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"Goode"bye PowerVest?


SkiJay
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I’ve been skiing with a Goode PowerVest for the past three years, and I can’t fully express my appreciation for having had this clever device. After shattering the humeral ball in my shoulder into four pieces, skiing would not have been an option without it. But maybe the time has come to move on.

 

The vest is heavy, it needs regular costly replacement, and it’s a little bit restrictive. So I’m curious to see what skiing without it would be like now that my shoulder is back up to the task—I hope. I’m currently on day three, and it’s not going very well.

 

I used to come around the ball, hook up with the handle and boom, the straps were right there taking the load as I dropped back into the vest’s solid support. Now, I come around the ball and NO BOOM, only a vague variable sloppy group of muscles saying "what the hell are we supposed to do with all this load?!" It’s downright disconcerting! It’s like when someone yanking the chair out from behind you as you are sitting down!

 

I’m down a full pass as skiing tentatively is just not getting it done. But on the other hand, I’ve had a couple of very qualified opinions say that something always looked a little off before, but now it all looks like it should behind the boat. Hmmmmm

 

I didn’t realize how much the PowerVest was protecting an old back injury either. It’s not bad, but it’s there. So I’m conflicted. Should I build on the signs of success with “everything looks better than ever behind the boat,” or put the vest back on and get back to chasing balls with shoulder and back protection as a bonus?

 

Has anyone else out there left their PowerVest after extended time with it, and how did that go?

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I was actually thinking of getting one. I have torn my shoulders apart--from football, not from skiing. I have to go under the knife this winter to replace a torn labrum in my left and I have been under the knife several times for my right shoulders' rotator cuff. Is there a way you could use the benefits of the straps without the bulkiness of the rest of the set up?
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@douglaslbradly I can't recommend the PowerVest highly enough for shoulder protection. Unfortunately, the whole thing works best as a whole. I tried cutting the backplate smaller, and taking the belt off, and it really doesn't work very well that way. It really isn't that bulky, and works remarkably well at protecting your elbows, shoulders and back. The trick is getting all the components in the right size. Be prepared to exchange some parts before you use it.
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I skied with the PV last season. Herniated disc. Appreciated that it got me skiing when I otherwise would not have been able to ski. Loved the freedom when I skied w/o it this year. So many more choices in the preturn before the buoy. Much more of a chameleon. Can't just crank a turn and hang on anymore though. There were some times in the PV where I thought I was going to end up in the trees. Locked with no choice but to hang on for dear life. If you are healed and physically capable without risk, ski without it. The added nimbleness will make up for the lack of raw power.
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Skijay. The most relevant thing I think you mentioned was "I'm currently on day 3".

 

If I "started" using a powervest I would probably be down a pass so I don't think buoy count should be your main barometer of success. Same goes with your back and shoulder muscles. Are you sore after your first three sets of the Spring? (I certainly am.) Plus, unlike the Spring where you are usually starting kind of slow from being off for the winter, you are cutting the rope. Your muscles, joints likely aren't conditioned for that due to using the straps.

 

Anyway, I would give it a while. Probably need to set some goals that are geared more to conditioning, etc instead of buoy count. Keep the rope long or slow down a bit. Let those elbows, shoulders, and back get in shape slowly. (Are you working out off the water?)

 

Good luck.

 

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Back issues this year led me to but a PV. It absolutely protected my back and allowed me to slalom without serious slalom related back issues. Regarding conditioning, I have a great physical therapist who is also a skier (Ben Harwood) who is keeping my back working.

 

But my buoy count is down by a full 6 balls this year. PV or health issues - or ski related issues? I was putting the PV low on the list until I jumped with the PV. The pull was totally weird for jumping and caused crashes and low distances. Hmmm, maybe the pull geometry affects slalom scores too? I only got a couple of sets before the "tractor back" flared up and sent me back on the PV so I didn't see any score differences. But my style (?) is getting different critiques this year so there seems to be some change due to the vest.

 

With that said I am very satisfied with the PV and how it allowed me to ski again. I may be too dependant on the protection from the PV - I will have to wait to next season to fully wean myself from it. Or see if I really want to lose it!?

 

For me it certainly is more involved than "hey I'll just grab the closest vest and rock it". I'm interested in the other responses.

 

Eric

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Jumping in the PV must have been downright spooky, @eleeski. It's interesting to hear that you are getting comments on technique differences having made the change too. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that skiing with PV and without PV are not exactly the same. We wouldn't expect to be jumping back and forth between different bindings without issues.

 

I loved @ktm300's comment "... I thought I was going to end up in the trees." Awesome! I'm definitely missing that power. It's encouraging what you are saying about more nimbleness though. Thanks.

 

@richarddoane Good advice on the core conditioning. I start a new program tomorrow.

 

Good point on the "3 day" impatience thing, @ Mr._Jones. I knew it would be weird for the first couple of days, but I'd hoped to see a little more evidence of adaptation by day three. At some point, it's going to have to sink in that I'm not 25 years old anymore. Sigh .....

 

I appreciate the feedback guys, and will try to be more patient with the change. I'll keep up the dry land training, and like @Jipster43 suggests, if anything starts to hurt too much, I'll go back to wearing the PV. Skiing with it is certainly better than being sidelined.

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@SkiJay - there was a comment a while ago on one of the threads that mentioned: "if your core isn't sore you aren't skiing with proper positioning." I suppose that means I haven't skied with proper technique too frequently then. However for core strength I do recommend the P90X ab workouts. P90X2 is also geared towards altheleticism and focusses (sp?) primarily on the core and using it to connect movements. Hope your back gets better!
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Thanks @Skoot1123. We all know the PV is good for supporting back, shoulders and elbows, but I'm surprised at how much it supports the whole core in general. My whole core, sides, abs, back, everything is sore from skiing. Sore in a good way, like after a heavy workout, sore.
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@MAD11 I did the grip switch many years ago. We teach this to newbies at FS Ski School. One of the best bits of advice on getting through this comes from my buddy, Brian. He offers:

We spend 16-30 seconds per pass with our hands on the handle. Yet, we spend hours behind the wheel of our vehicles driving straight down a straight road. Grip your steering wheel at either the top or the bottom of the wheel using your new ski handle grip (front foot palm down, back foot palm up). The more your hands are in this position, the more muscle memory you will develop. This will translate into normalcy when skiing.

 

I recall my first set with the new grip. I came around 1-ball and put my new palm up hand back on the handle palm down. I had to ski combo-style to 2 and back to 3 before I could grab correctly. Now, I recommend first few passes are done 2-handed when switching the grip.

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Here's an update on making the switch away from the PowerVest. It took me about a month to build up enough core strength to ski well without the PV. It also took a month to develop enough grip strength to replace the PowerGrip gloves. More significantly, it took two months to get over the geometric differences between using my shoulders as the main hinge-point between the rope and my ski rather than where the PowerStraps connect to the back plate; having to lean 6" deeper for the same connection after the ball has been tough to get used to.

 

In the final analysis, it's been two months and about 50 sets getting almost back to where I was while using the PowerVest. I'm totally grateful that the PV was there to keep me skiing while my shoulder healed, but I am loving the light weight and freedom of movement possible without it. If you are considering trying a PV, go for it; it has a lot of benefits to offer. Just be aware that unless you are still a kid, it may be easier to adapt to using it than it is to wean yourself off of it after long term use; way tougher than changing bindings.

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