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Title:
BINDING-SKI INTERFACE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2001/070348
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed herein is a binding-ski interface configured and sized to be mounted to a ski. The binding-ski interface comprises a plate member, a pivot assembly and a longitudinal main body. The plate member is fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski. The pivot assembly is pivotably mountable to the top surface of the ski so as to pivot about a first pivot axis generally perpendicular to the top surface of the ski. The longitudinal main body has a top side configured and sized to receive a ski binding and first and second body portions defining a middle area therebetween. The first body portion is so pivotably mounted to the pivot assembly as to pivot about a second pivot axis orthogonal to both the longitudinal axis of the ski and the first pivot axis. The second body portion including a second end and being so connected to said plate member as to move longitudinally and laterally.

Inventors:
Thibault, Frédéric (1213 rue Rouville Ste-Foy, Quebec G1W 3T5, CA)
Application Number:
PCT/CA2001/000394
Publication Date:
September 27, 2001
Filing Date:
March 23, 2001
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Thibault, Frédéric (1213 rue Rouville Ste-Foy, Quebec G1W 3T5, CA)
International Classes:
A63C9/00; (IPC1-7): A63C9/00
Foreign References:
DE19852657A1
EP0914846A2
FR2637192A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dubuc J. H. (Goudreau Gage Dubuc Stock Exchange Tower 800 Place Victoria, Suite 3400 P.O. Box 242 Montréal, Québec H4Z 1E9, CA)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS :
1. A bindingski interface configured and sized to be mounted to a ski having a longitudinal axis and a top surface, said bindingski interface comprising: a plate member fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski; a pivot assembly pivotably mountable to the top surface of the ski so as to pivot about a first pivot axis generally perpendicular to the top surface of the ski; and a longitudinal main body having a top side being configured and sized to receive a ski binding, said longitudinal main body having a first body portion and a second body portion and a middle area therebetween; said first body portion being so pivotably mounted to said pivot assembly as to pivot about a second pivot axis being orthogonal to both the longitudinal axis of the ski and said first pivot axis and second ends and a middle area; said second body portion being so connected to said plate member as to allow longitudinal and lateral movements.
2. A bindingski interface according to claim 1, wherein said longitudinal main body is spaced apart from the ski.
3. A bindingski interface according to claim 1, wherein said plate member includes: a bottom portion fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski; and a top portion mounted to said bottom portion, said bottom portion and said top portion defining a recess therebetween for receiving said second body portion therein.
4. A bindingski interface according to claim 3 wherein said bottom portion includes a guide groove, said second portion includes at least one protrusion compatible with said guide groove, said protrusion being so configured as to enable said second body portion to move about said guide groove.
5. A bindingski interface according to claim 3 wherein said top portion includes a guide groove, said second body portion includes at least one protrusion compatible with said guide groove, said protrusion being so configured as to enable said second portion to move about said guide groove.
6. A bindingski interface according to claim 4, wherein said guide groove is selected from the group consisting of Y shaped configured grooves and Cshaped configured grooves.
7. A bindingski interface according to claim 5, wherein said guide groove is selected from the group consisting of Y shaped configured grooves and Cshaped configured grooves.
8. A bindingski interface according to claim 3 wherein said plate member includes a stopper extending between said top and bottom portion through said recess, said second body portion including an aperture, said stopper extending through said second portion body aperture preventing said second body portion from being disassociated from said plate member.
9. A bindingski interface according to claim 1, wherein said pivot assembly includes : a first pivot member fixedly mounted to the top surface of the ski; a base having an aperture complementary to said pivot member so as to pivot about said pivot member, said pivot member and said base having complementary fastening members preventing said base portion from being disassociated from said pivot member.
10. A bindingski interface according to claim 9, wherein said complementary fastening elements comprise mutually engaging protrusions and shoulders.
11. A bindingski interface according to claim 9, wherein said first portion of said longitudinal main body is hingeably mounted to said pivot assembly so as to as to pivot about a second pivot member coaxial with said second pivot axis.
12. A bindingski interface according to claim 9, wherein said pivot assembly further includes : a body connecting portion adjacent and contiguous to said base, said body connecting portion including an aperture: a second pivot member so pivotally mounted to said body connecting portion aperture, as to pivot about said second axis; said first body portion being so mounted to said second pivot member so as to be pivoted about said second pivot axis.
13. A bindingski interface configured and sized to be mounted to a ski having a longitudinal axis and a top surface, said bindingski interface comprising: a plate member fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski; a pivot assembly pivotably mountable to the top surface of the ski so as to pivot about a first pivot axis generally perpendicular to the top surface of the ski; and a longitudinal main body having a top side being configured and sized to receive a ski binding, said longitudinal main body having a first and second longitudinal ends; said first longitudinal end being so pivotably mounted to said pivot assembly as to pivot about a second pivot axis being orthogonal to both the longitudinal axis of the ski and said first pivot axis and second ends and a middle area; said second longitudinal end being so connected to said plate member as to allow longitudinal and lateral movements.
Description:
TITLE OF THE INVENTION BINDING-SKI INTERFACE FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a binding-ski interface. More specifically, the present invention is concerned with a binding-ski interface mounted to a ski and being longitudinally and laterally movable about the ski.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Alpine skis, such as parabolic skis, typically have an arc in their middle or central portion. This middle portion is upwardly and downwardly bendable. When performing a turn, the ski assumes a downwardly bent position so that the ski assumes a single continuous arc from its tip to its tail. To execute a turn, the ski is placed on its edge and skiers will shift their weight to the turning ski. Thus the ski arc impacts a skier's ability to adequately turn on the ski.

