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Overcame so much and question

captain_hug99

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I'm mainly a lurker, but this past weekend, I felt like a "real skier!" My daughter (16) and I ski together, it is our thing to do as she can't jump off the lift to avoid the tough questions I ask her. LOL She is a much better skier than I am, I started at 37. But this weekend, I made a concerted effort to not continually slow myself down.

Something just clicked. My form improved, my skis while turning were parallel. My daughter watched me and said, "Mom, you look like a real skier! Not only are your skis parallel, they are really close together!" I FELT FANTASTIC!!!!! I didn't see a steep part and freak out, I just made my turns.

So question: What do you do to build up endurance while skiing? We are on the mountain 10-20 days a year. I did 7.5 miles at Keystone (three long runs) and was DONE. I do go to the gym, elliptical, barbell class with lots of lunges and squats, aerobics, etc... I am overweight, 5'2" and 200+, but I get over 12,500 steps a day. Am I expecting too much if I was able to ski 7.5 miles in a day?
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
Love your inspiring story! I think the key for a days endurance for me is to let the skis do the work instead of trying to “muscle it”... a lesson after your breakthrough today might be a great option to move into the next step of your skiing. Congrats on your awesome day!
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
As I *cough* mature ... I realize that gravity is my friend. Learn to feel the part of the turn, where the momentum will propel you into the next turn. It's a feel thing. Start by always losing altitude - ie: don't traverse or turn back uphill unless you need to bleed speed. You probably experienced that today by gaining speed and allowing gravity to assist you. The more I use gravity, the better my endurance.
 
#6
Take a lesson and tell your instructor you are particularly interested in working on the parts of ski technique that will allow you to ski more efficiently.

With the right technique, skiing can be almost effortless, as there is no need to have constant engagement of the large muscle groups like quads, glutes or hamstrings. If your legs are getting tired, you can learn to ski in a way that is more efficient.

There is no reason why a reasonably fit person should not be able to ski all day without getting tired. And it sounds like you are plenty fit! But no amount of squats or lunges will make skiing less tiring if you are not using the proper technique.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
...this weekend, I made a concerted effort to not continually slow myself down.
...Something just clicked. My form improved, my skis while turning were parallel.
...I FELT FANTASTIC!!!!! I didn't see a steep part and freak out, I just made my turns.
...We are on the mountain 10-20 days a year.
...I did 7.5 miles at Keystone (three long runs) and was DONE.
...Am I expecting too much if I was able to ski 7.5 miles in a day?
...Take a lesson
...With the right technique, skiing can be almost effortless.
...If your legs are getting tired, you can learn to ski in a way that is more efficient.
...There is no reason why a reasonably fit person should not be able to ski all day without getting tired. ...no amount of squats or lunges will make skiing less tiring if you are not using the proper technique.
Exactly what @Skisailor says. Your exhaustion is not from lack of strength or endurance. Skiing should not be exhausting unless you are skiing at high speed (think racers) or are doing long bump runs at speed. In your case the fatigue is from something in your technique. Your stance probably needs some serious adjustment.

To deal with that, take a lesson, preferably a private lesson. Sometimes a group lesson in the afternoon of a weekday will end up being a group of one. Explain your exhaustion, how often you ski, and your need to be able to ski all day long without that exhaustion. The buzz word for that is how to ski efficiently, as @Skisailor says.

You describe yourself as a wedge skier moving into parallel skiing. If you ski 10-20 days a year and normally feel insecure, with that insecurity causing you to stay in a wedge and go slow, there may be a reason for that which is separate from the technique issue. There could be an important boot issue holding you back.

If your boots are loose (not tight), the snow can jerk your skis around in an out-of-control way and leave you feeling seriously insecure. This feeling can be legitimate. I used to have this problem and had no idea my boots did not fit and were causing the problem. I simply thought I had to work with the issue, get over my concerns (fear), and ski more aggressively. I couldn't feel the skis doing their own thing independent of what my feet were doing because I had no idea my feet, if put into boots that were REALLY SNUG, would be able to control where those skis pointed and how much they tipped.

If your feet don't turn but your skis do, even a tiny little bit, or if your feet don't tip but your skis do, or if your feet slide even a tiny little bit sideways inside your boots, or if you have air above the middle of your foot inside the boot, then you are effectively driving your skis with a loose steering wheel. Could this be you?

Boots need to fit your foot in three dimensions like a prosthetic. Length matters (toes should contact the front wall), width matters (continual firm contact along both sides of each foot), and height matters (no air above the foot). Also the cuff should fit snugly (as in, tightish) around the bottom of the lower leg, just above the ankle bones. If you've always been in boots-too-big, you don't know what a good fit feels like.

