New skis!
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Scott - DCSki Editor
February 4, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,132 posts
Today I splurged and bought a new pair of skis. Although it's hard to believe, I had been skiing on my K2 Fours (which I love) since January, 1997 -- 10 years. I'm not sure how long skis are supposed to last, but it seemed like it was a good time to upgrade.

So, today I bought a pair of K2 Apache Strykers. I'm a little anxious, because I have a few concerns:

- I have never actually skied on these skis. I tried out a couple different skis on a trip to Vail last winter (not K2, and now I can't remember the brand) and didn't like them. But I haven't had an opportunity to try out the K2's. However, the Strykers get very good reviews, and they seem to be good all mountain skis. And I've been very happy with my K2's.

- I wasn't exactly sure what size to get. My K2 Four's were 178's. But that was one of K2's first shaped models -- and skis today are more shaped than they were then. In Colorado, the rental shop put me on 161's. But that seemed too short for me -- the skis seemed "slippery," wanting to turn more than I wanted them to. The Stryker comes in 153/160/167/174/181. I ended up purchasing 167, as I thought 160 would be too short and 174 was probably too long given how much more shaped the Stryker is than the K2 Four. So I'm hoping the length works out. (I'm 5'9" and around 150 pounds, and tend to ski at a lower advanced level.)

- A potentially bigger problem is that I don't know if I can ski. No, I didn't forget how to ski in the past year -- but since last season my right knee has started giving me trouble (I spent most of January limping. And December, too), and an orthopedic specialist recommended that I avoid activities such as skiing. Umm... Fat chance. I've been doing various exercises and the knee pain has subsided somewhat since January, but I still have no idea what's going to happen when I get on the slopes and make my first turn. That could be my last turn of the season if the inflammation comes shooting back. But I'm hoping I'll be fine if I take it easy and wear a knee brace. I'm really a little terrified about that first run -- minor activities (such as climbing a ladder) have re-injured my knee when I thought the problem had gone away, and skiing isn't too light on the knees... But hopefully it will be OK.

So... I'm somewhat excited but apprehensive at the same time. I can't believe I've had the K2 Four's for 10 years -- they've been such great skis. I just hope I like the Stryker's and bought the right length, and that my knee behaves as a knee should! After all, there's snow in them there hills, and I aim to ski them sometime before the season is over. (I'm still at 0 ski days. I was more at peace with that when it was 70 degrees, but now that resorts have great conditions... Sigh.)
Clay
February 5, 2007
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
Congratulations! Sorry to hear about the knee though. I haven't been skiing too long (5 years - up until this year 5 or 6 days per year but out of respect for your zero, I won't say how many this year )and guess that I'm an intermediate (a non-rut intermediate mind you ). I'm fairly big (read fat) at 215 and I ski 170 Fischers. Honestly, I've never been on anything shorter, but they work for me and I'm not sure I would want anything that turned more quickly. Maybe one of these days I'll get to a demo day and find out for sure... But anyway - best of luck with them, and good luck with the knee.

Clay
Roy
February 5, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Congratulations on the new skis! That's always an exciting time.

I have a trick knee that started when I was 16 (21 years ago). Every so often it inflames, gets hurt, reinjures, etc. However, it has NEVER happened when skiing. Now I'm not a doctor so I can't guarantee anything. But obviously you've decided to ignore your doctor so...

If you are that worried, start on the bunny slope. Work your way back up until you feel more comfortable. Whatever you do, do not favor the knee. Don't try to change your stance or anything so you don't have to "work" the knee so hard. I think your biggest chance to hurt your knee would be to throw the rest of your body off it's normal placing and that would give you more of a chance to hurt your knee
tromano
February 5, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Congrats on the new skis! Sounds like you got the right ones. Just take it easy I guess. Did the Docs tell you whats wrong with your knee?
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Reisen
February 5, 2007
Member since 01/25/2005 🔗
361 posts
You chose good skis, and the perfect size. I'm 6'1, 195 (about 10 lbs heavier than I should be atm), and ski a 176 in the K2 Apache line.

How old are you, and did you have a bad injury to your knee in the past?
kwillg6
February 5, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,022 posts
Actually, Scott, the main thing to look at is the width of the shovel and tail in relation to the waist. Length, although important, is not the overriding factor in ski selection anymore. You'll find that you will have as much, if not more surface area on snow with the shorter ski than that of your old 4s and the stability will be significant. As far as you knee....I work with athletes as a part of my job and have discovered that knee pain goes with any athletic endeavor if you do it long enough. Take four ibuprofin and call me in the morning. Seeriously, I think you will find the your new skiis will be much easier to turn and will actually decrease knee strain/stress. Once I moved onto the lates generation of shaped skiis, my knee pain subsided for those very reasons.
bawalker
February 5, 2007
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
While on the topic of skis, I'm a newb on those, although when taking a lesson at Wisp I aced it and was told to work on linking "S" turns while everyone else in the class was still trying to stand up and side step up hill.

