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Is Snow Skiing Okay?


About the Author


Janet McClure Single mother to two amazing kids. James is 13 and has HCM. Emily is 11 and recovering from TBI. Find out more about Janet McClure
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  • Is Snow Skiing Okay?

    I meant to ask while ago and forgot. Does anyone know if Snow Skiing would be okay for when you have HCM. My son has a chance to go skiing with my brother. They are just going to North Carolina so the mountains are not that big? I forgot to ask the doctor and wandered if it would be considered a high exertion sport? Thanks Janet
    My son James, Age 18, diagnosed in January, 05. AICD - 4/5/05 at Tufts NEMC. Myectomy -1/25/06 at NEMC. Currently having heart failure issues. James' father and uncle both have HCM and AICDs. James dad, Carlton, had Myectomy at Cleveland on 4/10/06. James Medtronic recalled lead fractured 5/26/11. Had Biventricular Cardiac Resynchronization AICD put in on 6/3/11 Emory Midtown.

  • #2
    My 2 cents: Skiing is definitely a high exertion sport, especially for beginners who may be falling-down alot and getting back up (which can be a rather intense "burst" effort for learners). or beginners who find themselves on expert/intermediate trails they really shouldn't be on! An expert skiing on a beginner's slope might not be exerting themselves, but that's about the only case I can think of that wouldn't be an issue.

    It's unknowable now, but I would not be surprised if the skiing I did when I was in my late 20's and early 30's didn't contribute to some of the serious HCM issues I'm facing now that I'm 50. I should that add most of my skiing was at altitudes much higher than anything found in North Carolina (I skied primarily on mountains in California and Colorado). The lower altitude is a benefit (I guess) but the exertion level can be quite high, regardless.

    Rob Thomas
    --Living life on the edge .. of a continent!
    Charter member: Tinman Club


    • #3
      Hi Janet,

      This is just from me, so please just take it that way, it is in no way medical advice. Of course, you should get medical advice before you let your son go skiing again... whenever you have a question about his activities, you should ask his doctor.

      O.k., that being said, I have skiied since my diagnoses, and also since my ICD implant. I did alright, but did notice fatigue with the exercise. I live in Colorado, and have skiied since I was a young teenager, so I am not a beginner.

      The last time I went skiing was about 2 years ago, and by noon, I was sapped. I felt like I could barely make it to the car, after I decided to quit for the day. Plus, my feet were freezing, and they wouldn't get warmer. (Probably circulation issues.)

      Anyway, since that time, my husband and I have decided that I probably shouldn't ski anymore. It's just too much.

      It makes me sad. Not to mention the fact that 3 years ago, for Christmas, we bought skiis, boots, and bindings for all of us, and I've used them once. And now it's over for me. It stinks... but whatcha gonna do? Life is what it is.

      Anyway, the bottom line is, ask your doctor. And if he says it's ok, then you have to decide if the activity is right for you (or, in your case, your son).

      Good luck, and let us know what you decide.



      • #4
        When I was a teenager I skied often. The down hill was not so much the problem for me - it was getting to the lift at the bottom of the hill. I would have to ski 'cross country' to make it over to the lift at our local little resort. I would need to stop every few feet due to chest pain and shortness of breath. I was 13-18 yrs old and it was really hard on me.

        I have since given up my ski's.

        As far as the 'official word' on HCM and sking - it is not recommended.

        Best wishes,
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


        • #5
          Snow Skiing

          Of course "Ask your doctor if more snow is right for you" but..

          I've been an active in-line skater ("Rollerblade"-type) and certified instructor in the sport for over ten years. I just had my HCM confirmed 2 days ago, so have been un-knowingly skating with HCM. I mention skating because the sport is closer to skiing than any other sport. We balance and carve turns exactly the same way.
          Of course skiers get help going up hill and we don't! But none the less my doctor (Dr. Sherrid of Roosevelt in NYC) said it was OK for me to skate, but no competitive racing and go easy on the hills. Luckily I already have good hydration habits and carry lots of water, as I'm learning that this is important.

          Now I am lucky and am only in the "average" risk category. Thanks to this forum I'm learning how many variations the condition can have, so do check with your own doctor carefully.
          Angus Campbell
          Golden Isles Region, Southeast Georgia, USA

          Dx'd HOCM at St Luke's Roosevelt, New York City, 2005
          Myectomy Jan 9th 2014 at Cleveland Clinic
          Drs Lever and Smedira


          • #6
            We asked Dr. Maron the same thing, and he said it was usually fine because if i felt chest pains while i was skiing than i could just stop. if it was too hard, its easy to just not go for another run and relax for a minute.

            im getting ready to go on a skii trip with my church next sunday, the 6th. Thats also my 1-year of being diagnosed. i'm going to try to snowboard, that should be interesting...for reasons not concerned with hcm..HAH!
            \"The heart swells at the magnificance\"

            1 timothy 4:12: Do not let others look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.