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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    CO
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    2,458

    Do you use a back protector?

    A couple of my skiing buddies were former competitive freeride guys where back protectors are mandatory for competition. They still wear them nearly every day skiing and it's got me wondering if this is a pretty obvious piece of safety equipment that I should also be using. We all ski the same stuff at the same speeds and I have witnessed a few of their crashes where they slammed the protector on some nasty objects (stumps, rocks, trees, etc) that seemingly would have done some pretty noteworthy damage, but it also seems as though they have adjusted their crashing style a bit to utilize the extra protection in that area.

    I know whether or not to get one is an incredibly subjective topic so I'm not looking for the internet to tell me what to do, I'm just curious how many of you actually wear these regularly and what your experience has been with them. Also interested to see if there are any studies or informal data points about the rate of spine injuries in skiing from direct trauma to the back vs broken necks

    I couldn't find a recent thread on these but if there is one let me know and I'll delete this
    Quote Originally Posted by other grskier View Post
    well, in the three years i've been skiing i bet i can ski most anything those 'pro's' i listed can, probably

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    562
    Timely thread, I used to wear one racing and got out of the habit of it once my racing days ended. Just this weekend I was skiing with a friend for the first time who also used to be competitive freeride. She was wearing hers. I thought about it a bit and wondered why I wasn't wearing mine... It's not a hassle, its not uncomfortable, its invisible so not a fashion faux pas (not that I really care). I dug mine out of the closet yesterday evening and will probably start wearing it on days I know I will be skiing harder (not using it on groomers with the whole family for example).

    Some people may have trouble getting used to one, but for those of us who it doesn't bother I can't really see a reason not to wear one besides cost which doesn't matter if I already own it. I could see it being very uncomfortable with a pack.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Your Mom's House
    Posts
    7,540
    I used to wear one most days I skied inbounds. Definitely had at least one crash that I'm sure it helped in. Have watched numerous friends crashed where their spine protectors definitely helped them.

    I don't wear it much now because I don't ski as fast and don't jump off as much stuff as I used to. If I start skiing more inbounds again, I'll start wearing it more.

    I found it slightly more uncomfortable than not wearing it, but not much. I'd usually dress one layer lighter, as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    2
    I ski in Crested Butte and I wear an Icon compression shirt for motorcycle thatís got dvo shoulder, elbow/forearm, and spine protection. POC knee pads, and after biting my tongue a few years back, a bite guard too.
    Iím not particularly fast, but CB is steep, shallow, and sharky and small mistakes get punished. Iím used to suiting up for moto/DH all summer, and when I tour without elbows, I feel a little exposed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Carbondale
    Posts
    11,595
    I skied with one for years.... Some are pretty low profile etc now.
    I'm not jumping off of things and bouncing quite as much now. May dig it out on days that I plan to though.
    www.dpsskis.com
    www.point6.com
    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
    Fukt: a very small amount of snow.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    ECO
    Posts
    5,588
    I got one after a scary fall backwards in the trees. Shook for sure. Wore for the rest of season and then made out of the rotation. Saw and pondered it for the first time last week about taking it with again. Little off the game this year so can use whatever I can. Slightly uncomfortable, but not too bad.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    119
    Yes and no, when I plan to go in exposed places, I use my backpack with the dakine spine protector.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    4,078

    Do you use a back protector?

    I have one that I got when I returned to skiing after a back injury. I wear it occasionally skiing and always when I ride bike park. My Deuter Descentor 22L has some back protection too.
    Last edited by Self Jupiter; 01-20-2022 at 04:13 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Collins
    Posts
    625
    I used to wear one a while back in the 2005-2010 timeframe. Some were pretty awful in their articulation. Found myself skiing funny due to lack of mobility, so I dropped mine.