Anyway the instructor said I should start working on advancing up to better lessons and skiing since he felt I had the capabilities to be a good skiier. Well these were on 125's which I rented at wisp, fat front and back ends to it. Anyhow, I'm 6'5", 230lbs and in fairly good athletic shape so I'm wondering what ski would be good for me to get something less expensive just to learn on? My skills are... getting off the bunny hill lift without falling, able to continuously link 'S' turns without issue at slow or moderately slow speeds.

Thoughts?
tromano
February 5, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Almost every ski maker has intermediate level skis. However you mihgt be better off just getting a pair of boots to start and renting different skis until you decide what you like. Willis at 7Springs has on hill ski high performance demos. I am sure shops at Snowshoe do too and probably at some other areas. --Tim
comprex
February 5, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Quote:

Anyhow, I'm 6'5", 230lbs and in fairly good athletic shape so I'm wondering what ski would be good for me to get something less expensive just to learn on? My skills are... getting off the bunny hill lift without falling, able to continuously link 'S' turns without issue at slow or moderately slow speeds.

Thoughts?




Where do you want to go from there?

Something nicely sidecut like an All-Mountain-Carver ( Elan Magfire/Atomic Metron/Fischer AMC) would emphasize what you have on a wide variety of terrain. Something nicely sidecut but thinner (slalom sidecut) would emphasize what you have on ice. Beyond that, what else do you want to do?
skier219
February 5, 2007
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Quote:

Well these were on 125's which I rented at wisp, fat front and back ends to it. Anyhow, I'm 6'5", 230lbs and in fairly good athletic shape so I'm wondering what ski would be good for me to get something less expensive just to learn on?




Even for a beginner, 125cm skis are insanely short for 6'3" 230lbs. In fact I wonder if maybe you remember the size wrong.

The appropriate length will depend on the type of ski. Stiff carvers can be skied short. Softer skis should be skied longer. I can't comment on beginner sizing too well, but for intermediate or expert skiers of your size, I would be shooting for 165cm-175cm in a carver ski and 170cm-185cm in a general purpose all mountain ski.

When you are tall and/or heavy, short skis can actually make life difficult because they do not have enough edge to provide the stability/control you need. This will become important for an intermediate if you try to move onto carving turns and developing the "S".

I guess I agree that you should rent a little longer until you start progressing up the ladder. If you buy something now, you would likely advance past the ski rather soon. Maybe wait until you have comfortably progressed into a longer rental ski and are making good turns, then start shopping. There are a lot of good skis to choose from when you're ready.

Boots on the other hand, are a good investment to make now...
TLaHaye
February 5, 2007
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Scott,

You'll like the skis. Sounds like a perfect length.

As for the knee, I've had off and on knee pain for years, often flaring up for no reason whatsoever. This last summer, I talked to a surgeon about cleaning out 50+ years of cartilage sacrificed to my various activities, and he said "If Aleve makes the pain tolerable, hold off on surgery".

Instead, I started cycling, making sure I kept the revs up. It's been great for my knees. No discomfort whatsoever this season, and I'm just back from lots of bump skiing in Colorado. Strengthening the muscles supporting the knee may do you a world of good.

Good luck.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 5, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,098 posts
Scott,
I wish you the same good fortune I am experiencing. After demoing several brands and lengths of skis I decided on the K2 Apache CrossFire, 174s. Yesterday was my first day skiing on them and wow, are they sweet on the snow. What an edge!
Enjoy,
The Colonel
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 6, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,132 posts
Thanks everyone for the comments. I'm really looking forward to picking up the new skis (they're getting mounted now) and getting back on the slopes. I'm relieved there wasn't a chorus of folks telling me I bought the wrong length! Sounds like I'm in the right ballpark.

To answer some questions: I'm 33, and don't remember having a bad knee injury before. I've been active all my life -- lots of hiking, biking, skiing, etc. This started up in the fall, initially when I was sitting on my living room floor and stood up quickly -- not sure if I twisted my knee while doing that -- but there was sudden sharp pain that lasted a couple weeks. Slowly went away, then came right back while climbing down a ladder. Came back a third time in January, and made walking quite painful for several weeks. Each time it's come back it's been worse.

I saw an orthopedic doctor a couple weeks ago, and his initial diagnosis was "patellofemoral stress syndrome." (Also known by the fancy names chondromalacia patellae and patellalgia or, according to Wikipedia, runner's knee.) The x-rays showed that my kneecaps aren't really where they're supposed to be (they're off-center), so he said the kneecaps are brushing up against muscles and tendons and causing regular inflammation. His advice was to avoid activities that bend the knees a lot -- like hiking and skiing (and heck, walking too, I would suppose; what activities don't involve bending the knees a lot?!). But if my knees have a structural problem, they've always had it, and never caused problems before, so I'm not putting too much faith in the diagnosis. But I am at least thankful that it doesn't seem to be an ACL injury or something that would require surgery at this point. I've been doing leg extensions and curls and other exercises to try and strengthen the muscles around the knee, and I think that's helped. I'm not willing to give up hiking and skiing.

Anyway, I'll hit the bunny slopes first, armed with a knee brace and ibuprofen, and see how it goes. Both of my knees are a little weird right now just because I spent much of January limping and favoring one knee over another. I'll try not to do that on the slopes. I'm really itching now to try out the new skis! And hey, if my knee starts hurting after a run or two, I suppose I can always head over to the tubing hill.
Roy
February 6, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Scott, I'm not sure how you feel about chiropracters but they can adjust knees also. That's what happens to my knee (slides out of place). My chiropracter puts in back in place (no pain during the adjustment). Just an FYI.
skier219
February 6, 2007
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Scott, if you have one of the braces that keeps the knee cap centered in the right spot then it should help a lot, with ibuprofen as a backup plan. I consider ibuprofen to be a regular component of my ski equipment these days.... Sounds like you will be in good shape with the new skis!

BTW, you are entering old man status if you start to get injuries just by rambling around the house. I had a sore shoulder from some similar non-activities a few weeks ago. Everyone at work was asking if it was a ski injury, and seemed to understand when I told them it just showed up and I wasn't sure why. At 37, I am discovering more unexplained aches and pains every few weeks!
Reisen
February 6, 2007
Member since 01/25/2005 🔗
361 posts
Wow, Scott, I'm amazed at 33 you went 10 years on one set of skis!!!

The good news is you don't have a bad injury (you'd likely know it if you had something traumatic enough to cause meniscus damage or ACL/MCL damage).

The bad news, at least for me, is I did the EXACT same thing as you a few weeks ago. I was sitting on the floor of my living room, trying to clean a spot in our carpet, stood up quickly, and twisted my knee funny. It was painful, and a dull pain lasted for a few days afterwards. Hopefully, given the fact that I just turned 27, and am pretty active, it will go away... Also, I skied the other day and felt no pain in it, so....

The ipuprofen is a good idea, as according to the doctors I've talked to, it actually helps joint injuries heal as well as treats the symptoms. Evidently, the anti-inflammatory properties help keep the injury from getting progressively worse. Last year I developed tendonitis in my ankle from playing soccer, and was told to stay off it for at least 4 months (haven't touched a soccer ball since October), and take ibuprofen when I start back up in the spring.

For me, at least, I'm actively trying to drop 10 pounds or so to improve the impact on my joints from being active.
bawalker
February 6, 2007
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
I was at Wisp last year taking that lesson and in fact the receipt showed 125cm skis and the marking on the skis themselves showed 125. I remember that because when standing them up next to me, they didn't even come close to coming upto my chest and thought that seemed awfully short.

Where I would like to go next is to work on taking skis to the top of the mountain and working on linking turns down and with my snowboarding experience, feel like I could handle a blue fairly well within a couple of tries.

The first time I ever rented ski's was in 2001 when a friend took me and I got 200cm straight ski's at Timberline. The girl in the shop wrote down 'intermediate' on the rental form even though I requested beginner. Those were so bad that I couldn't even control myself standing up with tips crossing, getting my legs crossed, it was horrible. I didn't have that problem with my lesson at wisp, and in fact by the end of that lesson i was able to 'ski-walk' up hill to the top of the bunny slope only to do my "S" turns down. The instructor was like "You definitely don't need me, practice on that till I'm done with these guys and I'll spend half an hour with you..."

I'd like to find something where I can have control of the ski's without worrying about tips crossing and being utterly out of control.


Quote:

Even for a beginner, 125cm skis are insanely short for 6'3" 230lbs. In fact I wonder if maybe you remember the size wrong.

When you are tall and/or heavy, short skis can actually make life difficult because they do not have enough edge to provide the stability/control you need. This will become important for an intermediate if you try to move onto carving turns and developing the "S".

I guess I agree that you should rent a little longer until you start progressing up the ladder. If you buy something now, you would likely advance past the ski rather soon. Maybe wait until you have comfortably progressed into a longer rental ski and are making good turns, then start shopping. There are a lot of good skis to choose from when you're ready.

Boots on the other hand, are a good investment to make now...


JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 7, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,696 posts
Scott,
-just think of how much you've saved by not upgrading your ski gear the way you upgrade your computer gear!!
-I agree with kwillg6 and some of the other posters, the new gear will likely reduce the stress on your legs. But the brace and Aleve are a good backup plan
-BS (before shaped) I had a stretch in the '80s and '90s were I purchased only two sets of skis for myself in over 20 years. Back then as a skidder, it seemed like periodically sharpening of a ski's edges extended utility quite a bit.
-In recent years my car buying and ski buying practices have much in common; I'm buying nice, late model used rides for self and family.
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