Four Cures For Shin Bang

Shin bang nearly wrecked my season. Here’s how I solved it.
Publish date:

I was sure that someone walked into my room while I was sleeping, drugged me into unconsciousness, and split my shins with a hatchet. The pain was sharp and focused on a small part of each leg—an area about the size of fingernail. I’d spent two days of skiing the hard, frozen crud that amassed at Snowbird not because I wanted to but because I had to. It was the middle of our ski test and it’s not like you can say, “Sorry guys, even though it’s a hideously expensive thing to do and you came from far and wide, I gotta call it. I’m sore.”

No. You power through it, gripping and grinning and skiing like you mean it, even though each flex forward is more Tabasco in the gash. Each turn made it worse.

When the damn ski test was over, I had a couple of days to rest before I was set to fly to Switzerland for what was billed as a trip through the deepest winter since the nations of the Alps have kept score. But after one day there, my shins were screaming. This trip was ruined before it even began.

So I marched down to a ski shop and, in the shittiest German you’ve ever heard, asked for some help. The guy shot me a quizzical look, as though I’d asked him to fondle me. But he was surprised that I didn’t just ask him the king’s English. No matter. Uli, my new friend, studied my shin, and went to town on it. Twenty minutes and 35 euro later, I had some kind of maxi-pad on my shin. I doubted. He grunted and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up.

And he was right. I skied hard the next day, through a deep dump at Vals, and I was cured.


Let’s assume that you’ve bought your boots from a good shop and that they fit, like mine do. But you can still get shin bang. The idea is to minimize both impact and friction against your shins. Here are a few cures:

1. The Quick Fix: Shove a beer coozie down the front of your boot. Make sure it’s not too thick and surrounds the affected area with a moat of softness. If it’s too small it’ll only intensify and focus the pain. Cut it to fit if you have to. The sponginess will reduce impact, but the friction could still remain. Apply one layer of duct tape to the inside of the coozie to make it slippery against your ski sock.

2. Shave your Shins: Girls, you’re fine. For men and girls from the Kootenays, shave the lower leg to reduce abrasion within the sock.

3. Buy a Pad: Uli the shop guy stuck on a quarter-inch-thick silicone pad. It didn’t have a name so let’s just call it Paddy. I’ve never seen it in North America, though a thin, silicone insert will work. You know that aisle in the drug store with the Dr. Scholl’s stuff for your shoes? By something that’s spongy, sticky on one side (for your shin) but not too thick. Apply directly to your bare shin, carefully put the sock over top, then gingerly slip it into your boot. Ahhh.

4. Booster Strap: Buy one. This won't cure your shin bang—it's more of a preventative. The elastic, stretchy strap replaces your power strap and allows you to move with your boot rather than smash into it the front of it with every turn. [from $28;]



PB&J vs. Clif Bar

One costs pennies, the other about a buck-twenty-something. Both are delicious things to keep you fueled during a ski day. But we asked a nutritionist: What's the difference?

Emily Brydon, post-race.

For God and Country

Canadian skiers have blown it at these games. No matter the cause of this failure, no one is pointing fingers at the ladies’ coach. He’s all but failure-proof. Why?

Step aside Nutella, your time on a pedestal is over. Justin is here. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is not only decadent, but also nutritious, free of artificial flavors and processed dairy, plus it comes in an ultra-convenient squeeze pack size. These can be stashed in pockets and easily scarfed on the lift, minus the melted chocolate mess factor.  Hazelnuts, often overshadowed by the nutritional content of nut-brothers almonds and walnuts, are packin’ when it comes to nutrient-density. These chestnut relatives are a good source of vitamin B1, which is imperative for energy production, and copper, a mineral that is needed for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase which disarms free radicals. The best part is Justin uses palm fruit oil rather than inflammation-promoting hydrogenated vegetables oils like most commercial nut butters do. This is worth going nuts over. Cost: $0.55 cents per squeeze pack. Calories:

Top Five Pocket Snacks For Skiers

This question just might be one of the seven wonders of the food world: What is the optimal snack to pack so I don’t have to stop for lunch on a powder day, that doesn’t weigh me down, smooch, or melt in my pocket? The answer is that just as skis have gotten wider, on-slope snacks have also improved, moving past dry protein bars and sweaty string cheese. If you’ve upgraded your gear in the last year, then it’s also time to upgrade the snack selection. Start with these five snacks, each available for under $2 per serving.