If you think this may be you, and you are in rental boots, try going down a size or two. The shorter boots will be more difficult to get on, but should not cut off circulation. A "snug" fit will feel odd. It takes some getting used to. But rental boots don't come in different widths nor heights (known as volume) so keep that in mind.

If you own your boots and you think this might be an issue, it may be time for new boots bought with a real bootfitter in a brick-and-mortar shop helping you get the right boot.
 
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#9
Not to ignore the wonderful suggestions higher up, but yes, it's easy to get dehydrated skiing, and it makes a big difference. I carried water my first day skiing, and it froze. So I neglected to drink! Big mistake.
 

Covie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Ask an instructor to help you get into a stacked position and work on carving. If your stacked your bones will take the brunt of it and your Skeleton doesn’t get tired like your muscles do. Carving doesn’t require steering like skidding does which will save your legs too! I used to be so sore before I learned these two super important skills. Good luck!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Carving is fast. It's the fastest way to get from point A to point B on skis. Yes, it requires less movement of the legs, but I prefer to teach wedge skiers to make basic parallel turns first, so they can ski the mountain at reasonable speeds. @Covie, maybe I've misunderstood you. Are you suggesting our OP learn to make pure arc-to-arc carved turns, or turns that are carv-ish??
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Start downhill with skis flat, tip them uphill- no steering just tip. The ski will carve a long slow arc uphill and it’s slow. Carving doesn’t have to be fast; the skus are made to turn and they are very efficient. Speed can be controlled by rounding the top of the turn.
 

Covie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
Carving is fast. It's the fastest way to get from point A to point B on skis. Yes, it requires less movement of the legs, but I prefer to teach wedge skiers to make basic parallel turns first, so they can ski the mountain at reasonable speeds. @Covie, maybe I've misunderstood you. Are you suggesting our OP learn to make pure arc-to-arc carved turns, or turns that are carv-ish??
Uhhh carv-ish I suppose. I know it’s not easy to just get out there and perfectly carve. I was just trying to say that tipping and flexing the ankles/knees is better for endurance than skidding and steering (on hardpack) short radius carved turns that are finished well can feel automatic once in the rhythm. That sort of thing. But my personal breakthrough was being stacked. Haven’t had sore legs since.
 
#14
So question: What do you do to build up endurance while skiing? We are on the mountain 10-20 days a year. I did 7.5 miles at Keystone (three long runs) and was DONE. I do go to the gym, elliptical, barbell class with lots of lunges and squats, aerobics, etc... I am overweight, 5'2" and 200+, but I get over 12,500 steps a day. Am I expecting too much if I was able to ski 7.5 miles in a day?
I don't track my vertical or miles when skiing so have no idea what those stats are these days. However, ten years ago I was usually done for the day by 2:30 or 3:00. That was when I would get in one "adventure run" with a better skier in the morning, but most of my time was spent on blue groomers. What helped in terms of off-season ski conditioning was learning that leg strength is not the most important aspect for older skiers. Balance, flexibility, core strength was more important for me when I started exercises more regularly. Learning good form from a personal trainer who knew how to keep me from getting bored was very helpful.

One way I found to assess what to work on was the self-test by Bumps for Boomers. I found their video exercise series a good place to start, but ultimately on the boring side.

https://www.bumpsforboomers.com/basic-ski-fitness/

As others have mentioned, lessons to improve technique in order to be more "efficient" about making the best use possible of the design of skis can make a big difference in the long run. But it can take 2-3 seasons to really feel the difference after enough mileage to develop new muscle memory and habits related to stance and other fundamentals.
 
#15
Okay, back to carving.

I had two experiences today when it was better to put the skis on edge. First, I was skiing Panic Button at Killington, which starts with a head wall of frozen solid packed manmade. I was widely traversing (it’s intimidating) but was skidding downhill more than I intended. It occurred to me that setting the skis on edge might mitigate the sideways skidding, and it did!

I also skied some very pushed-up snow and the crud was bouncing me on and off the snow. I wondered if this teeth-jarring experience would go better with some edging, and it did! I didn’t want to pick up lots of speed, but my curving my skis uphill. I was able to stop the bouncing, happily!

