An ingenious invention extends your ability to ski well on not-so-great knees

On the high side of usefulness for seniors, we find CADS, a remarkable body weight suspension system for skiers and riders that reportedly helps relieve knee pressure by acting as a spring between your butt and your knees.  Instead of

Strut from butt to boot Credit: Dan Leeth
Strut from butt to boot
Credit: Dan Leeth

gravity relentlessly pressing down—using your knees as a fulcrum—CADS is said to relieve the pressure.  Less pressure, less muscle tension, less fatigue and more skiing.

CADS stands for Constant-force Articulated Dynamic Struts—think of your car’s shock absorbers, and you have an analogous idea.  The skier wears a harness around the waist and under ski pants. Thin pole-like struts attach to the waist belt and to a fitting in the back of the ski boot.  The struts are detached on the lift and remounted at the top of the hill.

CADS inventor Walter Dandy said in a January, 2013 Dallas Morning News article, “It’s like sitting on a bedspring.  It pushes down on the ski.  It pushes up on the skier.”  He claims, “You don’t get tired, and your knees don’t hurt.”

“CADs does a novel thing,” said Walter in a SeniorsSkiing phone interview.  “In addition to weight bypass, CADs replicates what the thigh muscles do, so you’re reducing the strength requirements of your own muscles.”  CADS also puts downward pressure on your ski, allowing the ski to be in more continuous contact with the snow.  “That reduces muscle tension and fatigue,” said Walter.  “One senior skier held a tuck position from the top of one Vail ski run to the bottom without burning his thighs.  He said he couldn’t even do that when he was 25!”

Walter said that people whose knees hurt when they are skiing are prime prospects for the CADs system.  “Our customers are typically life-long skiers—engineers, physicists, surgeons, dentists and the like.  These people are self-reliant, knowledgeable, but they have a knee issue that is threatening their skiing experience.  So, instead of quitting, they try CADs.  These are not fashion-sensitive people, and they want to keep skiing.”

Struts and Bands Supply the Force Credit:
Struts and Bands Supply the Force

The CADS website has lots of videos of regular folks skiing with the device.  The hard-data medical research and testimonials collected over the past twenty-four years are impressive.

If you happen to be in Vail, you can get a free on-slope demo from Walter using trial equipment.  If Vail isn’t in your plans, you can order by mail.  Walter will ask you to send your boots and ski pants so he can fit them out before sending you back your new CADS.  Or, you can install the devices yourself.  Walter is also happy to advise prospective buyers curious about the technology and whether it could be potentially helpful for them.

Yes, it looks very different, but according to the testimonials on the CADS website, this really works.  And if you can keep skiing and skiing well, who cares about stares?  “The change in attitude in people from before trying CADs to after is remarkable,” said Walter.

We like the idea of CADs because it gives senior skiers a choice where there wasn’t any before.  We plan to try CADS this season and post a review.

Have you seen or used CADs?  Tell us your story.


We haven’t yet tried CADs and can’t officially endorse it until we do.  But it certainly is worth a look if you are thinking of quitting because of bad knees.  Here’s the official promotional video.

One Comment

  1. Michael Maginn says:

    Hello Martin: Thanks for your comment. We will soon have a classified advertising section where this comment would be more appropriate. Thanks for your interest in

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