2014-2015 Northern-Hemisphere Snow Season

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away started the topic in Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 10:27pm

It is that time of year again. We had a good snow related thread going on last season so I thought I would start it up for this year.

In Japan, some of the Honshu snow areas like Nagano, Niigata and Yamagata have had the first real winter storms of the season, some big dumps and barren looking ski hills turned white over night on the webcams I check while I should be working.

I have moved from Niigata where I had a few hills close by to Tokyo where I can only carve concrete. Now, hitting the mountains requires a lot more expenditure of effort, time and money. Hopefully talking shit about snow on here with other swellnetters will help me get some stoke and motivate me to get on those early morning buses and trains to head to the hills. I am hoping to get my first lines in about 2 weeks.

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away commented Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 10:28pm

Anyone else pulling out the board or planks anytime soon?

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mundies commented Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 10:43pm

Nozawa Onsen in March. 1.4m over the last two days, good start.

mundies

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wellymon commented Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 10:56pm

How's it Away:)
Long time no hear from you regard the Yuki in Japan.

Was gonna go back to Red in Feb for a month but got shot down with work:(
Red got 80cms a few weeks ago, which is an awesome start to a base...?
Between 1m and 1.5m base that place rocks, really tech riding heaps of intricate terrain, where over the 2m mark a lot of the terrain diss appears.

Yeah pretty gutted as was gonna go to Vermount and check out Burton factory and a good mate JG.

All good tho next year maybe.

Wish you the best as You know living in Japp land you will score.
Hope you have some more knowledge and experience in the back country regards snow evaluation.
Take care and get AWAY in the hills:)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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away commented Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 11:11pm

Where is Red Wellymon?

Yeah, I had a couple of scares last season. Will definitely be more careful now that I am one year older and wiser. Rule One: Cliffs are bad.

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zenagain commented Sunday, 7 Dec 2014 at 11:12pm

Away san, was thinking about you the other day. Are you getting as antsy as I am?

Hokkaido from the 23rd this month till the new year, more than likely hosting Craig at the end of Jan for 3 days so going to hit up a couple of Ski jo's in my area, Zao onsen for a few days with my lady at the end of Feb (She's already booked and paid for on snow accomm. there god bless her) and every weekend in between locally until the snow runs out.

Bought a new board, Never Summer Premier F1 163 and my darling bought me some new bindings a couple of months ago- Flow NX2 SE. Coincidentally hot waxed it up tonight at work after a chilly, knee high sesh this arvo up the road. Raring to go!

Yee hah!

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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away commented Monday, 8 Dec 2014 at 9:41pm

Hey Zen, yeah, I am definitely keen to get some snow under my feet. I bought a new ski case/bag thing so I can negotiate the Tokyo transport system with my gear.

I don't know how you keep up the keen to hit the waves in the cold, especially when it is knee high. I have a coworker from California who surfs and invited me to come out to Chiba with him. I just couldn't justify spending two hours on a train to surf 2 foot crowded beachies in chilly water. Things are a little different up your way I imagine, (at least the crowd and only two foot beachies part).

Zao should be amazing in late Feb. When I was there that time of year it was pretty much straight blizzarding for three days, with not much visibility. That was good for me though as it meant not many people on the mountain and the snow monsters were all spooky in the mist.

I hope Hokkaido has the early season goodness, although December 23rd is not really that early for Hokkaido after all.

Mundies, it seems Nozawa are open, not completely yet, but things are looking pretty white and people are getting some nice early season turns. I have been wanting to check that place out for a while.

Keep the snow hype coming.

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 12:12am

As I'll be boarding by myself, I'll be pretty reluctant to hit the trees, so it will be groomers for me or duck in out off the sides at Zao. I'm hoping I might be able to strike up a conversation on the ropeway or Gondola and follow them into the trees. I always like to have a buddy when skiing/boarding off piste.