I’m just learning how to do this, and all those little balance muscles around my knees are complaining a lot after I try it. More time on the Bosu ball! I definitely don’t want to speed up much, so I practice it on the flats. It’s helpful for skiing flat or even uphill - minimizes the need for skating that last bit of a rise.
 

kiki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Today we had a bunch of fresh snow and it was a blue ski sunny day but my body just gave up after about 2 hours, my legs were burning. My knees hurt. I could feel I was losing control and my turns sloppy. My face was beat red and I could hear that thump thump thump of my heart pounding on my head. I was in a class with 3 older men (5-20 yrs older than me) as the other students and couldn’t keep up. I wanted to keep skiing it was so beautiful and the snow so nice and it was so frustrating to have to call it a day shortly after 1. :cry::doh:
 
#17
Today we had a bunch of fresh snow and it was a blue ski sunny day but my body just gave up after about 2 hours, my legs were burning. My knees hurt. I could feel I was losing control and my turns sloppy. My face was beat red and I could hear that thump thump thump of my heart pounding on my head. I was in a class with 3 older men (5-20 yrs older than me) as the other students and couldn’t keep up. I wanted to keep skiing it was so beautiful and the snow so nice and it was so frustrating to have to call it a day shortly after 1. :cry::doh:
Several years ago I was having this happen to me on occasion. I couldn't figure out why and chalked it up to getting old(er). Then my doctor increased my blood pressure medication and within 2 weeks it got significantly worse and also affected by ability to hike! It seems I experienced one of the rarer bad side effects. At the original dosage the symptoms were so mild that they could be ignored (although in retrospect they did seem to build a bit over the years). Moral: pay attention to the body - it might not be just the ski technique that is off.
 

kiki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
Several years ago I was having this happen to me on occasion. I couldn't figure out why and chalked it up to getting old(er). Then my doctor increased my blood pressure medication and within 2 weeks it got significantly worse and also affected by ability to hike! It seems I experienced one of the rarer bad side effects. At the original dosage the symptoms were so mild that they could be ignored (although in retrospect they did seem to build a bit over the years). Moral: pay attention to the body - it might not be just the ski technique that is off.
Good point, sometimes we need to pay attention to red flags. Sigh....
 
#19
Adequate sleep the night before, decent dinner, amount of stress on the drive to the mountain, exercise (or lack of) in the week before, snow conditions, ski tune - so many possibilities!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
....So question: What do you do to build up endurance while skiing? We are on the mountain 10-20 days a year. I did 7.5 miles at Keystone (three long runs) and was DONE. I do go to the gym, elliptical, barbell class with lots of lunges and squats, aerobics, etc... I am overweight, 5'2" and 200+, but I get over 12,500 steps a day. Am I expecting too much if I was able to ski 7.5 miles in a day?
....As others have mentioned, lessons to improve technique in order to be more "efficient" about making the best use possible of the design of skis can make a big difference in the long run. But it can take 2-3 seasons to really feel the difference after enough mileage to develop new muscle memory and habits related to stance and other fundamentals.
^^This. Figuring out how to ski in order to stay "not aft" is the most important thing anyone can do to improve their skiing and to avoid running out of steam early. Working on this never ends. And if the old habits are deeply embedded, as they probably are, it takes enormous determination to maintain a focus on doing what is needed to stay "not aft." Knowing what is needed is best learned in a lesson, and probably repeat lessons will be needed to see if gains have stuck, gotten morphed into something else, or been lost altogether.

Skiing is full of distractions. The snow underfoot changes from turn to turn, moving obstacles (people) pass too close and at dangerous speeds, people below you move into your line, the pitch alters, flat light obscures who-knows-what. When these thing happen, and they do with every run, practicing a new movement pattern that should help with staying "not aft" for the whole run is lost. That focus gets put on the back burner without the skier even realizing it.

Changing one's stance for the better means using conscious control to not let the old stance come back. It also requires that the skier feel when the balance over the skis is aft or not, because constant adjustments are required; good stance is not static.

With all the distractions, as soon as one has to think consciously about anything else the focus is lost.

For this reason, it takes seasons to replace an ineffective stance with a much better one, and to learn to proprioceptively notice when one is aft or not so adjustments can be made on the fly.

Gear can mess this process up. How high your heels are compared to your toes (a result of binding and boot anatomy), the boot's forward lean, the binding placement on the ski, and one's personal anatomy all contribute to how stance needs to be adjusted.

And then there's the issue of what "not aft" means. People disagree. Instructors disagree. So advice from multiple sources can sound contradictory. Some instructors say stay forward, some say stay centered. Some say close the ankles; others say open and close them. Some say rock from forward to aft, but just a little. It just depends on what works for each person, and who is giving the advice.

To self-diagnose if one is aft, here are two things to check.
1. If one's quads are quivering at the end of the day or sore the next morning and if the knees are aching or warm and inflamed, if ibuprophen is needed after a ski day, then probably the skier is aft.
2. If the skier can't pick up the tail of the inside ski during a turn while keeping its tip on the snow, that probably means the skier is aft and possibly also leaning inside (banking).

Being aft is often accompanied by being inside. These are a major problems for skiers who do not regularly take lessons to help keep these issues in check.
 

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