Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby baldyskier » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:31 pm

I have a friend who is turning 60 this year. We went on a 3 week Mountain Collective road trip in February and he was skiing better than ever, but he told me recently that he is hanging up his skis after this season. After a lifetime of riskier sports like hang gliding, rock climbing, mountaineering and downhill skiing without any major injuries, he doesn't want to "push his luck" by continuing to ski. In his words "I still try to ski like I'm in my twenties and if I ski less aggressively, I'm bored".

I'm 56, and intend to keep skiing, but his stance does have me thinking a little, especially since a quadriceps strain in the middle of our February trip kept me off the slopes for four days. Makes me realize I'm more vulnerable than I used to be. I would hate to injure myself skiing (when I only ski a few times a year) and compromise my ability to do other things like cycling, which I do a lot of.

How do some of you other members of the over-50 crowd on this board keep skiing year after year? Any concerns about the increasing risk of a major injury as you age? How have you modified your skiing to reduce that risk? What kind of conditioning do you do to prepare for skiing? I'm in great shape (for my age) from road biking up hills, but still suffered that quad injury, putting a damper on half of my trip.

I appreciate any input.

-Roy
User avatar
baldyskier
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:16 pm

I'm 64 and will probably set a new season vertical foot record next week. My guess is that I'm not skiing quite as aggressively as my first retirement seasons at age 58 - 59. But I'll bet I'm skiing better than at age 57 because I'm skiing 50% more often.

The general advice I read and hear is that the activities you do regularly are fine but you need to be careful about new or intermittent activities that stress muscles that might not be in as good shape. I run into plenty of skiers at Mammoth and Snowbird older than I who can ski circles around me, so the idea of your friend giving up skiing at 60 is ridiculous if it's been a lifetime sport for him. Tony Seebach is close to your friend's age and sometimes it's exhausting just reading his TR's.

Risk of injury is not necessarily greater but recovery time is much slower with age. This is the real reason to be more cautious. You can be pickier about skiing challenging terrain only in the best conditions. If I get tired on an extended trip, maybe I take a day off or dial it back and ski mostly groomers for a day.

Aerobic capacity is sliding a little. The first day at altitude is more noticeable than 5-6 years ago. So again, maybe increase the proportion of groomers until you feel better.

My non-ski exercise program is not all that rigorous. I've found step aerobics with the independent leg motion to be good for skiing since 1990. My flexibility is not great so I go to the Aerial Yoga studio Liz discovered in 2013 once a week. I also have the Verdugo Mountains rising steeply from Brand Park half a block from my house so I can do as much hill climbing as I want. In the summers I'm at the beach fairly often where I can run on sand some as well as be in the surf (moderate, only up to 3-4 feet). From other people I talk to, biking seems to be very popular among skiers for conditioning.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9801
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby lono » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:49 pm

This topic hits home for me. I turned 60 last fall,fat,tired and depressed ,realizing that I've never seen a 70 year old 300lb skier.
I always thought that when I couldn't ski anymore I would buy a F-450 snowplow and chase storms to plow widows driveways.
I decided to put off the truck purchase and bought a 6 month hospital based weight loss program.
Five months and 60 plus pounds later I'm skiing better than I have in years.I still look forward to plowing widows.
User avatar
lono
 
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:47 am
Location: Flatfoot County urban Montana
Location: whitefish mt usa

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:46 pm

To support MarcC, this is another topic in which averages (a gradual decline in capability) don't apply. That's what it looks like for the population as a whole, but for the individual it's usually a specific health issue causing an abrupt decline or worst case enough infirmity to drop out of skiing completely.

Examples:
1) Sensitivity to cold. I notice this a little, as I'm using googles, mittens, heavier mid-layer at slightly higher temperatures than before. But I know a case where chronic cold feet caused a formerly avid skier to throw in the towel and move away from his ski town residence to a more temperate climate.
2) Sensitivity to bad light/vertigo. This may not make you drop out, but it will make you a fair weather skier and limit your powder opportunities.
3) Neurological disorders, degrading sense of balance is obviously an existential threat to continued skiing.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9801
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby jasoncapecod » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:57 am

I am turning 55 this year. After 39 years of skiing I sustained my first injury. I tweaked my lower back in Feb. That killed my season..
Also Eastern weather and conditions have put damper on the passion I once had for the sport..
That being said, I have doubled down on mountain biking..

