Here at Bonne Santé we all hope you’re enjoying your skiing whether you are out here all season working, on holiday for one week or even more, or just looking forward to coming out soon. The weather finally appears to have turned and we’re getting some glorious blue-sky days to hit the pistes or the powder!
Whatever type of skier you are, you should have been able to get lots of time on the slopes to improve and refine your skiing either with or without an instructor. We hope you’re carving turns and dropping cliffs with the best of them, but just in case you’re thinking “that’s not me!” check out the article below.
With the best skiing days being ahead of us, now is the time to really think about how to get the most out of your time on the slopes. Seasonaires, those doing courses such as BASI, and serious holiday makers often pop into clinic and describe the same problem; that their skiing ability seems to have plateaued.
While sometimes this is due to a lack of confidence or the fact that you don’t ski with people who continue to push you, more commonly it can be caused by imbalances and asymmetries when you ski. Bonne Santé Alps has a team experienced in recognising and rectifying these; why not book a Biomechanical Assessment today!
What does a Biomechanical Assessment look at ….
When you’re just starting out on the slopes you may struggle to maintain the correct position because the muscles at the backs of your calves (soleus and gastrocnemius) are too tight to allow you the range of motion at your ankle.
Some key indicators of this are pain in the backs of your lower legs and feeling like your boots are cutting in.
Test your soleus length in the following way:
Take your shoes off and place the big toe of one foot 6 cm from a wall
Touch the wall with the knee of the same leg
Make sure your hip and knee are in line with the second toe, and that the heel stays down on the ground
Starting at about 6 cm, gradually move away from the wall until you can only just hold down your heel on the ground & knee to the wall – ensuring your leg stays in line
Measure how many centimetres you are away from the wall
Repeat on the other leg.
If you’ve got less than 12 cm between your toes and the wall, this may be something to improve upon.
You may also be getting pain and fatigue to the muscles at the fronts of your thighs because you’re sitting too far back on your skis.
If you’re a more experienced skier, you may have more of a problem with your downhill ski washing out on the last third of your turn. This is much more indicative of problems with your lateral and rotational separation.
Lateral separation requires a good quadratus lumborum and tensor facia latae flexibility. You can test these yourself by standing upright and flexing side wards – you should be able to reach past your knee on both sides without any forwards or backwards bending of your torso.
Rotational separation requires a good hip range of motion and good flexibility through your obliques.
Balance required for skiing falls into two categories; forwards and backwards and between each foot and ski.
You might be able to identify on the slopes that your balance requires improvement if you don’t struggle in good conditions but find variable conditions much more difficult than expected. You may also notice that executing a long turn is much easier on one leg than the other.
To be able to execute even turns with your weight distributed onto your outside ski you should be able to achieve a single leg stand with your knee slightly bent and your eyes closed for a minimum of a minute on each leg.
You might be able to identify that you have poor core control on the slopes if you find that you’re collapsing at the waist particularly in variable conditions when you’re finding it more difficult.
Similarly, if remaining stable through the upper body is difficult especially at faster speeds.
Endurance often is contributed to by several factors, some of which are listed above. If you have inefficient movement patterns your body must expend a lot more energy to perform the same movements. You might be able to recognise that your endurance is poor if you are requiring more frequent stops on the slopes and not feeling that your muscles are recharged by the time you reach the top of a lift.
If you’ve read this and relate to any of the points above perhaps its time to book yourself a biomechanical assessment!
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The purpose of this blog is to provide general information and educational material relating to exercise, physiotherapy and injury management. Bonne Santé Alps has made every effort to provide you with correct, up-to-date information. In using this blog, you agree that information is provided 'as is, as available', without warranty and that you use the information at your own risk. We recommend that you seek advice from a fitness or healthcare professional if you require further advice relating to exercise or medical issues.
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