• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

No ACL, no surgery, no problem - My new normal as a Coper

The long stay at Alta Lodge in April was a great way to end the 2018-19 season, which was my seventh season since popping off an ACL (not skiing). Got in 42 days out west and 16 in the northeast (mostly Wachusett, NH, Sunday River), plus a few days at Massanutten in early January.

Trips out West
Jan MLK Week: Taos Ski Week
Feb 1st week: Taos Ski Week, first hike to Highlands
late Feb: Grand Targhee (2), Bridger (3), Big Sky (6)
April: Alta (16), Deer Valley (1), Solitude (1)

Had a fair number of lessons with two Taos Ski Weeks (6 morning group lessons) plus a 3-hour semi-private at Bridger with Bill. The most effective lesson was a private lesson in early January at Massanutten with the resident Examiner, Peter Stransky, to work on my left turn. After an hour on green/blue trails (Geronimo, Lower Showtime), I could do the correct movement consistently and feel the difference. More importantly, I figured out more than one way to make it happen correctly so it made a big difference for the entire rest of the season.

The payoff for all the lessons and work on fundamentals since 2012 was being ready to really enjoy skiing deep powder. I got very lucky in February and caught powder storms at all four places. Actually got to practice skiing in knee deep powder, instead of “one run and done.” While I rented powder skis for a few days at Big Sky and Alta, I had plenty of fun skiing 10+ inches of fluffy powder with my Stormrider 85 skis very much in the snow at Targhee and Bridger. Every powder turn was pure fun, even if just a few turns in untracked snow behind trees.

Grand Targhee, 14 inches in the past 24 hours, with 9 inches after lifts closed the afternoon before, fluffy powder (6%), storm total that week was 41 inches
View attachment 10853

The unforgettable run was making first tracks on Ballroom going non-stop and at speed. Took just under two minutes. A longer run than usual because Main Street was ungroomed so the last section I stayed in tracks to make sure I made it up the rise. When the snow is that good and there are no tracks, there’s usually a very good reason.

Getting ready to drop in. See the two people at the edge of Main Street (in front of trees)?
View attachment 10852

Pic above taken from about where I left the traverse. Took this pic about 20 min after the rope drop.
View attachment 10851

I miss Alta....
 
It’s been seven years since I popped off the ACL in my right knee (not skiing, age 56). I opted to take the conservative approach of exercise therapy only, meaning no ACL reconstruction surgery. In my case, the collateral damage was a minor MCL strain and a small hole in the part of the meniscus that could heal fully without medical intervention. I researched online and discussed the pros and cons of surgery with my surgeon after an MRI confirmed that the ACL was gone. At age 63, I am a coper with no knee pain, no knee swelling, no instability, and my KOOS score is about 98 (of 100). I ski at an advanced level (Level 8 of 9). Lately, I’ve been getting in 50 or more days a season, mostly at big mountains out west in recent years (requires flying). For my body and personality, deciding to work on fitness to become a successful coper was the correct choice.

I made two significant changes in order to continue skiing at an advanced level: 1) working on ski conditioning and general fitness on a regular basis year round, and 2) investing time and money in lessons and practice to improve ski technique. After three months of formal physical therapy for knee rehab, I joined a fitness center and started working with a personal trainer. I am in much better shape and a much better skier than before losing an ACL. I was never interested in the terrain park, hucking, or steep and narrow chutes. I’m enjoying trees, bumps, deep powder, and steeper terrain in ways I never expected given that I became an advanced skier after age 50.

For more insight into the rehab process during the first few months after injury (July-Oct 2012), here is my first coper thread:

Learning to be a coper without an ACL

The treatment approaches for how to treat ACL-deficient patients continue to evolve. The knee is complicated. Everyone's situation is different. Regardless of what can be learned online, there is no substitute for working with experienced medical professionals to come up with a personalized treatment plan.
 
Marz, IMHO you qualify as a poster child for the anti-aging movement.
:smile:

I'm benefiting from the role models my parents provided. They lived into their mid-90s, and stayed active physically until the last few months. Stayed mentally alert until the very end. They weren't sporty as adults, but worked to keep up their balance and leg strength by walking on a regular basis. My mother also did a little Tai Chi now and then. She broke a leg at age 70 (rushing down stairs in their condo). Rehabbed very successfully by paying close attention during PT afterwards. She used what she learned to stay in good shape for daily living after that.
 

