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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
jberna

Skiing and sledding

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Hello all...I have not been checking in as much as I used to but still enjoy it immensely when I do....you all are such good friends, to me and to each other. :D

I took my first ski lessons and wanted to share....

First of all, while I was having my lesson, on the other side of the mtn we were on they had a huge avalanche! Right during my lessons! We noticed the helicopters hovering and found out later that was why....you might have seen it on the news, for the US people...the big avalanche in Park City Utah? Kind of weird to have "been there" when it happened.... :(

I was a bit nervous going in for the lesson....mainly because I REALLY wanted to ski and was skeptical I could do the skills I see my kids use to ski, with my muscles not being 100% back yet....

But right away my instructor suggested I use outriggers. They are like poles but have a tiny ski on the bottom, and a metal "claw" on the bottom too. Most people "snowplow" to slow down/stop when skiing. That takes manuevering the skis so that the tips go inward, the backs of the skis spread out in back...a lot of control issues that I was not capable of....BUT with outriggers I just keep my skis straight (not too hard) and use the poles for my brakes....it worked GREAT!

One of my fears had been not feeling in control as I flew down the hill but with these outriggers I could totally be in control and go as fast/slow as I wanted. I suspect I will use them this season and into next, until my leg muscles get stronger. In the meantime I get to ski with my kids/husband finally!

I never dreamed we would go up on the lifts the first week of lessons but we ended up doing about 15 min of lesson and then went right on the lift, went up/down about four times...every time I felt more in control.

This friday my husband will also be on skis and ski with me during lessons, then afterwards we can ski together the rest of the day for free....if I am not too exhasuted!

Then on Sunday of this weekend we went sledding....my neice was in town from MO and she loves to sled so we found this huge hill on a golf course and had a BLAST flying down the hill...all four of my kids, my neice, and my husband...got some priceless pictures...my boys thought it was funny that I would scream as we went down, like you scream on a roller coaster....glad I could humor them! :P

I had to walk back up the hills sideways, toeing it made my knee wiggle too much in my socket....but my leg never hurt, during or after, a huge change from my old life/old leg.

On a side note....I am due to get my permanant leg made but am not 100% happy with the fit of this leg, enough to have it laminated....it just seems that in everyday walking it does not fit as well as some of the temps I had last year...I find I am having trouble "committing" to this permanant leg, knowing I have it for three years....guess I will follow advice I give others, keep telling my pros. where it bothers me and keep tweaking the fit....such a hard transition for me, for some reason... :(

Just wanted to share where I am......I am now in my second year as an amputee and am excited for what this year might hold...I treasure each of you and the encouragement I feel coming here! :D

Judy

Utah

LBk

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Hi Judy:

I would like some more information on these out rigger things If you can - please supply a reference. I doubt that I would ever try skiing but they may be of use elsewhere in my life.

Aside from that - yeehaw!!good for you.

ED

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Woohoo Judy!!!!!

Sounds like you had a blast that's sooooooo cool.

A good scream always makes you feel better :D

Take your own advice with the new leg. Keep teling them it doesn't feel right.

Congrats on doing what you wanted to do. :lol:

Cat

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Judy, wow, sounds fantastic. My two sons have gone snowboarding this week in Andorra and oh how I would love to go on a holiday like that, although it would be better if I get a leg first :P

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Hi Judy

Welcome back! I know I am late in replying to this, but I am so proud of you for accomplishing this, its a big deal, but you keep up the great work!!!! and you are inspiring to me also

Lesley

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Hi Judy, that is AWESOME, skiing down the mtn with your family!!! :D I'm glad those outriggers gave you that feeling of control, b/c I don't mind telling ya, that would not be my favorite place to feel out of control, on top of a mtn!!! :rolleyes: :o You and your family must be so proud of your accomplishments, deservingly so, just as we are here. You've worked hard to get to where you're at and with your kind of determination, I'm sure nothing will get in your way from reaching all your goals and that's terrific!! B) :D

Yes, I watched Fox News about that terrible avalanche, thank goodness there weren't more people killed from it. Also, from what I gather that's a pretty dangerous part of the mtn. I believe someone said, it has a skull and cross bone there, not a good place to be, especially with soooooo much snow out there lately. :(

May I just say, please DON'T commit yourself to any leg that you feel is not comfortable, be persistant until they get it right. After all, it's you that has to wear it, NOT them! I myself just had a new one made a couple weeks ago and already it's back to the old one for me and back to square one for him (CP). I couldn't even wear it around the house, it was so uncomfortable and I've been almost 9yrs at this, so don't give in, until it feels the way you want it to, not the way they think it should! This is where the 'patience' part has had to kick in for me, many times, but they get it right eventually, thank goodness. :rolleyes: :D

I also have found the transition part sometimes hard to make, cos with me, I kinda hate parting with my old reliables. :( Tho I certainly know the difference between, it being the transition and it being uncomfortable, just as I'm sure you do! I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, but once they get it right, which they will, you'll be able to once again take a deep breath, at least for 3yrs! :D

Try not to get to down on yourself okay, remember we're only a mouse click away! :D

Sheila lbk

Maine USA

Keep Smiling :)

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Hey Judy,

I am in awe of you. I think it's incredible that you went skiing and sledding. Your amp was 2 weeks after mine and I'm barely walking. You go girl! B)

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Mmm...thinking along the lines of Marus here.