Tony has become a skiing iron man this season..I hope at 64 I'm able to ski as much..
User avatar
jasoncapecod
 
Posts: 1125
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:30 am
Location: NEW YORK

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:15 am

I have had intermittent lower back issues since 1990. Two of the spasms occurred during cat skiing trips. After the one in 1999 I started going to a chiropractor whenever I would get a spasm or general tightening. When it happened in 2009, one of the other skiers suggested I look into http://www.egoscue.com. I would describe Egoscue as "preventive chiropractic." The program in 2009 was eight 1.5 hour sessions, providing customized exercises to correct posture. I'll do these exercises when I feel some tightening/exhaustion, though I should probably do them more regularly. I'm sure the aerial yoga is helpful too. All of this has not made the problem go away completely. I had a spasm incident not long before we left for Colorado 2 years ago and it took a few months including massage therapy to get rid of that one. My lower back has been bugging me again the last 2 weeks or so, though it seems to loosen up when I'm exercising then return when I'm sedentary.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9801
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby Marc_C » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:04 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Examples:
2) Sensitivity to bad light/vertigo. This may not make you drop out, but it will make you a fair weather skier and limit your powder opportunities.


That has been the huge one for me ever since turning 60. I missed out on a number of days this season as many of our storms with attendant lousy visibility coincided with weekend days, and with my current employment, weekends were about it for me.
-marc
User avatar
Marc_C
 
Posts: 3173
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:32 am
Location: A Sandy place south of a Great Lake

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby Mark Wall » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:16 pm

Hi, my dad is about your age, he is turning 59 this May, he is in a good shape and keeps skiing and he got quite a company of friends in their 50s. My mom is very concerned about his sport activity, but not him (and he is a very active sport guy, has been all his life). As I can see he is still full of energy, can’t imagine what else my dad can do during winter weekends. Maybe it's risky, but as we say in our family: he just never stops. If you are in a good shape, I don't think you should absolutely stop sport activities, just take care, be careful, think about people you love while skiing. :-)
Life is short for bad days! \:D/
User avatar
Mark Wall
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:44 am
Location: Madison

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby q » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:33 am

As a mere 41yo I'm a few years away from being able to comment as such for myself on the subject.

My dad who turned 71 in January skied right up to his late 60's but a 2 week trip to Colorado every year led to boredom. He wont travel by himself, I have my own big trip which is awkward to accommodate someone who wont travel by himself and my brother still wants to go to Colorado each winter. So he gave up, he still skis a day or two each year back in Scotland but I'm pretty sure he wasn't ready to stop his 2 week trips. He is as fit as ever and although not likely skiing the type of terrain we are talking about in this thread he would ski anything on piste from 9am til 4pm each day of his trip. I think he regrets "giving up".

I ski most days on Limelight lift at Discovery(all runs are ungroomed double black) with Bill Hall who is a patroller there 4 days a week and skis most days when not on duty and generally gets around 100 days in per year. He is in his mid to late 60s and even when I am flat out charging he is pretty much skiing at a similar pace to me. He thanked me this year for skiing with "an old guy" as it keeps him going which was certainly my pleasure but I ski with him because he continues to ski as hard as anyone and is good company(and is one of only 2 people I trust skiing with) but he knows when to stop. He will generally on his days off ski from 9.30am until 1pm or there about when he feels that he is beginning to tire which might lead to sloppy skiing, mistakes and injury. The only trails I have not seen him ski are Russell(triple black) and the Elevator Shaft which is an unmarked trail way beyond the difficulty of Russell. He can and has skied them but doesn't feel the need to.

Who knows what happens down the line for me but I would certainly want to still be skiing at my dad and Bill's age, still skiing Limelight but probably reducing the time I do it each day to avoid getting to the tired stage like what Bill does now.

Our young patrol friend double broke a leg skiing at low speed going up a wind lip. Nobody would have seen any risk of that.

I think your friend will regret stopping the things he enjoys regardless of risk and will quickly reverse his decision or become bored. Where does risk end? I'll not fly again because I've taken my chances all these years, I don't want to cross the road because I've taken my chances all these years......
Q
User avatar
q
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:59 am
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland - Avatar: Primer Bowl, Loveland, CO

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby baldyskier » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:46 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I have had intermittent lower back issues since 1990. Two of the spasms occurred during cat skiing trips. After the one in 1999 I started going to a chiropractor whenever I would get a spasm or general tightening. When it happened in 2009, one of the other skiers suggested I look into http://www.egoscue.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. I would describe Egoscue as "preventive chiropractic." The program in 2009 was eight 1.5 hour sessions, providing customized exercises to correct posture. I'll do these exercises when I feel some tightening/exhaustion, though I should probably do them more regularly. I'm sure the aerial yoga is helpful too. All of this has not made the problem go away completely. I had a spasm incident not long before we left for Colorado 2 years ago and it took a few months including massage therapy to get rid of that one. My lower back has been bugging me again the last 2 weeks or so, though it seems to loosen up when I'm exercising then return when I'm sedentary.