Alpine skis are typically provided with a binding for releasably receiving a ski boot. The binding is rigidly attached to the ski at the central portion thereof. As a result, the central portion of the ski is stiffened under the skier's weight creating what is known as a"flat spot"hence, affecting the skier's performance during turns.

The ski industry has attempted to address this problem by providing a variety of binding-ski interfaces. These binding- ski interfaces are sandwiched between the binding and the ski. The object of these ski binding interfaces is to dissociate the action of the

ski (the upward and downward movement of the central portion) with the ski binding which is rigid, hence, allowing these pieces to independently accomplish their respective tasks at their optimal efficiency without impeding each other.

Some binding-ski interfaces provide elastomeric material between the binding and the ski, this elastomeric material is so deformable by the forces occurring between the ski and the binding so as to decrease some of the rigidity in the central portion and hence, decreasing the effect of the so-called"flat spot".

Other binding-ski interfaces include centrally-mounted devices that are rotationally affixed at the centre of the ski to allow the ends of these devices to slide over the ski. These devices are forced to slide along the surface of the ski and hence, are not completely effective in removing the"flat spot".

Another type of interface provides end-mounted devices which have been found to actually increase the flat spot region of the ski by effectively lengthening the binding region applying pressure further out toward the ends of the ski.

Some interface devices have been designed to slide along the longitudinal axis of the ski, again sliding along the surface of the ski hence, not being completely sufficient.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION The general object of the present invention is therefore to provide an improved binding-ski interface.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION More specifically, in accordance with the present invention, there is provided a binding-ski interface configured and sized to be mounted to a ski having a longitudinal axis and a top surface, said binding-ski interface comprising: a plate member fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski; a pivot assembly pivotably mountable to the top surface of the ski so as to pivot about a first pivot axis generally perpendicular to the top surface of the ski; and a longitudinal main body having a top side being configured and sized to receive a ski binding, said longitudinal main body having a first body portion and a second body portion and a middle area therebetween; said first body portion being so pivotably mounted to said pivot assembly as to pivot about a second pivot axis being orthogonal to both the longitudinal axis of the ski and said first pivot axis and second ends and a middle area; said second body portion being so connected to said plate member as to allow longitudinal and lateral movements.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention there is provided a binding-ski interface configured and sized to be mounted to a ski having a longitudinal axis and a top surface, said binding-ski interface comprising: a plate member fixably mountable to the top surface of the ski; a pivot assembly pivotably mountable to the top surface of the ski so as to pivot about a first pivot axis generally perpendicular to the top surface of the ski; and a longitudinal main body having a top side being configured and sized to receive a ski binding, said longitudinal main body having a first and second longitudinal ends; said first longitudinal end being so pivotably mounted to said pivot assembly as to pivot about a second pivot axis being orthogonal to both the longitudinal axis of the ski and said first pivot axis and second ends and a middle area; said second longitudinal end being so connected to said plate member as to allow longitudinal and lateral movements.