It's not that bad surfing in winter if you have the right gear. The worst part is getting in and out of it. I go 5mm suit, 5 mil booties and gloves and 3 mil hood. Apart from the odd flushing which is no fun, I'm pretty warm. I wouldn't say baking but definitely comfortable. I take hot water to the beach to warm up post surf. I hate wearing the gear because it adds about 5kg and I always feel that booties are a barrier between me and the wax. The trade off is the waves though, beautiful long period north swell and all day offshores and as you can imagine, very few people in the water. Same blokes, year after year and the hordes from Tokyo don't start coming back till around Golden Week.

Fingers crossed for an epic amount of dumpage.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 1:22am

Empty waves like this one.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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Craig commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 11:02am

Oh dear Zen, pumping!!!

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 11:14am

Yeah, unfortunately wasn't taken yesterday.

For perspective, the jump off the jetty to the waterline is about 6 ft and that yellow pole is about 8ft tall so we're probably looking at a wave face of about 12ft.

When it's smaller at around 4 ft, the left reels off the pier and depending on swell direction and tide, you get a really long tube or a really smackable wall that runs for ages. Further down the beach there's a series of peaks but can be a bitch to paddle out when it's solid.

Summer gets a little crowded here, winter is empty.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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away commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 11:16pm

Hell yeah! It would take a lot to get me in the frigid see but that would do it Zen. Is the right doable?

Also, plenty of easy side-piste tree action to be found at Zao. There are some fun little short cuts between pistes and stuff. Nice safe tree ducks, relatively speaking.

Here is some snow stoke. This link is definitely worth 1:29 of your time. Gnarly is not a word to be thrown around lightly but...

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 11:36pm

My bum cheeks tightened up watching that Away san. Crazy.

I made a couple of youtube vids of Alts, but after that I'm too embarrassed to put them up here.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wellymon commented Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 at 11:53pm

zenagain wrote: Empty waves like this one.

Donuts on the beach Zen,,,?
Your car must be high of the ground the stick is still standing;)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 at 12:07am

Actually Welly, I might try and get some vid of the Subi doing some circle-work this winter.

No, I made a couple of vids of a couple of mates going down a couple of groomers at my local. Less than inspiring stuff but typical Japan.

I'm aiming to get some good powder footage this winter.

PS this is a pretty barren sort of spot but the sticks are from this crusty old guy who comes down there to chip golf balls.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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udo commented Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 at 8:45am

.

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zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 at 12:29pm

Craig, Don, Welly, Mundies, Away san are you guys seeing these numbers?

40/50/60/ 80/100 cm overnight and more forecast for Wednesday!

I was getting a bit worried (needlessly) about the really slow start to the season and higher than normal temps but now I'm just amped. We're looking at the entire natural snowfall of the Perisher season in less than a week in some places here.

Craig, said on the news that we're experiencing an El Nino season, does that have any bearing on snowfall in your experience?

Craig, I'll pm you soon- got cheap tickets sorted for you.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wellymon commented Sunday, 14 Dec 2014 at 3:26pm

Awesome Stuff Zenmon.

Never Summer will rock for ya;)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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Craig commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 1:05pm

Some great dumps going down right across Japan, just getting a little excited!

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 4:01pm

Craig, how long did it take you to get over your MCL tear?

I'm day 11 now and have only slightly improved. It's giving me the shits. Locally, heaps of fresh powder and not a thing I can do about it atm. Plus on holidays for 2 weeks just to rub it in:(

Hope I'm ok by the time you get here.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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Craig commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 4:57pm

Not totally sure but by 6 weeks I was out and surfing again feeling good. Did it again a week later though going too hard too early.

Just keep walking on it as much as you can and straighten your leg and tense your quad as much as you can to keep it active.

Put some weights on the end of the foot or rice in a bag and lift it with a straight leg from ground level while sitting down.

Will feel tender for a while but just keep using it and it should start to come well.

Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 5:03pm

Cheers man, will do and don't worry, we're still on.

Same to you and your's.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wellymon commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 5:32pm

Zen, the Reality is you have a grade #2 tear of the MCL, which is just one step before a grade #3.....!
#3 is an operation for sure.
#2 is total re-hab, proper exercise regime after re-hab and lots of patience...!

