Skiing (downhill skiing, alpine skiing) [skillz]

After getting back to skiing at around -15 deg C (~ 5 deg F), I established the following:

  • there were technical issues regarding skiing itself
  • there were issues regarding low temperatures

Technical issues


First of all, I could not get my poles work for me. Not at all. I never relied on poles for stability - stability for me always was brought about by balancing center of gravity between left and right ski, by twisting edges into the hill or not, by shifting center of gravity over the tips of the skis for quick turns. I still use my 200cm alpine racing skis made (Dynamic brand) and while turning them may be considered a lot of work, poles have absolutely no role in that. So I parked my poles and enjoyed skiing without them :)

Poles are useful mainly to open bindings. However, I always used this fast trick to kick out of them: I just step on the heel parts using ski (first) and shoe (second). I am usually a lot faster but coordinating video recording did slow me down here.


Secondly, I wear a prosthetic arm for balance. At these temperatures at possible crash loadings, it is obviously a body powered arm. As I am wearing a V2P Prehensor and a Puppchen wrist, I am not using parts that are by factory declared unfit for sports (such as Otto Bock parts). Much rather, these are useful robust items :) These parts hold up to normal push ups, to full body crashes, landings and so far I also found no overly edgy protruding parts that constituted a particularly big risk for injury; however I have to add that I am a seasoned skier.

Temperature issues

My residual limb is poorly circulated and always cool to begin with due to congestion. So I have some issues keeping it warm. This is more marked when I am swinging arms as they hang down - when walking or when skiing.

Secondly, the prosthetic parts really got cold rather fast. There was no way I could keep them warm with an already cold stump.

As the arm really got cold fast, the arm started to become rather painful. To remedy that, I had to remove the prosthetic arm and decongest the arm using a compression sock. Wearing the compression sock underneath the silicone liner worked for a while. But after two days of skiing at low temperatures, I had reached a biological limit.

Next time, I will install an electrical heating there. There are boot insoles with heating elements, so the plan is to use these for external support.


Racing down hills again was one of the greater experiences recently. It was big fun. Despite technical issues to be looked out for and despite temperature problems, I enjoyed it very much.

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Skiing (downhill skiing, alpine skiing) [skillz]; published 13/12/2010, 00:17; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1603548914, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Skiing (downhill skiing, alpine skiing) [skillz]}}, month = {December},year = {2010}, url = {}}