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Title:
BINDING AND SUPPORT ASSEMBLY FOR A SNOW SPORTS BOARD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/075348
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A binding and support assembly for use with snow sports boards includes a front assembly with a knee platform and a rear assembly with a foot/ankle support. Optionally, the rear assembly includes a seat. The front assembly is configured to be mounted to a forward portion of the board and the rear assembly is configured to be mounted to the rearward portion of the board so that the rider can ride the board in a face-forward position with the rider's knees on the knee platform.

Inventors:
THOMPSON, Robert W. (84 Beech Hill Road, Exeter, New Hampshire, 03833, US)
Application Number:
US2017/056491
Publication Date:
April 26, 2018
Filing Date:
October 13, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
YAK BOARD, LLC. (84 Beech Hill Road, Exeter, New Hampshire, 03833, US)
International Classes:
A63C5/03; A63C5/06; B62B13/04; B62B17/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003101554A22003-12-11
Foreign References:
US20060027982A12006-02-09
US20100066042A12010-03-18
US20030038434A12003-02-27
US20050225150A12005-10-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KRUTSINGER, Ross K. (Finch & Maloney PLLC, 50 Commercial StreetSuite 30, Manchester New Hampshire, 03101, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
I claim:

1. A binding and support assembly for use with a snow sports board, the binding and support assembly comprising:

a front assembly configured to be attached to a forward portion of a snow sports board, the front assembly comprising:

a riser; and

a knee platform attached to the riser and constructed to receive a rider's knees thereon; and

a rear assembly configured to be attached to a rearward portion of the snow sports board and configured to support a rider's feet or ankles;

wherein when attached to the snow sports board, the binding and support assembly supports a rider in a face-forward position with knees on the knee platform and feet or ankles supported by the rear assembly.

2. The binding and support assembly of claim 1, wherein the rear assembly comprises:

a base plate attachable to the snow sports board;

a riser tube extending up from the base plate; and

a seat connected to the riser tube and configured to support the rider in a seated position.

3. The binding and support assembly of claim 2, wherein the seat comprises:

a seat post; and

a seat platform attached to an end portion of the seat post;

wherein the seat post is telescopically receivable in the riser tube.

4. The binding and support assembly of claim 3, wherein the seat further comprises side plates extending upward from opposite sides of the seat platform.

5. The binding and support assembly of claim 2, wherein the rear assembly further comprises a stay connected between the base plate and the riser tube, wherein the base plate, the riser tube, and the stay substantially define a triangle.

6. The binding and support assembly of claim 2 further comprising:

a horizontal support bar attached to the rear assembly and spaced above the base plate, wherein the horizontal support bar extends laterally across the snow sports board to support the rider's ankles when the rear assembly is attached to the rearward portion of the snow sports board.

7. The binding and support assembly of claim 6, wherein the horizontal support bar is secured to the stay.

8. The binding and support assembly of any of claim 2, wherein the rear assembly includes a foothold securable to the rearward portion of the snows sports board and configured to engage the rider's feet.

9. The binding and support assembly of claim 8, wherein the foothold is attached to the base plate.

10. The binding and support assembly of claim 8, wherein the foothold is separate from the base plate and the foothold is configured for attachment to the rearward portion of the snow sports board behind the base.

11. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10 further comprising a flexible strap secured to sides of the knee platform and having a length sufficient to be secured over the rider's lower leg to retain the rider on the knee platform.

12. The binding and support assembly of claim 1 1, wherein the flexible strap has a first end portion secured to a first side portion of the knee platform and a second end portion secured to a second side portion of the knee platform.

13. The binding and support assembly of claim 1 1, wherein the flexible strap includes a

releasable strap connector.

14. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10 further comprising an ankle strap secured to the rear assembly and configured to fasten over the rider's ankles.

15. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10, wherein the front assembly further comprises a leg-support portion extending upward from the knee platform.

16. The binding and support assembly of claim 15, wherein the leg-support portion is constructed to contact a front of the rider's thighs when the rider is kneeling on the knee platform.