Other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non restrictive description of preferred embodiments thereof, given by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the appended drawings: Figure 1 is a perspective view of a binding-ski interface according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; Figure 2 is an exploded view of the plate member of the binding-ski interface of figure 1; Figure 3a is an exploded perspective view of the pivot assembly of the interface of figure 1; Figure 3b is a sectional view taken along line 3b-3b of figure 1; Figure 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, and 4e are alternative embodiments of the top portion of the plate member of figure 2; Figure 5a is a top plan view of a ski provided with a binding-ski interface according to figure 1; Figures 5b and 5c are side elevation views of the ski of figure 5a in operation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT With reference to the appended drawings a preferred embodiment of the present invention will be herein described.

Figure 1 shows a binding-ski interface 10 mounted to the top surface 11 of a conventional ski 12 having a longitudinal axis X.

It will become obvious to the skilled artisan that the present binding-ski interface 10 may be provided separately from ski 12 and may be mounted by the user to different types of ski 12. Thus, the type of ski used is not relevant to the present invention.

The binding-ski interface 10 includes a longitudinal main body 14, a plate member 16 and a pivot assembly 18.

The longitudinal main body 14, preferably having a generally rectangular configuration, includes a top surface 20 configured to receive a conventional ski binding 21 (as shown in figures 5b and 5c). In this way the binding-ski interface 10 is sandwiched between a ski 12 and a ski binding 21. The longitudinal main body 14 also includes first and second body portions 23 and 25 defining a middle area 27 therebetween. The first and second body portions 23, 25 include first and second longitudinal ends 22,24 respectively. The longitudinal main body 12 is bounded by these first and second ends 22,24 along its longitudinal length. The first body portion 23 is pivotally mounted to the pivot assembly 18 whereas the second body portion 25 is movably mounted to plate member 16. In the embodiment illustrated herein, it is the first longitudinal end 22 which is pivotally mounted to the pivot assembly 18 and the second longitudinal end 24 which is movably mounted to plate member 16 as will be further explained herein.

It is to be understood that the terms"first"and "second"when referring to the longitudinal main body portions 23,25 and the longitudinal ends 22,24 are used herein only as a means to facilitate the present description and are not indicative of the position of the forgoing elements 22,23,24, and 25 on ski 12. Thus, it is within the scope of the present invention that when the present binding-ski interface 10 is mounted to ski 12 either of the first or second ends 22, 24 may be positioned so as to point toward the front or the rear of the ski 12.

Preferably, the longitudinal main body 14 is spaced above the top surface 11 of ski 12. The longitudinal member may also include elastomeric material 13 on its underside 66. It is to be understood that this elastomeric material is also spaced above the top surface of the ski and is provided only to protect the top surface 11 should contact occur.

The pivot assembly 18 is pivotably mounted to the top surface 11 of the ski 12 about a first pivot axis Y which is generally perpendicular to the top surface 11 of the ski.

Preferably and with particular reference to figure 3a, the pivot assembly 18 includes a first pivot member 26 which is fixably mounted to the ski top surface. The pivot assembly 18 further includes a base 28 having an aperture 30 complementary to the first pivot member 26 so as to pivot about this first pivot member 26. In this example the pivot member 28 is a generally circular and flat plate-like member fixed to the ski top surface by fasteners such as screws 32 or the like. Obviously, aperture 30 and first pivot member 26 may be provided in a variety of shapes and sizes known to the skilled artisan for enabling the base portion to pivot about the first pivot axis Y Aperture 30 and first pivot member 26 may be also provided with fastening elements (not shown) such as mutually engaging protrusions and shoulders or any other fastening element known in the art so for preventing their disassociation. Hence, securing the base portion 28 to both the first pivot member 26 which in turn is secured to the ski top surface 11.

The first body portion 23 is pivotably mounted to the pivot assembly 18 so as to pivot about a second pivot axis Z (as shown in figure 1) which is orthogonal to both the ski lingitudinal axis X and the first pivot axis Y.

In the preferred embodiment illustrated herein, the first end 22-is pivotally mounted to the pivot assembly 18 as explained above. Advantageously, the first end 22 is hingeably mounted to the pivot assembly 18 by way of a second pivot member 36.