    Recently got a different one though, and have found that technology and design have really helped a lot of modern protectors. I still don't wear mine all the time, but I certainly do when I'm in hairy stuff.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    272
    I had surgery a couple of years ago and the doctor said that once I started exercising I needed to be careful with impacts, so I decided to get one. It really didn't bother me at all (and I almost always carry a small pack too). When doing the research on it I read about people who wore one all the time, and a few were saying how they were sure that it had really made a difference in some crashes that they had. I decided to keep using it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Sierra Foothills
    Posts
    596
    I'm going the other direction as I get old. Don't wear the knee braces anymore after both knees were reconstructed, and I'm losing the helmet.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    6,620
    I used to. Once I got the wary vest with shovel pocket in the back I donít have to. POC was a barely there safe solution


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    I need to go to Utah.
    Utah?
    Yeah, Utah. It's wedged in between Wyoming and Nevada. You've seen pictures of it, right?

    So after 15 years we finally made it to Utah.....


    Thanks BCSAR and POWMOW Ski Patrol for rescues

    8, 17, 13, 18, 16, 18, 20, 19, 16, 24, 32, 35

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    511
    If it’s a day for sending tricks inbounds that I’m not sure about, then yes. This POC jacket has served me well for both skiing and biking. It’s definitely hot to bike uphill with, but is fairly malleable/comfortable otherwise. You can adjust the Velcro on the waistband so that the back pad rides lower… back protection creeping up towards your C spine is annoying, both on the lift and while skiing.

    Yes, it is pricey. But cheaper than the trip to the ER that you didn’t have to take.

    https://na.pocsports.com/products/sp...35532099518630

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    SW, CO
    Posts
    986
    Interesting. I can't say I know anyone who wears one on a day to day basis skiing, even though some of my friend send way harder than I do.

    I see a lot of you saying that newer ones are a lot better, more comfortable and lower profile than older ones. What is everyone using? I wear knee and sometimes elbow pads riding bikes, so why not start wearing a back protector while I'm pushing it inbounds. I'm doing gnarlier shit skiing than I'd ever do on a bike

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Collins
    Posts
    625
    Quote Originally Posted by ASmileyFace View Post
    Interesting. I can't say I know anyone who wears one on a day to day basis skiing, even though some of my friend send way harder than I do.

    I see a lot of you saying that newer ones are a lot better, more comfortable and lower profile than older ones. What is everyone using? I wear knee and sometimes elbow pads riding bikes, so why not start wearing a back protector while I'm pushing it inbounds. I'm doing gnarlier shit skiing than I'd ever do on a bike
    I like to keep it simple. I've tried more robust ones with harder armor, or ones inside a vest, but I appreciate Rossignol's simplistic approach: Click image for larger version. 

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    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    511
    Quote Originally Posted by DarthMarkus View Post
    I like to keep it simple. I've tried more robust ones with harder armor, or ones inside a vest, but I appreciate Rossignol's simplistic approach: Click image for larger version. 

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    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
    That looks pretty sweet as a solo back protector!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    PDX
    Posts
    307
    Iíve never worn one so maybe this is a dumb question: is the purpose of the protector to protect from blunt force impacts to the back/spine, or to prevent the spine from moving outside itís normal range of motion?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    NorCal
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    562
    Quote Originally Posted by Samski360 View Post
    I’ve never worn one so maybe this is a dumb question: is the purpose of the protector to protect from blunt force impacts to the back/spine, or to prevent the spine from moving outside it’s normal range of motion?
    I think technically the second but I've found mine very very useful for the first. Sliding down a race course over gates on my back at 30mph and didn't feel a thing.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    CO
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    2,458
    Quote Originally Posted by DarthMarkus View Post
    I like to keep it simple. I've tried more robust ones with harder armor, or ones inside a vest, but I appreciate Rossignol's simplistic approach: Click image for larger version. 

