Skiing has been a nightmare - Any advice?

(21 Posts)
CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 05-Mar-13 15:27:55

I've gone skiing for the first time this week. I have a muscle disease that makes me quite weak. I had got to the stage of being able to do an hour uphill on a treadmill so thought I might be okay.

I'm not. Day four and there are no boots that I can move in. They all hurt so much that my calves go rock hard, and I got stuck on a cable car for hours being unable to move today. It kills.

I haven't managed any tuition because I can't move my feet in the shoes, and the people I'm here with have disappeqred up the mountain, so I'm finding it quite sad!

Does anyone know if snowboarding is any easier?the shoes look a lot lighter, so I'm tempted to swap to that.

Is there anything else I can do? There's no real town here, and I really wanted to be good at this!

(plus it's freezing cold!)

MTSgroupie Tue 05-Mar-13 15:39:07

Snowboarding is different as opposed to easier. Since you are suffering with skiing what have you got to lose by switching?

Yes, boots are much lighter.

How about cross country skiing (if available) ?

LIZS Tue 05-Mar-13 15:39:36

poor you . It sounds as if the boots don't fit and you are overtightening them to compensate. Try out lots of brands/sizes at a proper sports shop, using moulded insoles if needs be. You won't progress without lessons and need advice firstly on equipment and also on posture and technique. Can you afford a private lesson? Beginners tend to sit back which is awful for calves and thighs and means you fall easily. Ideally you need to stand up tall , feel the front of the boot against your shin and hold your hips slightly forward with bum tucked in. Otherwise is there any cross country skiing or good walks locally ?

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 05-Mar-13 15:44:40

Thank you both smile

I've tried six pairs of boots, I'm now on my seventh. They are the lightest ones they have but they still weigh quite a bit - a lot more than the ones I tried on to get measured!

I've got private lessons because I was worried I'd slow everyone down, but as it is I can't stand up. Mountain rescue had to bring me down because I lost all feeling in my legs, and the doctor thinks they weigh so much that my legs have to fully tense to support them, which is very painful after a few minutes.

The ski instructor is saying I should buy very lightweight boots and try those, but I might speak to the snowboarding instructor first...

I feel quite down and rubbish about getting nowhere with this, especially with spending all week trying different boots! They've all been very friendly and helpful, so I want to succeed.

badguider Tue 05-Mar-13 15:47:36

Where are you? If there's any cross country skiing then give that a shot - the boots are like slippers and skis very light.
It's not the same as zooming down the mountain but might save the rest of your holiday. It's still fun.

Or try snowboarding, not got much to loose - but can you not make sure your lessons are down at resort level on a green slope in walking distance of the bottom?

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 05-Mar-13 15:53:47

Snowboarding would be at the bottom on the green, or I can go into the children's bit that's very flat. They've given me two hours, and told the instructor to give me plenty of breaks, so I met him today and I can go get boots tomorrow.

I just didn't want to get all dressed up and ready if it was against all odds that I'd be able to do that too! It's been disappointing to react so badly.

I will also find out about cross country skiing, I might find that better! It's a shame the ski town is so small here, the ski shops are very expensive. I'd have been tempted totry buying llighter boots.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 05-Mar-13 16:38:22

Apologies for the spelling there - using my phone, which has a slightly dodgy keypad when it's cold!

Mumofthreeteens Tue 05-Mar-13 17:03:42

I live in the mountains and still have problems with ski boots. This is what I do to try and minimise the pain because I like a close fitting boot and sadly I am well endowed on the calf front; I put them on, don't do them up for a few minutes in order to let my feet settle into the boot, then I loosely tighten the velcro ban, clip up on the loosest (?) setting and walk to the lift. When I get off the lift I tighten all the buckles and ski the run at the next lift I unclip everything and then repeat that all the time I ski. I tighten my boots up more as the time goes on.

I'm not sure what you mean about moving your feet about because you shouldn't be able to really. Salomon boots give a wider fitting if that is what you are after. Ladies boots are cut lower in the calf to avoid cutting off the circulation. If you are unable to lift your feet up in ski boots then you canmot have sufficient muscle power. They really are not that heavy and are measured more in flexibility than heaviness. Is the ski shop looking at a softer ski boot rather than a stiff boot for you?

You need to lean forward in your boots as leaning back puts a big strain on your calf and thigh muscles.

The sooner you have a lesson with a professional the better. You'll be taught the correct way to stand and move.

Snowboarding might be a good alternative or try cross country.

Good luck. i hope you get some joy and fun during the last few days of your holiday.

LIZS Tue 05-Mar-13 17:08:59

I should add that it is not uncommon on day 3/4 to barely be able to lift legs to climb stairs. Any spa or Jacuzzi you could take refuge at to ease out the msucles? Another tip I have learnt (the hard way) is to relax your toes and ski with weight on the ball of your foot.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 05-Mar-13 18:22:42

It may well be that my muscles are too weak- they are quite wasted, unfounfortunately.