Freetoski

Diva in Training
I’m very late to the party here but I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for al of your information! I had a complete MCL tear and partial ACL tear in Dec 2019- skiing. Dr is hopeful of no surgery since I seem pretty stable I’ll see him again at 8 weeks out. MCL is healing but still sore and knee still swollen from either ACL or MCL. I read all 15 pages of posts. Thank you!!!!!
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Freetoski Thanks for bringing this thread up and sorry about your injury, speedy recovery to you.
I just injured my knee last week - thought it was from overuse, but initial xrays shows a deep lateral sulcus that indicates ACL injury. I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon next week and hopefully can get an MRI soon. I cannot wait to find out what exactly is wrong so I can start looking forward to treatment/rehab.
@marzNC Thanks for sharing your experience!
 
I’m very late to the party here but I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for al of your information! I had a complete MCL tear and partial ACL tear in Dec 2019- skiing. Dr is hopeful of no surgery since I seem pretty stable I’ll see him again at 8 weeks out. MCL is healing but still sore and knee still swollen from either ACL or MCL. I read all 15 pages of posts. Thank you!!!!!
Sorry you needed to research a serious knee injury, but thanks for letting me know that you found this thread useful. Of course, knees are complicated and your ortho surgeon should be the best source of medical advice on what to do going forward.

For me, the MCL tear was small and could heal without surgical intervention. But it was what hurt for at least a couple months. I avoided a few PT exercises initially because they were painful.

Have you tried the KOOS self-rating yet? Doing that every 2-4 weeks was helpful to get a sense of progress during my PT period and extended rehab period working with a personal trainer.
 
@Freetoski Thanks for bringing this thread up and sorry about your injury, speedy recovery to you.
I just injured my knee last week - thought it was from overuse, but initial xrays shows a deep lateral sulcus that indicates ACL injury. I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon next week and hopefully can get an MRI soon. I cannot wait to find out what exactly is wrong so I can start looking forward to treatment/rehab.
@marzNC Thanks for sharing your experience!
Sorry to hear it's more than you first thought.
 

Freetoski

Diva in Training
Sorry you needed to research a serious knee injury, but thanks for letting me know that you found this thread useful. Of course, knees are complicated and your ortho surgeon should be the best source of medical advice on what to do going forward.

For me, the MCL tear was small and could heal without surgical intervention. But it was what hurt for at least a couple months. I avoided a few PT exercises initially because they were painful.

Have you tried the KOOS self-rating yet? Doing that every 2-4 weeks was helpful to get a sense of progress during my PT period and extended rehab period working with a personal trainer.
I did the KOOS test last night- I’m at 61. I agree it’s great to have a reference standpoint. I really appreciate all of your information and links!
another question for you- I was skiing on my old skis from 1999 when I was hurt, so the width was maybe upper 60s. time for a new set!

Do you find the new skis with the width to bother your knee? I was looking at a pair of Elan Ripstick 86 2019 version with kneebindings. The ski shop thought these would be a soft forgiving ski for me. I’m an intermediate skier not a real adventure seeker. I’m worried the 86 might be too wide. I live in Buffalo NY.
 
I’m very late to the party here but I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for al of your information! I had a complete MCL tear and partial ACL tear in Dec 2019- skiing. Dr is hopeful of no surgery since I seem pretty stable I’ll see him again at 8 weeks out. MCL is healing but still sore and knee still swollen from either ACL or MCL. I read all 15 pages of posts. Thank you!!!!!
Hi @Freetoski! I'm sorry to hear about your injury and hope it heals up quickly and completely. Glad you found the forum. These women and the forum are a wealth of knowledge!
I'm a Western NYer too, Bristol is my home mountain.:welcome:
 
I did the KOOS test last night- I’m at 61. I agree it’s great to have a reference standpoint. I really appreciate all of your information and links!
Later on, you can play around with your answers for KOOS to see what happens to the total score. my goal was to get to 90 and after that I didn't really pay as much attention. I noted my KOOS numbers in a blog post a few years ago.

Oct 2017, Over 50 Fitness For Skiing Adventures
Five years after rupturing an ACL, still a successful coper

I was skiing on my old skis from 1999 when I was hurt, so the width was maybe upper 60s. time for a new set!

Do you find the new skis with the width to bother your knee? I was looking at a pair of Elan Ripstick 86 2019 version with kneebindings. The ski shop thought these would be a soft forgiving ski for me. I’m an intermediate skier not a real adventure seeker. I’m worried the 86 might be too wide. I live in Buffalo NY.
I still have a pair of long, straight skis in my closet bought in the 1980s. Meaning over my head. Current ski sizing would be at nose or forehead height for an intermediate.