I am so envious!

But that's fantastic Judy! Wow! Look at all your progress! You must be thrilled. And your family must be so proud of you, as we are too. :D

Next thing we know, you'll be telling us all how you plan on climbing Everest!!! :rolleyes:

Keep up the great work! B)

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Judy,

My friend YOU ROCK! Everytime I read of your progress I think of the first times that we corresponded you asking me questions about my revision surgery etc. It sure doesn't seem like it's been that long ago and to look at what you're doing now.

I know your family must be so proud of you and what you've accomplished since your amputation. I agree with Afet you'll be climbing Mt Everest. I would love to join you, sking sounds like so much fun but to be honest that's one thing I've never had the desire to do. I guess I'm chicken that I'll fall and hurt myself. LOL

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:D Just getting a chance to check back in here....I had thought about posting a picture or two...esp of the outriggers....I had my hubby take more this week, specifically of the outriggers too. Ed, the company is called SpokesNMotion, online. If I can figure out how to post a picture again, I will get one up here...

I had my second lesson last friday. No avalanches this time... :blink:

Although we did drive thru downtown Park City this time, looking for celebrities. They are having the Sundance Film Festival right now in Park City, lots of hollywood is here to preview independent films. I am SO bad at recognizing celebs, we probably drove right past a few....I would never know....

It was much more exciting, skiing this week. I went into it knowing I could do it. My hubby suited up too and brought his skis. He was able to ski with me my whole two hour lesson, then we skied together for two more hours afterward. GREAT couple time...not common with four young kids in the house! A PERFECT day, clear blue skies, so warm we had to take off our hats and un-line our coats....ver few people on the slopes (all were off watching films we hear....) Just a perfect day all around.

I practiced doing wide, long turns, using the mtn to help control my speed by going sideways with my skis.....some good techniques I was getting down by the end. I also learned more about sharp turning, how turning right is harder for me because it takes using my left (amputated) leg, relying on it totally almost, for balance and for strength...my right turns were so sloppy, then I realized why...I was trying to make my RIGHT leg do all the work and in doing that I couldnt fully go LEFT....hard to explain. But I "willed it" more the second half of the day and really was getting it down. So fun to just be out there....three more lessons to go....

Thanks for all the encouragment, friends.....it seems so funny to me that I am now a "skier" but still struggle with day to day walking a lot of times....my current leg is just not working, makes my back hurt by mid day...thanks for the advice Sheila....I thought I was struggling with this fit because I am fairly new...reassurring to hear a person nine years out struggles with new legs also. I will keep bugging "my guy"....

And marcus...if you are in Park City any of the next three Fridays, LOOK ME UP at the Ability Center cabin....I'd love to meet you and ski with you!

:blink: A Happy Skier...

Judy

Utah (greatest snow on earth!)

LBK

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Hi Judy

After just returning from my very first physio session, with very first new limb, I cannot tell you how fantastic I think it is that you are skiing. I am having trouble just walking and cannot imagine getting on a pair of skis. You have given me great inspiration, roll on physio tomorrow :blink:

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Judy,

Well done on the skiing, that sounds amazing. Did you ski before you were an amputee at all? I have tried a couple of times and invariably end up carreering out of control down the mountain! I also usually get quite sore afterwards. Did you find it easy to get used to? I also used shorted skis than normal when I tried and found that this helped, what about yourself? Sorry for all the questions but it's something I would really like to get into.

Mike

RBK

Scotland

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Hey Mike, I'd be glad to help....

I cannot "snowplow" like most people, in order to stop. I just cant get my knees/feet in that position, and esp not when I am flying down the hill... :blink:

So when I found outriggers, that made the difference of me being able to ski or not...they are the poles with tiny skis on them, and metal claws for brakes. So I brake using my arms...just push the poles forward the the metal claws dig in the snow, slowing me down or stopping me, depending on how far forward I push them.

I also highly recommend lessons with a disabled-trained instructor. The girl I got has trained disabled people for ten years...is very helpful with tips. She is teaching me how to use the mtn, the angle my skis are on the mtn, to control my speed better, relying less on the pole's brakes. I felt MUCH more in control my second lesson, just using her tips.

No, I never skied before my amputation. I had a deformed foot that wouldnt go into a boot comfortably and until two years ago, I never lived near a ski resort. My husband grew up skiing in NH and is very good, as are all four of my kids (ages 4-13)...so I wanted to join them on weekends.

I have only fallen once, and that was getting off a lift chair....that whole standing straight up thing gets me still....but I have mastered it now, dont fall on that anymore!

