Among the thousands of reasons the abrupt end to the season is a bummer is this: Those of you who were planning to demo the Roam Robotics Elevate will need to wait until we’re back on the hill.

Roam Elevate backpack and control device

Elevate is world’s first computer-assisted knee exoskeleton for skiers.

I had the good fortune to try the device toward the end of February. I met DJ, a company representative, at Deer Valley on a bluebird day and we spent much of the afternoon trying the Elevate on a variety of terrain.

If you missed our earlier article reporting on Rick Hovey’s experience with Elevate, click here. I think that Rick, a PSIA II instructor and a person with a serious knee condition, reports more thoroughly on the many benefits Elevate delivers.

But I wanted to go on record with my positive experience and encourage any skier with knee or other orthopaedic conditions to give Elevate a test run.

DJ helped me get the exoskeleton on my legs; a simple procedure involving a few easy-to-fasten straps. It’s a good-looking product that the company keeps refining. 

Next, I hefted the pack containing computer, battery and air compressor onto my back and attached air hoses and power connections. The initial sense of weight and bulk disappeared quickly. That said, DJ explained that next season’s version will be lighter and sleeker.

We skied to one of the lifts and took a few runs. DJ asked if I could tell the difference. Elevate is supposed to anticipate your moves and send puffs of air to the exoskeleton to relieve pressure on the knees. I told him I didn’t feel a thing.

Then he asked me to turn it off. The control is a device mounted near the shoulder. I did what he said and immediately and dramatically felt the difference. Elevate had been assisting me in such a subtle and effective way that I couldn’t tell until I turned it off. Amazing!

Then we entered a field of moguls. DJ had suggested moguls farther down the hill that weren’t quite as big. I took that as a challenge and went where I shouldn’t have gone. Not that I don’t ski moguls. I do. But that day was the first using new skis (I had the bindings mounted that morning) and I was a bit tired, and…enough with the excuses. I fumbled my way down and felt foolish.

That was me, not the Elevate. By then I was ready to call it a day and we headed back to where we began.

Bottom line is that Roam Elevate is approaching the end of its development stage and will be ready for primetime and purchase next season. If the season were still going, I’d strongly recommend that anyone trying to avoid knee surgery for a while try Elevate. I’d also recommend it to anyone wanting to add more ski days to the week and more ski hours to the day.

Roam Elevate is an entirely new approach to assistive ski devices. Unlike others that wrap around the knee or use springs or pistons, Elevate uses intelligence to inform how it functions in real time. The manufacturer has been using its demo centers at nine major resorts in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah to educate future purchasers, to collect more data, and to further refine an already highly developed piece of equipment.

It’s the future. And as all of us realize, especially at this moment, sometimes the path to the future has some bumps. The difference is that the people at Roam know where their path is taking them and they’re using this time to refine and miniaturize an already elegant solution to a common problem for older skiers.

Knee issues? Wish you had greater stamina? The solution is here and getting better. Tune in this fall.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Keith Egan says:

    The Dissent compression pants really help me. Also AMP PR lotion. Both make my 66 year old legs feel 40.

  2. Avatar Lee Hufnagel says:

    I had another great year using the SkiMojo system. After three partial knee replacements I’m still skiing Utah’s steeps, deeps and bumps at 73.

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