Are physical limitations affecting your ski days?
The Roam Elevate exoskeleton device is helping skiers stay on the slopes longer — both in duration and in life. It’s now available to demo in Keystone and Breckenridge.
For The Summit Daily
Editor’s Note: Sponsored content brought to you by Roam Robotics
For $25, you can test the Roam Elevate device on the slopes for two hours. The fitting for the gear takes about 5 minutes.
Summit County locations:
Breckenridge: 645 S. Park Ave. (at the base of Peak 9 in the village), 970-237-5435.
Keystone: 100 Dercum Square (next to Dercum Square Ice Rink in the Buffalo Lodge building), 970-514-8708.
To make a reservation, visit roamrobotics.com/reservations.
To learn more about the Roam Elevate exoskeleton or to watch videos of the device in action, visit http://www.roamrobotics.com/ski.
Former Olympian and World Cup skier Hank Kashiwa is 70 years old with 20 surgeries under his belt — 12 of them on his knees — but partially thanks to an exoskeleton device made for skiers, he’s not missing a beat.
Three years into skiing with Roam Robotics’ Elevate, Kashiwa has felt the product’s ability to alleviate pressure on his joints. The wearable, easily transportable, device offloads as much as 30 percent of his body weight from his quads and knees, allowing Kashiwa to continue doing what he loves without overstressing his surgically repaired joints.
“I’ve watched (Roam Elevate) develop into a very intuitive system where it knows when you need power and support,” Kashiwa said. “It’s really fun skiing with the Roam device because it gives your legs a break.”
How it works
Elevate has two main components: a powerpack worn on the back and two separate leg devices that weigh a little more than two pounds each. The powerpack, which weighs about 10 pounds, serves as the brains of the unit. Its software communicates with sensors in the leg devices to anticipate a skier’s turns. Compressed air turns into upward force to assist the body’s natural movements while skiing.
“The device is interpreting your intent and providing support throughout the turns,” said Johnnie Kern, Roam Robotics’ director of product marketing. “The external frame helps reduce fatigue, allowing you to ski longer.”
Elevate’s powerpack contains a shoulder strap-mounted controller that allows the skier to adjust power and sensitivity performance on-the-fly while skiing.
“The device is fully adjustable and always follows your body’s lead, so you are always in control,” Kern said. “The goal is to augment the experience. Elevate does not ski for you, but it can keep you on the slopes longer if your legs and knees aren’t happy.”
After a short fitting for a skier’s height and thigh circumference, and a brief tutorial on how to use the controller, you’re ready to hit the slopes.
“Because Elevate is offloading up to 30 percent body weight, we’re hoping you hardly notice the equipment once it’s on and you’re skiing,” Kern said. “The idea is that the benefits offset the weight
Longer ski days, vacations and years
Elevate offers a solution to debilitating discomfort that often causes people to hang up their skis earlier than they’d like.
“Zero knee pain.”
“I feel like I’m young again — it was so much fun.”
From aging athletes to those with previous injuries, early testers and adopters of Elevate are impressed with its results. Anyone whose ski days or ski vacations are being cut short due to physical limitations should give Elevate a try, Kern said.
“This technology has some really powerful implications for a lot of different aspects of life,” he said.
Early adopters are reporting all kinds of benefits, the most significant of which is a decrease in — or even the elimination of — pain.
“Quite honestly, this winter I was not that into skiing because the pain is not that appealing anymore even though I love the sport. Went up on the chair lift and did a run down and honestly I had absolutely no pain at all,” said Lisa Dawson, author and gear tester for Wildsnow.com.
Whether you no longer need a cortisone shot before hitting the slopes or you’re able to ski every day during your ski trip instead of needing every other day off, the benefits to users can be life-changing.
Earlier this winter in Aspen, one skier who broke his back five years ago said the device helped him ski faster right out of the gate and it allowed him to ski longer into the day. He told The Aspen Times it was like “skiing with moon gravity.”
Kern said he’s also heard from ski instructors who have expressed interest in using the device to teach people how to ski.
“We heard one little boy ask his parents, ‘Does this mean grandpa can go skiing with us again?’” Kern said. “Another skier said it was the first time she skied without pain in 20 years. How cool is that?”
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