17. The binding and support assembly of claim 15, wherein the leg-support portion is pivotably attached to the knee platform and movable between (i) an upright position in which the leg- support portion extends generally perpendicular to the knee platform and (ii) a folded position in which the leg support portion extends rearwardly at least in part and defines an angle of less than 90° with the knee platform.

18. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10, wherein the knee platform

includes sidewalls on opposite lateral sides of the knee platform and extending upward therefrom.

19. The binding and support assembly of claim 18, further comprising a knee pad on the knee platform.

20. The binding and support assembly of claim 6 or 7, wherein the horizontal support bar is padded.

21. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 2-10 further comprising a shock absorber connected to the seat.

22. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10, wherein the riser of the front assembly comprises at least one shock absorber.

23. A binding and support assembly for use with a snow sports board, the binding and support assembly comprising:

a front assembly configured to be attached to a forward portion of a snow sports board, the front assembly comprising:

a riser; and

a knee platform attached to the riser and constructed to receive a rider's knees thereon; and

a rear assembly configured to be attached to a rearward portion of the snow sports board and comprising: a base extending up from the rearward portion when the rear assembly is attached to the snow sports board; and

a seat attached to the base and configured to support the rider in a seated position;

wherein when attached to the snow sports board, the binding and support assembly supports a rider in a face-forward position with the rider's knees on the knee platform and feet extending rearward adjacent the rear assembly.

24. The binding and support assembly of claim 23, wherein the base comprises:

a base plate attachable to the snow sports board; and

a riser tube extending up from the base plate;

wherein the seat is connected to the riser tube and configured to support the rider in a seated position.

25. The binding and support assembly of claim 24, wherein the seat comprises:

a seat post; and

a seat platform attached to an end portion of the seat post;

wherein the seat post is telescopically receivable in the riser tube.

26. The binding and support assembly of claim 25 further comprising a shock absorber

connected between the seat and the base.

27. The binding and support assembly of claim 26, wherein the shock absorber is connected between the seat and the base plate.

28. The binding and support assembly of claim 27, wherein the shock absorber is connected to the seat post.

29. The binding and support assembly of claim 24, wherein the riser tube includes a shock absorber.

30. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29 further comprising side plates extending upward from opposite lateral sides of the seat.

31. The binding and support assembly of claim 24, wherein the base further comprises a stay connected between the base plate and the riser tube, wherein the base plate, the riser tube, and the stay define a triangle.

32. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29 or 31 further comprising:

a horizontal support bar attached to the base and spaced above the base plate, wherein the horizontal support bar extends laterally across the snow sports board to support the rider's ankles when the rear assembly is attached to the rearward portion.

33. The binding and support assembly of claim 32, wherein the horizontal support bar is secured to the stay.

34. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29, wherein the rear assembly

includes a foothold securable to the rearward portion of the snows sports board and configured to engage the rider's feet.

35. The binding and support assembly of claim 32 further comprising a foothold attached to the base plate and configured to engage the rider's feet.

36. The binding and support assembly of claim 34, wherein the foothold is separate from the base plate and is configured for attachment to the rearward portion of the snow sports board behind the base.

37. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29 further comprising a flexible strap secured to sides of the knee platform and configured to be secured over the rider's lower leg to retain the rider on the knee platform.

38. The binding and support assembly of claim 37, wherein the flexible strap has a first end portion secured to a first side portion of the knee platform and a second end portion secured to a second side portion of the knee platform.

39. The binding and support assembly of claim 37, wherein the flexible strap includes a

releasable strap connector.

40. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29 further comprising an ankle strap secured to the rear assembly and configured to fasten over the rider's ankles.

41. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29, wherein the front assembly further comprises a leg-support portion extending upward from the knee platform.

42. The binding and support assembly of claim 41, wherein the leg-support portion is

constructed to contact a front of the user's thighs when the user is kneeling on the knee platform.

