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Returning to the slopes post knee injury - any advice?

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Last season got cut short by a knee injury in March. Initial diagnosis from the sports medicine doc was ACL tear but the orthopedic surgeon read the MRI and disagreed. His take was bone bruise, minor meniscus tear (nothing to warrant surgery) and enough trauma to the ligaments and tendons to create a ton of swelling, but no tear. So, 8 months of PT later, my therapist says I'm good to go. Anyone have any advice for returning to skiing after PT? I think the hardest part will be regaining my confidence. The fall happened in one of my favorite black diamond bowls. As an intermediate-aspiring-to-be-advanced skier, I never did it well, but enjoyed the challenge. Not sure I'll have the chutzpah to tackle it again! Also looking at my 8 year old Bushwhackers and wondering if they are the best to get back into. Perhaps something lighter, slightly narrower underfoot, and maybe even a tad shorter would be more suitable? The Bushwhackers are 88 underfoot, probably 157cm (they come to the middle of my forehead). I've enjoyed them all these years and they've helped me progress, but the newer skis I've helped my friends load into the ski rack seem half the weight. New gear always helps the confidence, too, right? :laughter:
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Glad that knee PT was enough. Look for a PM about my experience with skiing after completing PT back in 2012.

I used slightly shorter skis for a season or two. I had a used pair around that I'd bought for my growing tween daughter to use at our home hill.

Also looking at my 8 year old Bushwhackers and wondering if they are the best to get back into. Perhaps something lighter, slightly narrower underfoot, and maybe even a tad shorter would be more suitable? The Bushwhackers are 88 underfoot, probably 157cm (they come to the middle of my forehead). I've enjoyed them all these years and they've helped me progress, but the newer skis I've helped my friends load into the ski rack seem half the weight. New gear always helps the confidence, too, right? :laughter:
Getting new skis is a good idea. More because the Bushwhackers are 8 years old than because you are coming back from an injury. Investing in a personal demo day from an on-mountain shop might be worth considering. Can just do groomer runs on different widths and lengths to see how you feel. Checking out two lengths of the same model can be quite useful.

I invested time and money in lessons, both at my home hill and at destination resorts in the next few years. That proved far more useful in the long run than a knee brace. In my case, my surgeon left the decision about a custom brace up to me.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
Good for you on the rehab. I agree about changing skis. Yes, that ski is getting old and it's heavy. So a newer lighter ski would be an advantage. Also I would look at less waist width. I had the meniscus surgery and also arthritis. I find the wide skis are too much on the knees on hardpack.

I was on the Vantage 95C's a while ago. 2 years ago I got a chance to ski Lake Louise in early season. So instead of lugging the 95's out, I rented. I really liked the Brahma 82. It didn't bother me as much as the 95's. (Which went up for sale as soon as I got home.) I couldn't find a pair, so ended up with the Nordica Santa Anna's 88. I've only been out on them once, so I really can't say too much about them yet.

There is a lot of research going on about knee issues, wide skis and snow types.

Now, you need to get your head around the fact that your knee is OK. PT has cleared you. Go ski the easy stuff first!
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks for the advice! I learn so much here... like... skis get old!?! :faint: I thought it was just me that did that. LOL!
Demo'ing sounds like a great idea, but doesn't seem to be as available here in the Portland area. Maybe I just don't know where to look. Unless I find out differently, looks like reviews and the recommendations here are the best resource. Right now I am considering a few frontside skis, since I figure cruising groomers is where I'll be most of the time, for a while at least. These are all supposed to be lightweight and women specific designs.
- Blizzard Alight 8.2 CA in 156cm. (At 5'6" that comes to the tip of my nose. My current skis come to the middle of my forehead.) I currently ski Blizzards and like them. One of the things I learned here is that skis from the same maker often have the same "feel" so maybe this should be my first choice when buying without trying.
- Scott Slight 83. That one is available in 158 - so just a tad longer.
- Solomon Stance 84W in 159. One more notch longer, but still seems short enough. This one caught my eye b/c of the price point. It seems like a great deal in that it has the same construction of other Solomon skis but is 2/3 the price for some reason. I get a posh impression of Solomon since so many racers on our hill seem to have them. Does that translate to their skis intended for recreational users?