I'll check out the spa and speak to them about softer boots tomorrow - thanks so much!

Starting to feel a bit more happy that I might be able to do something!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 05-Mar-13 18:40:54

Which resort are you in? I'd try a different ski hire shop with a different boot fitter.

Ski boots are known for been uncomfy, difficult to get on with......especially hire boots. I've got Salomon boots and love them, they're quite lightweight but all of their models are different I guess.

Snowboarding boots are lighter but if its your leg muscles that are struggling I would say as a sport it's harder on your calf muscles. There's a lot of falling over to begin with and having to get up with your feet strapped to a board.

Saying that I'd struggle to do an hour uphill on a treadmill so I'm not sure it is your muscles. If you over tighten ski boots they will cut circulation off and this is a common mistake. Your heel shouldn't lift in a ski boot but your leg around the shin should be able to move back and forwards a bit. When skiing you need to slightly sit back and lean forward at the same time so your upper shin is in contact with your boot at all times. But if your stood up then that pressure/contact wouldn't be there.....or not at the same pressure anyway.

LIZS Tue 05-Mar-13 20:10:32

Assume they are giving you beginners boots with plenty of flex . If you put them on, do the clips up, bend you knee and push your shin forwards they should give. Hire boots are often fairly knackered and old but you should be able to find a pair you can tolerate for a short period. The more clips and Velcro strap the better to be able to adjust.

CajaDeLaMemoria Wed 06-Mar-13 20:55:19

Thanks for all the replies!

I managed to fall over and shunt my elbow wrist and back this morning, so I've been in pain all day and haven't tried anything yet. I did go to the ski shop in town but they wanted 800 euros for lighter boots! Ouch.

Tomorrow I'll be fitted for snowboarding boots in the morning, and I'll go back at lunch to see if the new fitter can find me any better boots. I hope they can! I'm a bit fed up with sitting out while everyone else skis now.

All the advice is much appreciated - and if you've got any other tips, I'd love to hear them. This is a whole (scary!) new world for me!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 06-Mar-13 21:03:54

I really wouldn't spend 800euros on buying some boots. You might find after 30 mins they're just as bad. I really think its more likely to be a fitting issue rather than a weight issue.

MistyB Wed 06-Mar-13 21:13:34

If you do try boarding, wear a helmet, wrist protectors, knee protectors and a coccyx protector. I learned to board in my twenties and spent the first week crying, falling on my knees and on my butt and hips and it did hurt.

This year, I have started cross country and I think anyone who finds skiing hard, should try that instead. A someone up thread said, the boots are like slippers, the skis are light and the technique is easy.

Failing that, snow shoeing can be fun. Perhaps someone with local knowledge could give you some suggestions.

(I wouldn't spend €800 euros on boots for a sport you are not sure you will be able to do)

LIZS Thu 07-Mar-13 08:07:44

800e is extortionate in anybody's book . Also I suspect your muscles may now be strained so nothing will make a major difference short term. I think the lesson learned is to try before you book on one of snowdomes, I would have thought difficulties with boot fitting and muscle strength might have become apparent even in a short lesson. hope you can enjoy the few days you have left in other ways.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 07-Mar-13 08:25:35

Thanks again everyone.

Off to get fitted again now. They aren't great for beginners here and there is no snow dome near me, so I hadn't tried before the week. I was worried that I might not be able to do it but I really hoped I could!

I'll mention cross country skiing and see if there is anything like that around, it sounds idea. I've also got a two hour lesson this afternoon, which I'm both excited and scared for. I really hope I can do it!

LIZS Thu 07-Mar-13 08:29:47

which resort are you in - maybe someone here could advise re good hire shops (the ones recommended by TO's tend to be awful) and Xcountry etc.

Agree with others - I have a good pair of Salomen boots that cost about £250. 800 is stratospheric! Cross country works differenct muscles, but the boots look more like shoes...never done it so don't really know.

Mumofthreeteens Tue 12-Mar-13 21:26:16

How did you get on Caja? I do hope you enjoyed your holiday in the end.

CoteDAzur Thu 04-Apr-13 19:52:34

If you lose feeling in your feet, then your shoes are too tight. (Unless it is your muscle disease? Not sure if that can be the case, without knowing what it is)

Conventional wisdom is that ski boots need to be very tight, but this is not really the case. I am very comfortable skiing and have gradually loosened my ski boots to the point where this year I have been skiing with three buckles holding on at bare minimum and the lowest one (above toes) completely open.

Depending on how much you need to loosen your boots to be comfortable, consider also lowering the threshold at which your skis will release (i.e. setting fixation to a lower weight).

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