These kind of injuries take time ie do not push it or your knee will take longer to heal.
The worst kind of person with an injury is the impatient one or the one who goes too hard.

Create a positive energy Zen.

Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, this why we exist.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 at 5:47pm

Low grade 2 Welly:)

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm not going to do anything stupid.

But, then again..........

Welly, all the best for Xmas, it's cool having you around.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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away commented Monday, 29 Dec 2014 at 12:04am

Damn Zen!!! I have been a bit busy with end of year stuff and hadn`t checked this thread in a while. I am really sorry to hear about your knee. So the Hokkaido trip is off? I hope at least the surf is co-operating and being suitably shit for you. The snow taps are off for now, but I am sure they will open again soon.

I had a nasty sprained knee early in the year (doing a boneless off a quarter pipe), tried to get back on it too early and did it again the first day back on the board. Give it time.

I got my first snow of the year last Sunday and I got skunked. Like you and many others I had been watching the huge early season snows all week. Got on the train and headed to a resort in the Yuzawa area first thing Sunday morning. It is a strange feeling to walk through the streets of Tokyo at 4:30 in the morning holding skis and thinking that you will be on a snowy, forested mountain in a few hours.

As came out of the train tunnels that mark the transition from Kanto to the Yukiguni, I saw that the huge piles of snow on all the roofs had that sullen, saggy, just rained on look. Hopefully, it fell as snow higher up.... I tried to convince myself. Unfortunately, the rain had got up the mountain too and everything ungroomed was wet cement. Heavy everywhere, soft and holey in places. The snow fell lightly on and off during the day but did nothing to remedy the situation. It was groomers and wall rides all day. The highlights were seeing a snow rabbit running across the piste (I always see their tracks but have never seen one), and watching my mate who is about 6"4 get skittled by an out of control little snowboarder chick.

Oh well, early days yet. I will be up again in a few days. Probably hit somewhere in Gunma.

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zenagain commented Monday, 29 Dec 2014 at 12:34am

Yeah, I know Away san, not happy. Two weeks ago today that it happened. Surf has been pretty flat so haven't missed too much and thought I'd use this time to put my 5mm in to get a few stretched seams repaired, glued and taped.

I sometimes think I could get back out there as I'm walking ok now but one wrong angle and the daggers shoot straight through me. I bought one of those Zamst knee braces and it helps so I think I'll wear that when I get a chance. Realistically I'm looking mid to end of January before contemplating a go out.

Been getting updates daily from a mate up at Niseko and apart from yesterday and today, prior to that they've been getting 30cm + a night of lovely powder. Not as light as it gets but still pretty good. Picking them up from Ibaraki airport tomorrow with the rest going back to oz later in the week. I think I may have jinxed the group though- 2 have come down with the flu (husband and wife), one slipped over on his way out to dinner and done his hip in (can't ski) and his wife has a suspected appendicitis. Only his daughter remains unscathed. But the two who live in Japan near me have had a week of great powder along with one other bloke who flew in from oz who's bullet proof. So out of the 9 of us, one non-starter (me) and four out of action and four left standing.

Won a free lift ticket to Grandeco Fukushima from Snowjapan on the proviso that I write a review. Fair enough, been there before and had fun. Nice to receive something other than a bill in the mail.

Craig will be here at the end of the month and I've got a little 3 day, 3 x Ski jo tour planned and also Zao Onsen at the end of Feb with the missus. Hopefully in between that I can catch up on missing the first part of the season.

Hope you're well. Stay safe.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wellymon commented Saturday, 3 Jan 2015 at 6:56pm

JG sent me this fellas, check it out, pretty cool shit;)

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/whitewaves/114896074

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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zenagain commented Saturday, 3 Jan 2015 at 9:32pm

I would LOVE to try that Welly, Cheers.

You'd have to have it pretty steep and deep. I couldn't imagine it being too practical over the flat spots or on ice.