The Santa Ana would be 88, like the skis I currently have. Maybe they would be easier on the knees even t same width because they are lighter? Somehow I have it in my head that 80 to 85 is a better range. Wish I could try them out somehow - would certainly make this easier!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The Santa Ana would be 88, like the skis I currently have. Maybe they would be easier on the knees even t same width because they are lighter? Somehow I have it in my head that 80 to 85 is a better range. Wish I could try them out somehow - would certainly make this easier!
For what it's worth, my all-mountain skis are mid-80s. I fell in love with the Stöckli Stormrider 85 at Taos. By the time I bought them I was pretty strong and had really improved my technique compared to when I was using the original Black Pearl, 88 underfoot.

Staying on the narrower and shorter side is a reasonable approach as you gain confidence again.
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
For what it's worth, my all-mountain skis are mid-80s. I fell in love with the Stöckli Stormrider 85 at Taos. By the time I bought them I was pretty strong and had really improved my technique compared to when I was using the original Black Pearl, 88 underfoot.

Staying on the narrower and shorter side is a reasonable approach as you gain confidence again.
The Stockli looks like an awesome ski. Unfortunately, it's outside my price range...
 

DebbieSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I think I just replied along these lines on another thread, but you might consider the Nordica Wilde Belle DC 84. It is classified as all-mountain. I loved the older version of the Wild Belle, out of production for several years, which was 84, and very light, as this new one is. Thing is . . .it's a new ski so no reports on it yet. BP88 is heavier, and SA heavier than that.
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, you did. Appreciate the comparison with the BP88 and SA88 very much. Decided the BP was basically my Bushwhackers (updated) and the SAs are for skiers more advanced than me. I was looking at the Wild Belle... and then my daughter and her partner who ski many, many more days than I do and are total gear nerds got involved. They steered me towards Line Pandora 84s in 158 and Look Pivot bindings. Those were both were available locally with some good discounts. Lucky for me, it is Black Friday weekend :-) So they should be ready next Friday and I will get to try them as soon as the hill opens (maybe Saturday). Will report back.

When I'm ready to venture off piste again, I hope to demo the BPs and some of the other skis mentioned here and replace the Bushwhackers. I might end up like some of you fancy gals with a 2 ski quiver! :banana:

Thanks so much for all the help. So grateful for such a supportive and knowledgable group of ladies. I think I might need that book someone was mentioning about fear. Will search the threads and see if I can find it again.
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Found it! "A Conversation with Fear" Next stop.... Amazon ;-)
 

DebbieSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, you did. Appreciate the comparison with the BP88 and SA88 very much. Decided the BP was basically my Bushwhackers (updated) and the SAs are for skiers more advanced than me. I was looking at the Wild Belle... and then my daughter and her partner who ski many, many more days than I do and are total gear nerds got involved. They steered me towards Line Pandora 84s in 158 and Look Pivot bindings. Those were both were available locally with some good discounts. Lucky for me, it is Black Friday weekend :-) So they should be ready next Friday and I will get to try them as soon as the hill opens (maybe Saturday). Will report back.

When I'm ready to venture off piste again, I hope to demo the BPs and some of the other skis mentioned here and replace the Bushwhackers. I might end up like some of you fancy gals with a 2 ski quiver! :banana:

Thanks so much for all the help. So grateful for such a supportive and knowledgable group of ladies. I think I might need that book someone was mentioning about fear. Will search the threads and see if I can find it again.
I've always wanted Look Pivot bindings . . . for no particular reason. Sounds like you made an informed and reasonable choice. Bravo. I'm not fancy, yet . . .only one pair of skis. But I did buy Flylow Foxy Bibs this past year! Let us know how you like the Line Pandora 84s.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes, you did. Appreciate the comparison with the BP88 and SA88 very much. Decided the BP was basically my Bushwhackers (updated) and the SAs are for skiers more advanced than me. I was looking at the Wild Belle... and then my daughter and her partner who ski many, many more days than I do and are total gear nerds got involved. They steered me towards Line Pandora 84s in 158 and Look Pivot bindings. Those were both were available locally with some good discounts. Lucky for me, it is Black Friday weekend :-) So they should be ready next Friday and I will get to try them as soon as the hill opens (maybe Saturday). Will report back.