For skiing in the northeast, mid-80s is on the wide side. The skis I demo'd and bought several years ago for mid-Atlantic and northeast skiing are the Head Absolut Joys, 78 underfoot. The first good skis I bought after starting to ski more regularly (got my daughter started at age 4, she's in college now) in the southeast were 75 underfoot. I've only demo'd the Ripstick 93.

Check out this thread in Ski Gear about narrow skis, meaning under 80mm. What are your height/weight? I might be able to find a relevant gear discussion.
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/favorite-narrow-waisted-skis-below-80-mm.24335/

If you can wait, Holiday Valley seems to have a demo day in mid-December.

If your skis are that old, when did you buy your boots? Boot design has also changed since straight skis become retro gear.

As you've probably noticed, lessons and practice became a major interest for skiing after knee rehab, both locally and during trips out west. The skis I used the first season after rehab were used skis that were 72mm and a bit shorter than my all-mountain skis at the time (88mm, 159cm). I never had pain or swelling issues with skis of any width. That meant from 70 to 115 underfoot, depending on snow conditions and what region I was skiing in.
 

Freetoski

Diva in Training
Later on, you can play around with your answers for KOOS to see what happens to the total score. my goal was to get to 90 and after that I didn't really pay as much attention. I noted my KOOS numbers in a blog post a few years ago.

Oct 2017, Over 50 Fitness For Skiing Adventures
Five years after rupturing an ACL, still a successful coper


I still have a pair of long, straight skis in my closet bought in the 1980s. Meaning over my head. Current ski sizing would be at nose or forehead height for an intermediate.

For skiing in the northeast, mid-80s is on the wide side. The skis I demo'd and bought several years ago for mid-Atlantic and northeast skiing are the Head Absolut Joys, 78 underfoot. The first good skis I bought after starting to ski more regularly (got my daughter started at age 4, she's in college now) in the southeast were 75 underfoot. I've only demo'd the Ripstick 93.

Check out this thread in Ski Gear about narrow skis, meaning under 80mm. What are your height/weight? I might be able to find a relevant gear discussion.
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/favorite-narrow-waisted-skis-below-80-mm.24335/

If you can wait, Holiday Valley seems to have a demo day in mid-December.

If your skis are that old, when did you buy your boots? Boot design has also changed since straight skis become retro gear.

As you've probably noticed, lessons and practice became a major interest for skiing after knee rehab, both locally and during trips out west. The skis I used the first season after rehab were used skis that were 72mm and a bit shorter than my all-mountain skis at the time (88mm, 159cm). I never had pain or swelling issues with skis of any width. That meant from 70 to 115 underfoot, depending on snow conditions and what region I was skiing in.
thank you! I’ll check that out. I was getting back into skiing after a 7 year break- my 6 year old twins were starting skiing. I purchased brand new boots this year and had them on with old bindings when I fell. It was a silly fall. A small bump like 200 feet from lodge at bottom of hill caught me off guard. I’ll have to measure my old skis I’m curious how wide they actually are! length was 170. Husband and I decided right then we needed upgraded gear. I’m 5’6” and was an out of shape 195 lbs at injury. Currently 185 working down towards goal of 165.
thanks!
 
thank you! I’ll check that out. I was getting back into skiing after a 7 year break- my 6 year old twins were starting skiing. I purchased brand new boots this year and had them on with old bindings when I fell. It was a silly fall. A small bump like 200 feet from lodge at bottom of hill caught me off guard. I’ll have to measure my old skis I’m curious how wide they actually are! length was 170. Husband and I decided right then we needed upgraded gear. I’m 5’6” and was an out of shape 195 lbs at injury. Currently 185 working down towards goal of 165.
thanks!
Good that you've dealt with getting boots already.

My hiatus was longer since my husband is a non-skier for assorted reasons. It's lots of fun getting kids started. After my daughter was too busy for ski weekends, I started going to my local hill with a friend when her kids were 4 and 6. They've become good ski buddies for spring break trips to Alta.

Doesn't take much to mess up a knee. A couple years ago a woman in my Taos Women's Ski Week did a slow backwards fall at the top of an easy bump section, hardly moving forward at all. Another older woman and I were waiting to drop in and were surprised she couldn't get up. Diagnosis was a popped ACL.

If you haven't come across it already, good to read the info from Vermont Ski Safety about how to react when starting a fall in order to better protect knees.

Tips For Knee-Friendly Skiing
https://vermontskisafety.com/research/tips/
 

Staff online

Members Online