But on some steep, blower powder- Yee hah!

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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zenagain commented Saturday, 3 Jan 2015 at 10:12pm

On the news tonight, 3 snowboarders missing since yesterday at Kagura near Yuzawa in Niigata. Not looking good.

You should see the snow on the news, Nagano, Niigata, Yamagata, Aomori, Hokkaido- it's just dumping down. Bit of a break in the weather in the next couple of days then it's going to start all over again. For such a late start to the season, it's really making up for it now.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/amedas/000.html?elementCode=4

Away san, you getting some of this goodness?

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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mundies commented Saturday, 3 Jan 2015 at 11:15pm

Nozawa Onsen as of today - 340cm up top. 30cm last night, 100cm the night or two before that. Hectic. Scary amount of snow really, doesn't take much of an avalanche to take you out. Anymore news on the missing snowboarders ZA?
So just for contrast I'm heading out to the Oz desert shortly (46 degrees yesterday) before heading to the Japanese Alps in March....

mundies

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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 12:03am

Nothing more tonight Mundies, but I'll check the news tomorrow morning. Hope it works out. When they showed the clip of the search party heading out it was white-out conditions and just puking down as they say.

That'll be a shock to the system- coming from desert heat into windchills of -20+.

I'm still a good couple of weeks away before I'm game to give my knee a go. It's killing me getting reports from friends about how good the snow has been so far.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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mundies commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 12:44am

I wish we were hitting Nozawa now but fingers crossed end of season delivers too. Good luck with your knee zenagain san, common problem for frothers is pushing it too early and damaging it again. Hope you are out there soon but not too soon...

mundies

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simba commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 8:01am

Hi Zen ,mate it would help your knee recovery if you a had a PRP injection,if you havent heard of it its plattlet rich plasma ,simple blood draw not expensive in aus anyway dont know about Japan,but lot of footy players have em and speeds up recovery.

simba

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donweather commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 9:22am

zenagain wrote: On the news tonight, 3 snowboarders missing since yesterday at Kagura near Yuzawa in Niigata. Not looking good.

You should see the snow on the news, Nagano, Niigata, Yamagata, Aomori, Hokkaido- it's just dumping down. Bit of a break in the weather in the next couple of days then it's going to start all over again. For such a late start to the season, it's really making up for it now.

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/amedas/000.html?elementCode=4

Away san, you getting some of this goodness?


Keep it up please!!! Will be on Tokyo in less than two weeks and up at Hakuba in just over two weeks time so please ensure the snow keeps falling right through this time!!!
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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 10:06am

Simba, awesome man, thankyou. I have a follow-up at the docs tomorrow so will ask him about it.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 10:26am

Don't worry Don, Jan/Feb are the best months and the crowds drop off a bit as all the Japanese are back at work. (not that it ever is that crowded here)

Get into those trees and hunt out the pillow stashes. If you do, take care and use the buddy system. I was talking to a guy who witnessed an avalanche at Yuzawa a couple of years ago and saw a bloke digging out his mate. I bet the other fellow was happy he wasn't riding alone that day.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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donweather commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 10:58am

Cheers Zen. I think I might get me one of those Zamst ZK7 knee braces for precaution. Tore my meniscus (and had it removed) mid 2014 and stretched my MCL so any bracing will help with my knee stability hopefully. Which brace did you get?

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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 11:13am

I've got the ZK7 Don. Size LL. I'm guessing LL is XL in Oz.

Definitely, just for that extra confidence. If you're a skier then doubly so. Boarders tend to get upper body injuries, shoulders, wrists etc. Skiers, it's all about the knees.

I've been trying not to wear mine for the last week or so, just to let my knee heal unsupported, but I'll definitely be wearing mine on my first few go-outs.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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away commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 12:03pm

Hey all, the snow just keeps coming, even Kyoto got a good dump. I was planning to get up on the mountain this weekend , but didn`t want to be caught up in the crowds on the Shinkansen and all the bus trips were booked.