When I'm ready to venture off piste again, I hope to demo the BPs and some of the other skis mentioned here and replace the Bushwhackers. I might end up like some of you fancy gals with a 2 ski quiver! :banana:

Thanks so much for all the help. So grateful for such a supportive and knowledgable group of ladies. I think I might need that book someone was mentioning about fear. Will search the threads and see if I can find it again.
I've demoed the Pandora 84! Super easy, fun ski. They're forgiving and confidence inspiring imo. I ended up going with a different ski but ended up later on buying the wider Pandora 104 as a friendly, forgiving powder ski. In fact, I put look pivots on those, too!

Enjoy them :smile:
 

MagicForest

Diva in Training
I've had 2 knee surgeries and have a pin in my knee. I took a few years off skiing and eventually decided to try it again. I was nervous I would hurt myself or feel pain while skiing, but it's been great! I take fewer risks than before (I avoid moguls and tree skiing and only jump off small jumps), but I still have a lot of fun on groomed trails and feel safe and that I'm having a good time. I've only had knee pain once while skiing, and it was when I spent a day pushing hard in mashed potato snow and going off a lot of jumps.
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've demoed the Pandora 84! Super easy, fun ski. They're forgiving and confidence inspiring imo. I ended up going with a different ski but ended up later on buying the wider Pandora 104 as a friendly, forgiving powder ski. In fact, I put look pivots on those, too!
That's a great recommendation - love the "forgiving and confidence inspiring" part! Now we just need to add snow for the fun part ;-)

but I still have a lot of fun on groomed trails and feel safe and that I'm having a good time.
That's inspiring, too. I think part of what I am going to have to work on, in addition to facing the fear, is adjusting expectations to reality, instead of my usual MO which is to get frustrated with the fact something (usually myself) isn't living up to my expectations. "Conversations with Fear" should be here soon. Looking forward to it.
 

water.rat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've always wanted Look Pivot bindings . . . for no particular reason.
My total gear nerd SIL said they were the safest for knees and then explained some technical stuff I did not retain. He's very opinionated, so take that into consideration. But he and DD also research the heck out of anything they are interested in and skiing is one of their main passions so I find it easy to be swayed by their opinions.
 

DebbieSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
My total gear nerd SIL said they were the safest for knees and then explained some technical stuff I did not retain. He's very opinionated, so take that into consideration. But he and DD also research the heck out of anything they are interested in and skiing is one of their main passions so I find it easy to be swayed by their opinions.
I think the safety reason must have lodged in my brain somehow. As a young teen, I skied on Spademan bindings which fixated under the ankle and had no toe-piece, because my Dad, a safety nut, had researched those as safest. The binding clamped onto a plate screwed into the boot under the ankle joint. This system minimized torque on the lower leg prior to releaste. I think that's what the look pivot heel does. Here's a photo of some 70s skis with Spademan bindings from at Alta mountain restaurant that I took to share with my siblings . . . could be Alf's don't recall.IMG_2539.JPG
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
I think the safety reason must have lodged in my brain somehow. As a young teen, I skied on Spademan bindings which fixated under the ankle and had no toe-piece, because my Dad, a safety nut, had researched those as safest. The binding clamped onto a plate screwed into the boot under the ankle joint. This system minimized torque on the lower leg prior to releaste. I think that's what the look pivot heel does. Here's a photo of some 70s skis with Spademan bindings from at Alta mountain restaurant that I took to share with my siblings . . . could be Alf's don't recall.View attachment 17088
Wait a minute. Those skis are "The Ski".... I had two pairs of them, blue ones and white ones in the 70's early 80's.
 

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