something" somewhere on the run. That kind of thing could happen to anyone... it's a terrible thought.


You could also have a binding suddenly fail at any moment sending you in the woods and rocks at whatever speed you are traveling.  Same goes for driving and having a blowout while having a little fun on a curvy mountain highway.  When your number's up,. it's up!  That doens't mean I'm going to hide and expect the sky to fall every moment of the day though.
 

post #30 of 53

Speed kills

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