Sponsored by Stoko | Written by Bennett Slavsky
The K1 Summit from Stoko is allowing aging and injured athletes to work and play more days with less pain.
When the snow begins to fall, skiers and snowboarders obsess over getting out on the mountain day after day, season after season. But any diehard skier or snowboarder can certainly tell you that a lifetime of riding comes at a cost. Skiing causes wear and tear on the body (even without a serious accident) and can lead to all sorts of chronic injuries, especially to the body’s suspension system: the knees. Injury demands more days off, preventing riders from doing the thing they love.
Meet Stoko’s Innovative Medical-Grade Bracing
Enter Stoko and the K1 Summit. Stoko has innovated the knee brace in a big way by integrating medical-grade bracing with a base layer. Over 90 feet of high-strength cables run through the tights in a pattern that mimics the muscles and ligaments of a person’s legs. The cables are tightened by dials located on the waistband. When cinched down the K1 Summits provide bi-lateral support and protection for the body to eliminate pain and overcome injury—the non-extensible cables help prevent the knee from being pushed into an injury prone position.
For those who have pre-existing injuries, the K1 Summit can help them get back on the mountain sooner and with less pain; for those without pre-existing injuries, the K1 Summit will reduce general wear and tear on the knees and ensure longevity. You can read about my own experience snowboarding in Stoko’s K1s here.
Stoko Success Story With Peter Smart
We caught up with Peter Smart—founder of the revolutionary ski school Extremely Canadian—and spoke with him about how the K1s have impacted his life as a professional and impassioned skier.
Since 1994, Extremely Canadian has honed in on serious clientele. The instructors and guides take clients out for long days in the backcountry or on the steepest inbound lines on their home turf in Whistler and Blackcomb. Needless to say, the Extremely Canadian ski guides take a beating nearly every day for their clients, and on their days off, take a beating just for fun.
“I’ve been skiing pretty aggressively for 30 years,” Smart said. “At this point I’m just trying to keep my old body in shape.”
After three decades of skiing more than 100 days a year, Smart has acquired his fair share of knee injuries: “I have cartilage issues in both knees, I’m starting to get some arthritis, the medial lateral on my left knee is pretty loose—I can be in a sitting position and move my tib-fib back and forth a half an inch.”
Last season, Smart and several other members on the Extremely Canadian team began skiing with the K1s and were impressed with the results. Smart wore the supportive baselayer for 80% of his days out last season, especially in the early- to mid-season as his body was reacclimating to skiing.
“Skiing in the K1s has reduced my overall pain level and I believe overall injury as well,” he said. “The K1s have definitely made it easier to ride everyday.”
Additionally he said: “Once you put them on and tighten them up you feel like you’re in an active stance, as opposed to slouching or what have you. It encourages good posture and stance and helps us get moving that much quicker.”
At 50 years old, Smart’s skiing career is far from over. At this point in his life, he is more meticulous about warming up and focused on good form to avoid tweaks. With tools like the K1, Smart is hopeful that he will see more longevity on the mountain.
“The feeling and confidence that it gives me early season is encouraging,” he said. “In the beginning of every year I feel all old and crippled and wonder how confident I should be. The K1s give me a little more confidence that I’ll reach my goal of skiing until I die.”
The K1 is an excellent tool in the kit for any athlete, whether you have an injury or not. Learn more about how K1’s Embrace System works in the following video.
Shop the new K1 Summit here.