With reference to figures 3a and 3b, the pivot assembly 18 further includes a body connecting portion 32 for pivotably connecting the first end 22 to the pivot assembly 18. The body connecting portion 32 is contiguous and adjacent to the base portion 28, and includes an aperture 34 (see figure 3b) configured to receive the second pivot member 36. This second pivot member 36 is preferably a hollow longitudinal rod-like member defining a longitudinal aperture 38 and having longitudinal ends 40,42.

The first end 22 is so configured as to be mounted about the body connecting portion 32 so as to be pivoted about the second pivot member 36.

Advantageously, the first end 22 includes a recess 44 complementary to the body connecting portion 32 and defining two similar and opposite link members 46. Link members 46 snugly receive the body connecting portion 32 therebetween. Link members 46 include respective apertures 47 which are collinear with aperture 34 and hence receive respective longitudinal ends 40,42 of the second pivot member 36 therethrough. Fasteners such as screws 48 are fastened through second pivot member aperture 38 in this way, fastening the link members 46 to the body connecting portion 32 while enabling the link members 46 to pivot about the second pivot member ends 40,42.

It is to be understood that a variety of ways of hingeably or pivotably mounting the first end 22 to the pivot assembly may be contemplated by the skilled artisan for enabling the first end 22 to pivot about axis Z (see figure 1) without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As aforementioned, it is within the scope of the present invention that any part of the first body portion 23 (and not only its longitudinal end 22) between the middle area 27 and the longitudinal end 22 may be pivotally mounted to the pivot assembly 18. In this way, the longitudinal end 22 will extend beyond the pivot assembly 18 position with respect to the ski's longitudinal axis X.

Turning back to figures 1 and 2 the plate member 16 is shown including a bottom portion 50 and a top portion 52 mounted thereon. The bottom and top portions 50,52 define a recess 54 therebetween.

This recess 54 may be configured to be an open slot (not shown) for receiving the second portion 25 therethrough in such a way that the second portion may be movably connected to the plate member 16 on any part thereof, from its longitudinal end 24 to near the middle area 27.

In the preferred embodiment illustrated herein, this recess 54 is configured and sized to receive the second end 24 of the longitudinal main body 14 therein.

The bottom portion 50 is fixably mounted to the top surface 11 of the ski 12. This may be provided for example by screws 56 screwed through the top and bottom portions 52,50 into the ski 12.

The top portion 52 is preferably a flat generally rectangular shaped member. The top portion 52 may be contiguous to the bottom portion 50 if the plate member 16 in a one piece mould or alternatively it may be an independent piece secured to the bottom portion by way of screws 56 as shown in figure 1.

Top portion 52 is illustrated as including a standard portion 52 and a friction reducing portion 52b.

The plate member 16 also includes guide grooves 58.

These guide grooves 58 may be formed on either the top portion 52 or the bottom portion 50 or on both portions 52 and 50. In the latter case the top and base portion guide grooves 58 are symmetrical.

The second portion 25 includes protrusions 60 complementary to the guide grooves 58. Protrusions 60 are slidably fitted within grooves 58 to enable the second portion 25 to move about these guide grooves 58. Depending on where these guide grooves 58 are formed, as explained above, the protrusions 60 will be either protruding from the top side 20, the underside (not shown) or both (not shown).

In one preferred embodiment, as illustrated herein, it is the top portion 52 that includes guide grooves 58 and protrusions 60 upwardly protrude from the top side 20 of the second end 24.

With reference to figures 4a to 4e grooves 58 may be provided in a variety of configurations such as a Y-shaped configuration (see figure 4a) or in a variety of C-shaped configurations (see figures 4b to 4e). These grooves 58 in association with protrusions 60 enable the second end 24 to move about the aforementioned groove 58 configurations and therefore allow the longitudinal main body 14 to move in specific ways.

Plate member 16 may also include a stopper 59 which may be a screw 56. The stopper 59 extends between the top and bottom portions 52,50 through the recess 54. The second body portion includes an aperture 51. The stopper 59 extends through this aperture 51 to prevent the second body portion 25 from being disassociated from the plate member 16.

The ability of the longitudinal main body 14 to move its second end 24 about grooves 58 as described above is provided by its connection to the pivot assembly 16. Since the longitudinal main body 14 is connected via its first end 22 to pivot assembly 16 it is pivotable about the first pivot axis Y and the second pivot axis Z. In this way enabling the longitudinal main body 14 to move laterally and longitudinally with respect to the ski 12.

