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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
Jules

Skking or Snowboarding for a TOTAL beginner??

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Hi there,

I wondered if anyone could give me some advice as to wheather snow boarding would be a better introduction to the world of snow than skiing???!!!

Skiing/snowboarding is something I've wanted to do for a while and I'm going to venture to an indoor snow dome next week.

I am RBK (congenital) and have a pretty weak and small knee (if that makes sense!!) and wanted some advie from those of you that have tried...

Look forward to hearing from someone, jules

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I should have mentioned, I don't have use of my right hand (congenital), so wouldn't be able to use any sort of ski stick (sorry, don't know the correct terminology!!)

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Jules,

From what you have said here I would set your sites on snowboarding. Both skiing and snowboarding require knee strength but with snowboarding both feet/legs are bound to the same structure which should allow your stronger knee to take up alot of the work, where as in skiing each leg is on it's own. :)

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This reallly won't help you at the snow dome, but InMotion Magazine had an article in last months issue on Ski Biking for Amputees. If your knee poses a problem and you eventually wish to try skiing outdoors in the future, ski biking might just be the answer for you. They listed the following resources:

American Ski Bike Association

www.ski-bike.org

National Sports Center for the Disabled

www.nscd.org

Vail Adaptive Ski School

vail.snow.com/winter/ss.adaptive.asp

British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association

www.blesma.org

Have fun at the snow dome...Let us know how it goes.

Lorri

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I grew up skiing until I was 13 and then switched to snowboarding/telemark skiing until 27, the only caveat is that I haven't snowboarded since my amputation. That being said, snowboarding is much, much easier on the knees if only for one main reason. You have only one real axis of motion. On ski's there is much more risk of twisting the knees at funny angles, especially when the muscles aren't developed.

That being said to begin skiing is probably the easier sport to pickup. If you have the hip control to do a pie wedge ( point your knees in towards each other and then push out with the inner part of your foot ) you will have much more control over your speed and it will be more natural to you going down hill. Im heading up to the bunny slope this winter myself and I have already cross countried once just to give it a go.

You can do anything if you put your mind to it but it pays to take the right precautions. I took lessons growing up for years before I started going by myself. Im going to take lessons again when I go out because I know Im going to have to relearn the whole damn process but thats part of the fun. To be out there with the wind in your face and snow under your feet is a dream. You'll love it.

Oh, and when you start out on skiing you dont use ski polls, in fact you dont really ever need ski polls to downhill ski. so you dont have to worry about that. The only place you will find poles help is when you are trying to traverse flat ground.

Do something new, be safe and tell us all about whichever sport you decide to try.

If you have more questions or want me to go more in depth feel free to ask.

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I heard snowboarding is really hard, but have never tried it.

I am going tubing/skiing next month. I can't wait!

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I was a pretty good at skiing and snowboarding before my amputation, and would have to recommend starting out on a snowboard instead of skiing. Snowboarding just seemed to be a lot easier for me anyway, but what ever you decide I suggest getting a private or group lesson, so you won't have to learn everything on your own. Plus it will make the day more enjoyable for you. Good luck and hope you have fun.

Stacy

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Welcome to the Forum Stacy :D

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Hi there. I am also a RBK and obviosuly have the same aspirations to you, as I tried skiing for the first time last month. I must say it was pretty difficult at the start but I got a private lesson for an hour and a half which really helped. Some of the main problems you will come up against include, getting the artificial foot into the ski boot. I am lucky because I work in Norway at the minute as a student prosthetist/orthotist so I just took a foot that was much smaller than my normal one and put it on the end of my leg. When you can't move the foot, it makes putting a ski boot on very difficult. You will def. need either a bigger ski boot or a smaller foot. Snow boarding boots are generally made from a softer material so they might be easier to put on.

Secondly the normal angle of the ankle in a ski boot (or snow boarding boot) is very different from when you are walking. You need about 10 - 15 degrees of dorsiflexion (upward pointing of the foot), compared with what your foot will normally be in, which is about 0 degrees, or 5 degrees of dorsiflexion. Ask your prosthetist about the above two points I suggest.

I would also recommend that you get some kind of sleeve for the outside of the socket, just for some added stability and security. I used this when I was skiing http://www.ossur.co.uk/?pageid=3473.

Finally I would definately recommend getting one on one teaching. If you have never skied before then it is invaluable, and you will have a much better day if you do. By the end of the day I was able to go down the hill with out falling, stop at the bottom and turn slightly, although this was difficult because it involved having total belief in my prosthesis to turn left, so I needed confidence on that.

When you are learning it is easier to learn without the poles for skiing, as they are only really used to gain extra speed, rather than for balance when you are only starting out.

I highly recommend trying it out though, which ever, skiing or snowboardign and I know you will have a great time. There is nothing better than a day on the slopes and then having a nice cold beer afterwards :D Make sure you let us know how you get on.

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Hiya chaps, just reopening this link as i went snowboarding on friday. well, when i say snowboarding, what i mean is falling over a lot and getting rather bruised but having a go at my first lesson in snowboarding :) . I recommend it wholeheartedly if you dont mind spending time on your butt. I'm gonna heal for a while, then go back for another lesson.

The main problem I had was that, at first you only have 1 leg strapped to the board. You're supposed to learn to get around by pushing with the free leg, but, no matter which leg that was... my prosthetic leg was off in the other direction of it's own accord. I think this may just be down to muscle control.

My other problem was that my knees dont bend all the way and this made it dificult to get up once i'd fell down.

After an hour of this, I'd managed to slide down a third of the nursery slope without going over and considered it a success. but my o my i ached the next day!!

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