43. The binding and support assembly of claim 42, wherein the leg-support portion is pivotably attached to the knee support and movable between (i) an upright position in which the leg- support portion extends generally perpendicular to the knee platform and (ii) a folded position in which the leg support portion extends rearwardly at least in part and defines an angle of less than 90° with the knee platform.

44. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29, wherein the knee platform

includes sidewalls on opposite lateral sides of the knee platform and extending upward therefrom.

45. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29 further comprising a knee pad on the knee platform.

46. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 23-29, wherein the riser of the front assembly comprises a shock absorber.

47. The binding and support assembly of any of claims 1-10 or 23-39 further comprising a snow sports board, wherein the front assembly is attached to the forward portion and the rear assembly is attached to the rearward portion.

48. The binding and support assembly of claim 47, wherein the snow sports board is a

snowboard having a length of at least 130 cm.

Description:
BINDING AND SUPPORT ASSEMBLY

FOR A SNOW SPORTS BOARD

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to equipment for snow sports. Specifically, the present disclosure relates to a binding and support assembly for a snow sports board.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Skiing, sledding, and snowboarding are snow sports enjoyed for recreation and competition in many countries around the world. Snowboarding involves descending a snow- covered slope while standing on a snowboard attached to a rider's feet. Snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing, and skiing and was first developed in the United States in the 1960s when a Michigan engineer invented a toy for his kids known as the

"Snurfer." The Snurfer included two skis fastened together side-by-side. A rope attached to one end was used for controlling the board as his kids glided down the hill in a standing position on the board.

[0003] The Snurfer board was the inspiration for what is now known as a snowboard. A Snurfer and skateboarding enthusiast, Tom Sims, built an early version of a snowboard in his school shop class using a piece of wood with carpet glued to the top surface and a sheet of aluminum attached to the bottom surface. Another Snurfer from Vermont, Jake Burton

Carpenter, designed bindings to secure his feet to the Snurfer board, and in the same year, started Burton Snowboards in Vermont. The early Burton snowboards were flexible wooden planks with water ski straps used as footholds. As snowboarding became more popular in the 1970s and 1980s, pioneers of the sport developed new and improved designs for boards and bindings that slowly evolved to contemporary snowboard equipment.

[0004] With ideas related to kayaking and sledding, others have experimented with various ways to travel over snow in a sitting or kneeling position. One appeal of sledding is that the rider is close to the surface of the snow, therefore enhancing the excitement of the sport. Similar to a toboggan, some can traverse loose snow while seated in a kayak. However, since the kayak is designed for water and lacks the edges of a ski or snowboard, a kayak is far easier to control and turn with the aid of a paddle in deep, soft snow or "powder", rather than on packed snow. [0005] US patent application publication no. 2006/0027982 to Smith et al. (2006) discloses a kneeboard device and method of attaching a person to a snowboard deck. The device supports the knees and feet of a person in a kneeling position on a snowboard deck for sliding down a snowy slope. A knee support engages and supports the person's knees above the deck while a foot support supports the person's feet. The knee support and the foot support include straps to attach the person's leg and foot, respectively.

SUMMARY

[0006] The present disclosure is directed to a binding and support assembly for use with a snow sports board. In one example embodiment, the assembly includes a front assembly and a rear assembly. The front assembly is configured to be attached to a forward portion of a snow sports board and includes a riser and a knee platform attached to the riser and constructed to receive a rider's knees thereon. The rear assembly is configured to be attached to a rearward portion of the snow sports board and is configured to support the rider's feet or ankles. When attached to the snow sports board, the binding and support assembly supports the rider in a face- forward position with knees on the knee platform and feet or ankles supported by the rear assembly. For example, the rider can transition between a low kneeling position and a high kneeling position. In some embodiments, the biding and support assembly is sized for an adult human rider, but it can also be sized for a youth rider.

[0007] In another embodiment, the rear assembly comprises a base plate attachable to the snow sports board, a riser tube extending up from the base plate, and a seat connected to the riser tube and configured to support the rider in a seated position. When the seat is included, the rider can further transition to a seated kneeing position in addition to the low kneeling and high kneeling positions.

