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New ski-assistive technology coming to slopes this season

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Roam Robotics’ “Elevate” device equipped on a rider. The device weighs about 13 pounds and will be available to rent at Big Sky Resort this season. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROAM ROBOTICS

By Brandon Walker EBS EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

BIG SKY – Winter sports are a staple of any mountain town and injuries from the physical demands of sliding through snow are inevitable. Knee-related issues have always been one of the most common injuries for skiers. To help remedy the effects of these injuries for powder enthusiasts, Roam Robotics has developed a product called “Elevate”. Elevate’s intended purpose is to alleviate the pain that riders feel in their knees from old, nagging injuries by absorbing some of the pressure that is focused on those joints while making turns downhill.

DJ Glusker, Regional Operations Manager for Roam Robotics in Park City, Utah, simplified the concept behind the device: “A cylinder that’s clothed gets filled with air to a certain pressure. The shape of the cylinder tries to change as the pressure increases. It tries to straighten out and that’s where the person feels the support. We’re able to control the pressure that gets put into it and the pressure that’s let out in order to provide support.”

The device weighs around 13 pounds in all, between the brace and the backpack that powers it. “The device is made to be lighter than most traditional powered devices. It’s not a closed system, like many other devices. Meaning you don’t have to put anything into it, it just gives you power out,” Glusker said.

Dylan Hall, Vice President of Retail for Big Sky Resort, is intrigued by the new technology. “Anyone who lives in a ski town long enough is no stranger to knee pain. If we can help minimize that by making these products available, we’d consider that a success,” Hall said. “We are always looking for innovative ways to use technology to improve the ski experience.”

Starting Dec. 15 and running until the season comes to a close, skiers will be able to try the device out for themselves. Roam Robotics will have a designated space in the Big Sky Demo Shop, located in the Snowcrest Building, with a representative stationed in the store throughout the winter season.

Originally constructed in 2018, the second edition of Elevate will be available for rent to the public this season. “Nothing for sale this year. It’s not a prototype, but there will still be a lot of changes that we want to make to continue to improve it,” Glusker said. “We have a small space in there that will allow us to interface with clients, fit them, and then take them to snow and make sure everything’s working well and kind of launch them, if you will.”

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