Can big guys with bad knees tele?

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cludwig
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Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by cludwig » Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:41 pm

Hey all, I'm 6', 270lb, and my knees haven't been in good shape since I was 18 (I'm 43 now).

I've alpine skied the last two years after moving to Utah. My skis are Rossi Experience 80 with a 174 length. I can ski about every Blue run at Snowbasin, and some milder blacks. Bumps are my nemesis, and trees refuse to get out of my way so I tend to avoid them. My son skis at my level or even a bit above. My daughter is just moving from greens to the easiest of blues. My skis are ok on groomers, but they tend to submarine in powder. I took a face plant today in 24" of powder when one decided to dig in and stop.

I really don't dig the idea of alpine skis though. They are great when a lift takes you to the top and it is all downhill from there. My son and I went through a treed area today and I forgot to consider that the powder in the trees would be even deeper than in the open. It was too flat for the 24" of soft powder that landed in the trees. We had to walk out about 600ft and the last half was uphill a bit (sub optimal route). That was a struggle in alpine skis. We had to side step to stop going backwards. Also, the bindings are mounted pretty far back on alpine skis. Breaking trail, the tips floated too much and I was sliding back just on the level.

When going back uphill to rescue a fallen kid, alpine skis drive me nuts as well.

I want a ski setup that lets me easily go from skiing to XC skiing with next to no transition. Something with a waxless patch to let me go up moderate slopes. Something I can cross country ski to yurts on trails, and still not blow out a knee on a downhill. (not concerned about skiing outside the classic ski tracks - tracks bug me as well) Something that would hopefully work at a resort and on trail. Not looking for performance, just solid do anything functionality.

Any advice? I like the Altai Kom 174, but at 174cm – 124/98/120, that ski would struggle in powder with me.
I like the concept of the Voile Switchback binding, but I've never even tried Tele.
I've looked at the Voile BC skis (haven't demoed), but their tips run 15mm wider than the tails and I'd be worried about them not doing so well when breaking trail in the soft stuff. Though, that wide tip means less chance of a submarine in powder.

What are your thoughts, can I safely Tele? Do I need one tele set for downhill and another set for XCD? I don't like the idea of buying a tele set only to find out that my knees can't handle it, or worse, tearing up a knee.

Thanks,
Chris in Utah.

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Montana St Alum
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by Montana St Alum » Tue Feb 16, 2021 7:51 pm

I can't comment on your knee status but your skis are way too short!

I'm 5'8" tall and 165 lbs (thank you lockdown!) and my deep powder ski is 108mm wide underfoot and 182 cm in length.
The ski I used today (Deer Valley) for 10" over bumps is 102 underfoot and 172 cm in length.

I'm too big and heavy for a 174 cm ski at 80 underfoot except for skiing groomers, which would be pretty fun.

That may be why you're miserable on alpine gear. 24" (or even 6") in Big or Little Cottonwood for you would probably be 108-ish wide and at least 195 or so. 6' tall would be around 185, but you're quite heavy for your height, so floatation is a real issue at 270 pounds!

Sometimes a person needs more than one ski in a quiver. I think you're in that category. You've never telemark skied, so I'd get something to XC ski on, on somewhat groomed terrain and get skis that are functional, on alpine gear.

I'm sorry to say, but I suspect you are carrying too much weight to safely telemark if your knees are chronically weak or damaged.





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cludwig
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by cludwig » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:32 am

Thanks for the reply.

I'm definitely under skied. That was the biggest they'd give me for my second year in the learner program.

I'm gonna start by setting up some demos on alpine gear to see how I do on a bigger ski. I think I'll maybe try a demo from freeheel life too to see how I do with tele. I do need to drop weight for that though so probably next season before I can get there.

I keep thinking tele, but that is because the alpine kit is so singular in what it is designed to do. Race down after someone carries you up. I'm old school I guess. I don't mind multiple skis in the quiver so I'll keep an open mind to that if it means staying safe on the mountain.





sjc
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by sjc » Wed Feb 17, 2021 9:16 am

some thoughts...
Tele gear can still be skied with parallel alpine technique. Especially sturdier, more supportive boots/bindings. At a moderate speed on blue/easy black.
Waxless skis feel slow on the groomers.
Wide skis, over 100mm waist might be hard on your knees, on firm snow.
Many tele bindings don't release the boots in a fall... can be hard on knees too.

Having two setups for both resorts and backcountry would be ideal, esp since you want waxless.
but... maybe Voile Vector bc with NTN or something similar would be worth a look





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bauerb
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by bauerb » Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:16 am

couple of thoughts:

1. Tele skiing demands fitness. you are basically jumping up and down on 1 leg over and over. I can ski an entire run doing alpine style parallel turns and not feel the same burns I get from 20 tight radius tele turns in a low position

2. I ski alpine style parallel turns all the time on my tele skis. the idea that your heel is not locked down is not a problem for me...but you don't want to forget if you are launching off of something , even small. best landing is a tele landing

3. 20 years ago I almost tweaked a knee skiing. I bought neoprene knee braces with hinges in them. I've been wearing them for 20 years and no close calls since

4. the idea that I could easily stop and ski back up the trail on my tele setup, and that it would be easier going back up than on alpine skis? umm, not really. not without skins and changing to tour mode. in which case my tele and AT would perform in similar ways going up

5. unless you are highly skilled, tele skiing is going to be very slow compared to alpine skiers. I've been tele skiing 35 years and despite being very good at it, my 18yo son kicks my butt going down on his alpine gear. something to keep in mind if you are planning to ski with others





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connyro
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by connyro » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:11 pm

Just a couple of quick thoughts:
1. Your skis are way too short especially for anything involving soft snow.
2. Bad knees and extra mass and tele seems like a bad idea especially considering that most tele bindings don't release in the case of a bad fall.
3. Have you considered an AT setup? I don't know much about AT gear but a decent setup could allow you to travel in the BC with the addition of skins or even kick wax





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cludwig
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by cludwig » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:24 pm

Thanks all. I'll stick with alpine gear for the resort and look to get bigger skis. I'll fill the BC roll with a second set of kit. I'll hold off on that purchase until next year.

-Chris.





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joeatomictoad
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by joeatomictoad » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:11 am

From a biomechanical point of view... telemark skiing puts more stress on the muscles, and alpine skiing puts more stress on the joints. I have heard people with "bad knees" prefer telemark for this reason. (my 2-cents)





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Montana St Alum
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by Montana St Alum » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:29 am

joeatomictoad wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:11 am
From a biomechanical point of view... telemark skiing puts more stress on the muscles, and alpine skiing puts more stress on the joints. I have heard people with "bad knees" prefer telemark for this reason. (my 2-cents)
Yeah, that sounds right. I think alpine with stiffer boots might be more "bone on bone" contact, but I wouldn't rule out tendon strain for heavy skiers in telemark while engaging muscles especially around the knee cap.





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lowangle al
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Re: Can big guys with bad knees tele?

Post by lowangle al » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:36 am

I wouldn't want to learn to tele with bad knees but for someone who knows how a day in the BC on soft snow will be kinder to your knees than a day at the resort.





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