March 27, 2009 I've been skiing for about 20-25 years (God! Is it really that long? BTW, I’m 51 now)) although only on holiday one or two weeks a year (apart from a fantastic month I spent touring Colorado round about 1990). The last time I had a proper skiing holiday was 2002 in Bardonechia, Italy. Then about 2 years ago I had a go for an afternoon while I was out in the Sierra Nevada (Spain). At the time my osteo-arthritis was moderate, but boy did I struggle with the skiing. I didn't have the confidence in my body for the parallel turns and when I defaulted to a snow-plough - OUCH!

At the end of September (2008) I had my left hip resurfaced and my right one was done at the end of November (2008) and I would say I've made fantastic progress since then. I'd been having a personal trainer visit once a week for the last couple of years to help with my flexibility and mobility and so after the operations, Brian resumed his weekly visits to inflict the usual dose of torture. I've been working REALLY hard since then and now (3 1/2 months after the second op) I do about 1.5 hours gym work between 2 and 5 times a week (depending on what else I've got on) on top of Brian's sessions; I've also taken up Salsa in the last 4 weeks.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago I happened to mention to a friend that I was going to Southern Spain for a long week-end (we have an apartment there) and he asked if I was going to be doing any skiing (in retrospect, I suspect he was probably joking). I said "Oh no, it's far too soon", but that had planted a seed... Over the next few days, I kept coming back to how great it would be to ski when we went to Spain. Finally, I phoned my surgeon and asked him what he thought. He had seen me (and X-rayed me) only a couple of weeks earlier and he said that the hips should be OK but to hang off the blacks and hard reds. Bearing in mind that the surgeon didn’t know the hard fitness regime that I was going through, I felt that I would surely be fine. With that it was set!

When we got to Spain, I took my self up to the ski slopes near Granada. It was the beginning of March and typical spring skiing - lots of snow and lots of sun. I got onto the snow about mid-day (to avoid the hard early morning snow) and gingerly took myself up my first green run. The first run I was a bit nervous but I could feel the rudiments coming back. The second run was a bit better and by the fourth run my confidence was pretty much back and so were the parallel turns. I stayed with the greens for 6 or 7 runs and then moved onto the blues, which by this stage felt a breeze. By 3:00 p.m. the snow was starting to go a bit porridgey and knowing that that increased the likelihood of a fall decided to call it a day.

All-in-all I had a fantastic time skiing and was really glad that I’d done it. I didn’t fall or have anybody crash into me although I managed to cross my tips on three occasions and went out of control for a bit before I managed to get it back – a bit of a nervous time, but no falls.

The next day, I felt absolutely fine – no aches or pains whatsoever – all of the hard work training had really paid off.

Since coming back from Spain I’ve now booked to go to Cervinia in Italy skiing over the New Year next winter – boy am I looking forward to that!

I hope you guys are still enjoying the great snow we’ve had this season, and for those of you wondering whether to get back on your skis, I would say train hard, listen to your body and listen to your surgeon.

Happy (and safe) skiing,

Gary January 3, 2010 It's now 12 months since my second hip was done and I've just got back from the skiing trip to Cervinia. To say it didn't go as I was wanting is an understatement...

The short version of the story is that on the afternoon of my my first day's skiing, I got off a chair lift to be faced with a woman in a heap immediately in front of me. Anyway, I tried to take evasive action, but the next thing I remembered was being flat on my back with skis splayed with the backs stuck in the snow and screaming out in agony - "My knees, my knees! Get my skis off!". After about 5 minutes the pain had subsided and I skied off with my friends. I took another tumble (poor viz, skis crossed and took a head first dive). No pain in the hips whatsoever, however a visit to the local trauma centre and the doctor there told me that I had 'broken' my cruciate and lateral ligaments, so no more skiing. I've just got back home today and am off to see my GP tomorrow. The knee is still painful but there was no hip pain at all. Although I missed a week's skiing, it has proved to me that the hips are now well and truely sorted.

I hope the skiers and borders out there have a great winter


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