I have just had two lessons and love it, feel like I could do this for the rest of my life. If you have any other questions please feel free to ask....we used to have a guy around here named ampskier, who gave me encouragement and advice, but he skied for years...I am still a newbie so wont have ALL the answers....just the ones pertaining to beginners! :rolleyes:

Judy

Utah

LBK

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Hey Judy:

While you are out there with your instructor, please ask as to the feasibility of a person such as myself being able to attempt this IN LEGS!!

ED

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:D Just had to report, after lesson three yesterday...I am a bit sore today, for the first time. Two issues...one is my foot has not been adjusted right all week so I have a sore spot on my stump. Didnt bother me skiing since my leg is held straight with a good brace, but today it is sore, walking around. Then I took my first big tumble down the mtn yesterday...had to happen eventually.... :blink:

I was doing well...had a rough start until I realized I had clicked my leg on a tiny bit off center so my ski kept wanting to plow sideways on that side...fixed that then headed off, got my snow legs back quickly on the smaller slopes we had been using.

Then my instructor said we could try some longer greens (the easiest kind)...I was game, feeling confident...had a nice lift ride up the mtn with a great Aussie guy, he was inquisitive about my outriggers, had a good conversation....had to tease him about sounding like "A Wiggle"...he laughed! You good natured aussies... :D

Got to the top and headed off to where the trails break off and was concentrating so hard on not running over the others around me I totally didnt hear my husband or my instructor saying, "GO LEFT!" I ended up just following the group in front of me....came over this incline to see a STEEP hill ahead of me and I was headed down it, picking up speed fast! :(

I tried to hang out, pull it all out, thinking this was a green and technically I should be able to do it...but mentally I just got freaked out and ended up dumping it and sliding down the hill a bit.... :blink:

The falling didnt bother me, but my outrigger grabbed the snow and jerked my shoulder back in a weird way so that was screaming at me. I suddenly had a new appreciation for football players after each play...laying on the ground holding an injured body part! :blink:

I caught my breath, then realized I had to FINISH this steep hill, which I found out was a BLUE (next level), to get back down the mtn.....it took a LOT of mental guts to get up and start down again...my coach was great, husband very encouraging...and I made it, without falling anymore! I was amazed...but EXHAUSTED by the time we got to the bottom...so glad it was our last run! Mentally and physically I was beat! :blink:

So I shuffled into the house when we got home, propped up on the bed and played games with my son, talked to my neighbor most of the night....still sore in my shoulder, range of motion limited, but just feels like a minor thing, will clear up in a few days....very worth it still! I sure learned my lesson...check with the instructor before you pick a trail! ;)

I have two more lessons...the next two fridays....am feeling more confident every time.

And Ed, I see people of ALL abilities getting geared up for lessons while I am there...the classes all start at the same time. I am pretty sure they put bilateral amps in a monoski...a seat with skis on it, and they use outriggers like I use for "poles"....steer by leaning your body and use the outriggers as brakes like I do...there are several guys who use the mono skis..have a BLAST going down the hill. I will ask next friday if bilateral amps ever ski on two skis. I find I use my right (sound) leg a lot for control and turning, and my left just does a good job staying parallel to it.....some day when I am stronger I will really try teaching my left leg to do more, some turns I make it work harder, but for now I use my sound leg a lot....think you might do best with a monoski. Hope that answered your question! :)

judy

LBK

Utah

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Thanks for posting those Johnny! The first one is me, feeling free, flying down that hill..the second is of the outriggers. Notice they hav a claw on the back of the mini-ski...you can set it high, where you brake a lot, or low, where you dont. I am learning more and more to use the hill to slow me down, making wide turns. Marcus...I am curious...do you use outriggers when skiing? I just cant imagine being able to do a snowplow with a prosthetic leg....

One last lesson this friday....once I can afford some outriggers I will start skiing with my kiddos and husband..... :D

Thanks again for posting those pictures for me, johnny!

judy

utah

lbk

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I had my last lesson yesterday, really had a great day. I had finally lost my fear, the biggest hurdle I had to overcome, and just did it...a lot of the trick to skiing is feeling like you can stop if you want to, and since I have learned the side stop (hockey stop) I am now not afraid to gain speed going down the hill. I am still most comfortable on easy greens, but will have fun practicing the things my instructor coached me on in the weeks to come. I will have to call around about renting the outriggers. I found the (wonderful) group called Challenged Athletes Foundation, who will possibly help me buy outriggers but the earliest I could get them would be a year from now...I would miss a whole season of skiing with my family.

It really is a fun sport, esp when you live close enough to practice a bit. Marcus, did you ski before you were an amputee? I was quizzing my (expert skier) husband he he thought skiing would be easier to "pick back up" vs. starting for the first time as a one-legged person...do you agree?

If anyone wants to try skiing and are afraid, feel free to post here or email me and I will give any advice I can....I just started six weeks ago and have really learned a lot in just six lessons. It is VERY do-able, for amputees of all levels....I saw people around me skiing with all levels of disability. Dive in! :D

judy

utah

lbk

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Where do you find them Muz-next you'll be adding heads of the people on the forum!!

Well found that's excellent!

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LOLOLOLOLOLOL :D

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