I will be on it tomorrow. Heading up to Gunma.

The three missing at Kagura still haven't been found...

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mundies commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 12:23pm

Don and Zen, one of the best things you can do for knee stability is strengthening agonist and antagonist musculature i.e. flexors/extensors:
http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/16/2/113.short

You're probably doing physio programs already however here's a sample:
http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/8119350/knee-strengthening-exercises-kne...
IMO these should be coupled with core training as the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone etc....
Knee braces can give a false sense of security with a pre-injured knee, but can help with unintended lateral movement. Happy and safe riding to you!

mundies

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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 2:19pm

Mundies, cheers for that. Been dong a similar kind of routine now and my knee is definitely improving but just not at the rate I was hoping would.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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donweather commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 4:04pm

mundies wrote: Don and Zen, one of the best things you can do for knee stability is strengthening agonist and antagonist musculature i.e. flexors/extensors:
http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/16/2/113.short

You're probably doing physio programs already however here's a sample:
http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/8119350/knee-strengthening-exercises-kne...
IMO these should be coupled with core training as the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone etc....
Knee braces can give a false sense of security with a pre-injured knee, but can help with unintended lateral movement. Happy and safe riding to you!

Cheers for that and yeah I have a physio routine already. Also riding to and from work (round trip around 36km) a few times per week to maintain muscle strength.

Could you please explain in English what your first article above is trying to say as it's all gobbldy gook to me.

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zenagain commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 4:19pm

Good news.

The missing three snowboarders have been found about 2km off the course at the top of the mountain. 2 nights out in the open in sub-zero temperatures. They were from Tokyo, man and wife mid-forties and lady friend 40 years old. Airlifted out by helicopter around lunchtime today.

Interestingly, they were uninjured except for frostbite. Even though the man had lost his gloves, his fingers remained unfrostbitten while the ladies had severe frostbite to their fingers even though they had gloves.

When the ladies were asked how this could be possible? They both hung their heads and mumbled something about an old trick they had learnt from their high school days behind the shelter sheds;)

Seriously though, great news.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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mundies commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 8:49pm

Zen, great news, who knew shelter shed shenanigans could be life saving...
Don - I'm not a physio, I'm an occupational therapist but here goes....
They measured normal i.e. uninjured non-athletes versus athletes with knee injuries' muscle activation via electromyography which is an effective way of measuring muscle activation. They were measuring agonist versus antagonist muscle action around the knee i.e. flexors and extensors / hamstrings & quads. Normal subjects (non-athletes) had a balanced articular surface pressure (the inside of the joint on both facets was even when loaded), so did athletes who had exercised their hamstrings to balance out weak quads from their knee injury. Athletes who hadn't done hamstring exercises had a reduced "coactivation pattern" which means that the system coordinating knee stability wasn't as effective and increased the risk of ligamentous damage. Clear as mud?

mundies

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donweather commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 11:29pm

Yeah thanks. Got me worried as I've always had weak as piss hamstrings.

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mundies commented Sunday, 4 Jan 2015 at 11:51pm

my understanding is that the glutes are often the problem

mundies

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zenagain commented Monday, 5 Jan 2015 at 11:06am

Just a little bit more on the missing snowboarders, they sensibly built a snow cave in/on the lee side of a small ridge and huddled together for warmth.

And in true Japanese fashion, the simultaneous deep bow during the press conference to apologise for causing everybody so much trouble.

And the guy seemed to have found his gloves;)

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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southey commented Monday, 5 Jan 2015 at 11:09am

No glove , no love !?

" SA's Reserve Capacity "

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zenagain commented Monday, 5 Jan 2015 at 11:28am

Apparently not on this occasion Southey.

What goes on the mountain, stays on the mountain:)

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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wellymon commented Monday, 5 Jan 2015 at 1:35pm

Good news for sure, 2 nights in sub-zero temps can play mind games.
I'm sure visualisation would of become realisation.
I know where my cold hands would've been:-0 and thats a positive thought, fully aware.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .