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Short, sharp, 180 turn series: jump, pivot or..?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Subtitle: what's easiest on traumatised, irritable, ligament-deficient knees?

Prompted to think by just having been outside on foot ( and tender sore knees), very tentatively descending a steep, rough-grassed slope; lots of boot side edging and sudden planned 180 direction changes. Often a time (when able to walk more easily, before injury), that I've imagined I'm descending it on skis, doing bumps, crud, moguls, steeps etc, and thought about pole placement, ski control, turn technique, etc. (Grass moguls!)

I've always (I recall the way I was originally taught, many moons ago) felt quite happy with a kind of plant pole & parallel jump technique. Tiring, but it worked. Also had quick-edging, thinner-waisted skis which didn't pivot underfoot so well - plus doubtless boot & general technique issues, of course.
Last year I did a fair bit of work on pivoting rather than edging or jumping and, yes, it was often easier, not least on my neck and shoulders, and probably technically better. This was with both old carving and newer wider skis.
BUT - now with knees that I'm always going to be very protective about (looks like I'm going down the non-surgery ACL route on both, and hope that the MCLs heal well enough), I wonder whether the plant 'n jump approach might not be a lot less discomfort-provoking, and maybe less ligament-straining generally? (Skis off snow vs pivoting with resistance upon it.) I'll take the extra effort if so, and try to hide from disapproving instructors...
Thoughts? Suggestions? Alternatives?
Cheers.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
From my own post-op experience with a single busted ACL, the most important thing is a good overall body position. Leaning back - not good at all.

As for your question: I think that if there are no meniscus or cartilage problems, perfectly executed jump turns would be easier on the knee ligaments than pivots. However, poor jump turns could mess things up a lot worse as a bad landing could quickly result in a dangerous fall, or more often in straining the knee on landing to compensate for small errors.

So overall I'd still go for the pivot.

Or just forget about the short sharp turns and carve big arcs:-)

Good luck with the healing...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@horizon, I do not, of course, ever intend to land a turn badly rolling eyes but, yes that had occurred to me.
Carving big arcs a nice idea, but tad difficult in bumps and other terrains. Yeah, perhaps I should just take the hint and seek out only those lovely wide carving pistes, sans all idiots who might crash into one, of course.
Seriously, not sure yet how much the problems or stresses might be the ACLs, how much the MCLs and/or just generally irritable knees from now on. Just sitting here dreaming, hoping and wondering...
wink
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I've been skiing for the last few years with a tear in my meniscus that I eventually had repaired last January. If it taught me anything, it taught me that just because you CAN ski slope or terrain x, doesn't mean you should. With no ACL's i'd stay (personally) away from heavy stuff, breakable crust in particular can cause an issue. The very last thing you want (voice of experience), is to be skiing off piste, have your knee give way when you make a very small mistake or mistime a turn and end up in a sled. I didnt and dont have any particular issues with pivoting, in fact its a skill i've improved a lot over the last few years, but heavy wet snow and crust for me are still killers on the knees. Pivoting in heavy stuff is a very bad idea, but for moguls, why not.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I don't want to bang on about it but I'd seriously advise you to rethink the non-surgical approach to ACL management if you intend to ski at a high level and in challenging terrain. Fine if you're going to be happy pootling around blues but if it is going to cause you to ski nervously or inhibited in the sort of terrain you want to ski as a minimum you'll find it very frustrating.
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I can't see how a necessarily more violent move of jumping/landing could possibly be easier on knees than a properly executed pivot using the ski to drive the pivot - i.e. not forcing with the knees.
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Get some skis that look like this (the 169 Hellbents pictured would probably be ideal) and enjoy effortless pivots everywhere. Medically proven* to be the ideal solution for ACL-less skiers who want to take it easy.



*Not actually medically proven
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Even if properly executed and driven by the ski, you can still find yourself lying face down thinking "why oh why"., particularly if you have a existing knee injury....the forces generated by a pivot still end up going through the knee at some stage, with all the best will in the world and maximum thigh steering, the thigh bone's connected to the ..knee bone etc......although with the ski's @clarky999, has shown above, there is certainly less resistance past your boot Happy
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Much as I would love to claim it, I doubt that I could really fall into the category of skiing at a "high level", nor upon "challenging terrain" (might walk/climb that, but a separate issue). Ditto "breakable crust" and "heavy stuff" (certainly deep, wet, heavy stuff). I enjoy being able to ski in all weather and snow conditons, and I like agressive and energetic skiing and bobbing and jumping around, but that can often be found just as much on average 'normal' (allegedly pisted) runs of all colours, especially in less than ideal conditions (or Scotland wink).

I think that this incident has knocked my confidence enough to enable me just to be happy for the forseeable future (following a lot of promised techncial lessons!) being able to ski and board on pisted terrain (although with bumps and at all steepnesses and conditions, preferably) and some side to minor odd-piste maybe; but I'm nowhere near a full off-piste or backcountry skier at the moment, and whilst that might be a dream, I'll cope without it now and stay within the boundaries of being able to get off reasonably easily and not intentionally over-stress things. After all, I am not a spring chicken, and there's way enough stuff out there to have safe relaxed fun on for the rest of my days - and that's what it's about Very Happy .
At the moment if I can just get back out and ski with confidence (knees and also other people on the slope) - even if I do find that some things are a bit too twinge-inducing or straining - then that's progress over not being there at all. Right at the moment, I don't know if I truly have the confidence to go out on the slopes at all without a full platoon of burly bodyguards all around me Sad - but that's another matter.

As to the ligament management approach, it's early days, nothing's been tested at all, snowsports-wise, and it won't be for a few months at least. Still a lot of healing to be done, and many months to years before, and if, I find out where my limits are - and what aspect(s) of the knee trauma/damage presents them. Many steep-sided hills first to be proved upon just on foot, too. However, at present I have 3 separate health professionals (1 specialist consultant, 1 specialist and bilaterally-acl-injured and 1 general physio + another experienced and snowboarding one verbally consulted) all advising me along exactly the same 'conservative' route after examination and progress thus far; and the advice is to get my strength back up (and better!) and then go see... If I can cope, as they think that I can, then that's saved me a lot of pain, risk, delay and grief. And a surgeon is not going to do their stuff if they don't think that there's a need: and at present mine says that they cannot see one - which I hope is good news. If I find that I can't cope or have to adapt or reduce, then we rethink our options. A chance either way...
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@clarky999, Hmmmm - will they improve my slalom and short turns Puzzled

@under a new name, because jumping and landing is a straight line activity (technically), assisted with arm/shoulder strength (via pole - at least as I was thinking about it), knee flexion and presumably quad and ther muscle input, and can be directed with the feet and hips. (Caveat, I am not an expert in any of this, just how it seems to me, the person posessing the legs and knees and dubious ski techniques.) Pivoting, to me, puts a lot more of a rotational force upon the knee joint and there is a lot more friction and resistance which must travel all the way up the leg from the foot to hip. This at the moment hurts my knees - a lot - and I don't know how much it may still hurt for some time or for ever (at least, be easily irritated). One of the reasons why several persons whom I know, with knee injuries of non-acl/ski type, won't or can't ski.
As @coddlesangers says, you can thigh steer, edge etc and try to take the knee out of the stress equation (which I think that up to now I have subconsciously and latterly deliberately done when on general piste) - but you can't prevent the change of ending up face down, back bottom over tit etc anyway, and it's all a risk. Can only minimise whatever I can.
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Grizzler wrote:
@clarky999, Hmmmm - will they improve my slalom and short turns Puzzled


Would certainly help your (pivoted) short turns. Probably be about as good for your slalom technique as jump turning down everything.

I don't think you can think of jump turning as a 'straight line' movement tbh though. Shifting your legs and feet around 180° in a very short amount of time (1 jump) involves a fair bit of rotation through all joints (and thighs), and some of that rotary action will still be there as you land and put weight through your knees again...

Pivoting involves a lot less force and input at all stages.
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@Grizzler, given your description elsewhere of anticipated terrain, I don't think you need worry as you only need jump turns in really quite steep terrain...

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To be honest when I didn't have an ACL I'd have more knee collapses when out hillwalking e.g. stepping down off a stile and suddenly be face down in a bog writhing in agony than when skiing. My knee would be like a small football at the end of each day skiing (ahem pieeating + fairly aggressive terrain choices weren't ideal for taking it gently)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@under a new name, oh, I don't necessarily distinguish between "need" and actually doing Smile - nor did I say that I wouldn't be on steep terrain per se (in fact, "steeps" was on the OP text). Not sure that I'll get to the terrain in your lovely photo tho' (dreams hopefully).
@clarky999, yeah, I did have a tad of a rethink after I'd posted that - though I still feel at present that my jump technique might put less overall strain on things. Perhaps I should work towards a nice in-betweeny, effortless, lightly-pivoted, unweighted, pole plant assisted, quasi-jump turn kinda thing.. Puzzled (possibly somewhere near how you're really meant to do it wink )
@Dave of the Marmottes, I will do my best to avoid bogs, then Laughing
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@Grizzler, then there is usually little or no need for jump turning and a well executed pivot is surely the least stressful?
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