First of all, thanks Tony and the others who replied to this thread. Good food for thought.

Regarding lower back pain, I had a bout of Sciatica back in 2010. I got through it with core stretching and exercises, physical therapy, massage and prayer. I kept up the stretching and strengthening exercises for a couple years nearly every day and got to the point where my back seldom bothered me. It did flare up some back in the fall (after I had gotten less regular with my routine). Since skiing is harder on my lower back than any other activity I do, I knew that I needed to do more to prepare for my planned February 3 week ski trip. I ran across the following link with core exercises for skiers, and started doing them.
https://www.outsideonline.com/1919901/us-ski-teams-secret-speed-weapon
At first I could only do 10 reps of each exercise, but worked my way up to 20 reps of each over time (although I only did one set of each). I had a few twinges at the end of harder ski days on my trip, but my back was better than it had been on previous shorter trips.
I created a PowerPoint with screenshots from the videos that accompany the article, but it was too big to upload here (4.4 Mb).
User avatar
baldyskier
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby tseeb » Tue May 09, 2017 3:52 pm

baldyskier wrote:After a lifetime of riskier sports like hang gliding, rock climbing, mountaineering and downhill skiing without any major injuries, he doesn't want to "push his luck" by continuing to ski. In his words "I still try to ski like I'm in my twenties and if I ski less aggressively, I'm bored".

I appreciate any input.

-Roy


Is your friend still going to hang glide, rock climb and mountaineer? Aren't those much riskier than skiing? Statistics I found said 1 out of 8-10 people who go above 6,000 meters in the Himalayas die. Hang gliding is 1 in 560 and mountain climbing is 1 in 1,750. For comparison skiing is 1 in 1.4 million, base jumping is 1 in 60 and Grand Prix racing is 1 in 100. Bicycling is listed as 10 times worse than skiing at 1 in 140,845. See http://www.besthealthdegrees.com/health-risks

In skiing you manage your own risks a lot. When I was on my own on my last day at Whistler, this March, I got cliffed out twice. The first time I took a higher entry under Whistler's Peak chair and did not know what was below me, but knew there were also big cliffs around if I went wrong. So I hiked back up even though I was close enough to being under the chair that I took some ribbing for doing it and later saw there were ways I could have continued. The second time I dropped off cliff to the side where drop was reasonable, instead of long hike back up or unreasonable drop over icy cliffs if I continued straight. A month later at Squaw, a friend and I skied The Slot twice on his 59th birthday. A fall at the top could have meant a long slide, possibly into rocks so we took it easy and did not ski the toughest line. When we repeated the run, we hit a little harder line and I took a much more difficult line lower down, but we managed the risk. I think I'm still skiing the same stuff I did in my twenties, but better equipment makes it easier to do it well and better choices, and enough caution to try to avoid injury, especially early in a trip, makes it less risky

Both of the last two winters, I've bruised some ribs. Last year it was from hitting a windlip that I hadn't seen and falling on hard snow. This was at a ski area where I had never been before and in the middle of a 12-hour drive home at end of a long trip. This year it was a misstep getting out of a hot tub and I didn't even know I had hit my ribs until I got up in the middle of the night. I think I did less damage to ribs this year than last, but they still hurt 3 weeks later when I lay on them wrong or when I get out of bed. I skied the day after hurting the ribs, but it was a short day and last day of a long trip and I had to take it easy.

When I am not skiing, I walk my dogs a mile or two and do some work around the house every day. I also mountain bike, but have only done it a couple of times this Spring so far. Most of my rides include some riding on streets where if a driver is not paying attention, I could be hurt or worse. I do back stretches every morning and thankfully have not strained my lower back for more than a year. I did that twice over a year ago; once was minor when I leaned over too far buckling my boots and other time was much worse to where my back would give me painful spasm when I moved wrong or almost at all.

What is your friend going to do instead for excitement? I think my wife would rather I ski than some other choices.
User avatar
tseeb
 
Posts: 700
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:16 pm
Location: Northern California

Re: Any Skiing Tips for the Not-So-Young?

Postby baldyskier » Tue May 09, 2017 7:30 pm

He hasn't engaged in the other dangerous activities for awhile. He still goes on extended backpacking trips with friends, with some peak-bagging, but none of the exposed, risky climbs. He plans to do more traveling, but seems content to hibernate between trips. I think his concern with skiing is more about taking too many risks once he is on the slopes (or not enjoying it if he "skis his age").
User avatar
baldyskier
 
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use