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    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
    Id likely get something along those lines - thatís the style my buddies use. It seems like they have multiple ratings with class 1 being softer and more comfortable while class 2 is usually the hard plastic ones
    Quote Originally Posted by other grskier View Post
    well, in the three years i've been skiing i bet i can ski most anything those 'pro's' i listed can, probably

  20. #20
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    PDX
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    307
    Quote Originally Posted by davjr96 View Post
    I think technically the second but I've found mine very very useful for the first. Sliding down a race course over gates on my back at 30mph and didn't feel a thing.
    Interesting. After my first post I did some quick Google ďresearch.Ē Here is an interesting study on back protectors. Looks like at one point they used motorcycle testing standards. Doesnít look like thereís a testing standard for skiing.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...77705810003346

    Also this:

    https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/44/11/822.full

    This study has an interesting point: ďUsers, however, expect protectors to be efficient in impact scenarios that result in spinal injury, which are more severe than impacts as addressed in the current standards. This study highlights that there is a mismatch between the capabilities of current back protectors to prevent spinal injury in snowboarding and the expectations users have of these protectors.Ē In other words, some spine injuries are due to twisting forces on the spine which the protector doesnít do anything to prevent.

    I could see how a soft protector that doesnít reduce ROM could be effective reducing impact related injuries. I wonder if a protector that is stiff enough to limit the spineís ROM would increase the risk of neck injuries.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    laus'angeles
    Posts
    334
    I ski with a pack most of the time. But if avy is low (1) or I know I'm just ripping pistes I throw on the protector. I find it comfortable and it keeps me warm. Big velcro belly strap feels kinda like a weight belt and helps with bracing.

    The confusion for impact protection probably comes from the hard plastic ones- motor cross or mtb styles I think. My soft backed poc give no illusions.

    Sent from my M2101K6G using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    844
    Are those who use them skiing without a pack, and/or do people use packs with protectors in them or regard packs as sufficient protection?

    Probably some difference between NA and Europe on this, due to more of the inbounds terrain being controlled in NA. Or am I wrong?

    Myself I tend to ski with a pack inbounds, often even without really being in terrain that warrants it. Suddenly you meet up with someone with a plan, and you'd like to have your avy kit. And for my use a backpack, at least mentaly, provides me with sufficient protection from trees etc.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Fort Collins
    Posts
    625
    Quote Originally Posted by sf View Post
    Are those who use them skiing without a pack, and/or do people use packs with protectors in them or regard packs as sufficient protection?

    Probably some difference between NA and Europe on this, due to more of the inbounds terrain being controlled in NA. Or am I wrong?

    Myself I tend to ski with a pack inbounds, often even without really being in terrain that warrants it. Suddenly you meet up with someone with a plan, and you'd like to have your avy kit. And for my use a backpack, at least mentaly, provides me with sufficient protection from trees etc.
    I have. It's slightly bulky, but doable. FWQ/FWT doesn't allow the built in ones in backpacks as acceptable, so many people competing are doubling up on both. Don't know if I agree with it as they market to SHRED pretty heavily... Feels like they have some investment on forcing standalone back protection on riders.

    Ultimately, I also think safety should be at the discretion of the rider; require a certain level of protection, but if you're encumbering someone there's an argument to be made about how safe that is.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    1,815
    I got one for a comp back in 2017 and discovered that it's quite comfortable. I still pull it out of the closet for those days I know I'm ripping the forest. It gets forgotten. And forests are dangerous. So, why not? Over the last couple of decades I have tumbled in the forest a couple of times. It's terrifying.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    SLC
    Posts
    3,411
    Quote Originally Posted by sf View Post
    Are those who use them skiing without a pack, and/or do people use packs with protectors in them or regard packs as sufficient protection?

    Probably some difference between NA and Europe on this, due to more of the inbounds terrain being controlled in NA. Or am I wrong?

    Myself I tend to ski with a pack inbounds, often even without really being in terrain that warrants it. Suddenly you meet up with someone with a plan, and you'd like to have your avy kit. And for my use a backpack, at least mentaly, provides me with sufficient protection from trees etc.
    I shattered several vertebra (T12-L3) a decade ago in an avalanche operating under the logic that my avy pack with a massive shovel blade would provide some protection. Packs dont cover your lower back down by your tailbone...

    Extreme example, but a real world one.

    Today I still ski with a spine protector inbounds and touring regardless of whether I am wearing a pack ontop of it.

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