When in use (especially during turns) a ski 12 will tend to bend about its central portion, where binding 21 is positioned, in a downward or an upward direction (see figures 5b and 5c). This deformation will cause the plate member 16 and the pivot assembly 18 to be moved closer or further apart from each other and hence cause the longitudinal main body 14 to move along the longitudinal axis X of the ski 12 and the first body potion to move laterally (see arrows 100 and 102 on figure 5a).

Specifically, in the case when the plate member 16 is positioned toward the front of the ski 12 and the pivot assembly 18 is positioned toward the rear of the ski 12, the longitudinal main body 14 will move toward the front of the ski when the ski bends downward and towards the back when the ski bends upwards.

Again, this longitudinal movement of the longitudinal main body 14 about the ski's longitudinal axis X is enabled by both the pivotable connection of the first end 22 to the pivot assembly 18 and the movable connection of the second end 24 to the plate member 16.

In the specific case described above and with reference to figures 1 and 4a-4e, when the longitudinal main body 14 moves towards the front of the ski the protrusion 60 will slide towards the front of groove 58 as shown by arrows 104 (figure 4c). When the longitudinal main body 14 moves towards the rear of the ski 12 the protrusion 60 will slide towards the back of groove 58 as shown by arrows 106 (figure 4d).

Therefore, when the ski is in an idle position, (i. e. where there is no upward or downward bend, see figure 5b) the present binding-ski interface 10 should be assembled so that when a protrusion 60 is positioned in a groove 58 there is a space in both the front and the rear of the protrusion 60 so that it may either slide upward or downward the groove 58. Hence, the protrusion 58 should not be abutting the top or bottom edge of a groove when in the idle position.

The present binding-ski interface 10 is also capable of lateral movements (as shown in figure 5a).

The lateral movement of the longitudinal main body 14 about the first pivot axis Y is enabled by the connection of the first portion 23 to the pivot assembly 18 which is pivotably mounted to the ski 12 as previously described. The extent of the lateral movement of the longitudinal main body 14 is determined by the movable connection of its second portion 25 to the plate member 16 and particularly by the configuration of the guide grooves 58.

Specifically, the user will be able to pivot the longitudinal main body 14 about the first pivot 26 with a lateral distance determined by the configuration of a guide groove 58. During lateral movement, the protrusion 60 will slide along guide groove 58 towards the left of the right depending on the turn.

When the present binding-ski interface 10 is in use the longitudinal and lateral movements are described hereinabove will occur almost simultaneously and not in two completely isolated stages.

Hence, the resulting movement of the longitudinal main body will be arcuate-like. The guide grooves illustrated herein enable this arcuate- like movement.

Therefore, the present binding-ski interface 10 improves the skier's agility by allowing the boots (not shown) and binding (21) mounted to the top surface 20 of the longitudinal main body 14 to be longitudinally and laterally moveable with respect to the ski 12. The lateral movements allow the skier to turn with greater ease.

Of course, the top portion 52 of the plate member 16 is not necessarily included on both skis. For example, they could allow opposite lateral movements With this binding-ski interface 10 the rigidity of the ski binding 21 does not stiffen the central portion of the ski since the longitudinal main body 14 is spaced above the ski 12 and hence the central portion of the ski can upwardly or downwardly bend beneath the underside 66 of the longitudinal main body 14. Hence, the ski is enabled to be deformed at its central portion without being impeded by the binding as can be seen from figures 5c where arrow 108 indicates forces applied to the ski 12..

The resulting advantageous of the binding-ski interface, such as the spaced apart ski 12 and binding 21 and the lateral and longitudinal movements improve the skier's performance.

The present binding-ski interface 10 may be made from a strong rigid material such as metal rigid plastic or any other suitable material. The type of material used to fabricate the present binding-ski interface 10 is not an essential element of the present invention.

It is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings and described hereinabove. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practised in various ways.

It is also to be understood that the phraseology or terminology used herein is for the purpose of description and not limitation. Hence, although the present invention has been described hereinabove by way of preferred embodiments thereof, it can be modified, without departing from the spirit, scope and nature of the subject invention as defined in the appended claims.