[0008] In a second example embodiment, the binding and support assembly includes a front assembly configured to be attached to a forward portion of a snow sports board, where the front assembly includes a riser and a knee platform attached to the riser and constructed to receive a rider's knees thereon. A rear assembly is configured to be attached to a rearward portion of the snow sports board and includes a base extending up from the rearward portion when the rear assembly is attached to the snow sports board. A seat is attached to the base and configured to support the rider in a seated position. When attached to the snow sports board, the binding and support assembly supports a rider in a face-forward position with the rider's knees on the knee platform and feet extending rearward adjacent the rear assembly. [0009] In some embodiments, the base includes a base plate attachable to the snow sports board and a riser tube extending up from the base plate, where the seat is connected to the riser tube and configured to support the rider in a seated position. In some embodiments, the base can include a stay connected between the base plate and the riser tube, where the base plate, the riser tube, and the stay substantially define a triangle.

[0010] In embodiments with the seat, the seat can include a seat post, and a seat platform attached to an end portion of the seat post, where the seat post is telescopically receivable in the riser tube. In some embodiments, the seat includes side plates extending upward from opposite sides of the seat platform.

[0011] In any of the above embodiments, the assembly can include a horizontal support bar attached to the base and spaced above the base plate, where the horizontal support bar extends laterally across the snow sports board to support the rider's ankles when the rear assembly is attached to the rearward portion of the snow sports board. In some embodiments, the horizontal support bar is secured to the stay. In some embodiments, the horizontal support bar is padded.

[0012] In any of the above embodiments, the rear assembly can include a foothold securable to the rearward portion of the snows sports board and configured to engage the rider's feet. For example, the foothold is attached to the base plate. In another example, the foothold is separate from the base plate and is configured to be attached to the rearward portion of the snow sports board behind the base.

[0013] In any of the above embodiments, the assembly can include a flexible or semi- flexible strap secured to sides of the knee platform and having a length sufficient to be secured over the rider's lower leg to retain the rider on the knee platform. For example, the strap has a first end portion secured to a first side portion of the knee platform and a second end portion secured to a second side portion of the knee platform. In some embodiments, the flexible strap includes a releasable strap connector.

[0014] In any of the above embodiments, the assembly can include an ankle strap secured to the rear assembly and having a length sufficient to fasten over the rider's ankles.

[0015] In any of the above embodiments, the front support can include a leg-support portion extending upward from the knee platform. For example, the leg-support portion is constructed to contact a front of the user's thighs when the rider is kneeling on the knee platform. In one embodiment, the leg-support portion is pivotably attached to the knee support and movable between (i) an upright position in which the leg-support portion extends generally perpendicular to the knee platform and (ii) a folded position in which the leg support portion extends rearwardly at least in part and defines an angle of less than 90° with the knee platform. For example, in the upright position, the leg-support portion extends up from the knee platform at an angle from 80-100 degrees, from 85-95 degrees, or about 90 degrees.

[0016] In any of the above embodiments, the knee platform can include sidewalls on opposite lateral sides of the knee platform and extending upward therefrom. For example, the assembly can include a knee pad on the knee platform, where the knee pad is retained between the sidewalls.

[0017] In some embodiments, the seat can include a seat post and a seat platform attached to an end portion of the seat post, where the seat post is telescopically receivable in the riser tube.

[0018] In any of the embodiments with the seat, the assembly can include a shock absorber connected between the seat and the base. For example, the shock absorber is connected between the seat and the base plate. In another example, the shock absorber is connected to the seat post. In some embodiments, the riser tube of the base includes a shock absorber.

[0019] In any of the above embodiments, the riser of the front assembly can include one or more shock absorbers. For example, the riser includes a pair of shock absorbers disposed between the deck and the knee support platform.

[0020] In any of the above embodiments, the assembly includes a snow sports board, where the front assembly is attached to the forward portion and the rear assembly is attached to the rearward portion. In some embodiments, the snow sports board is a snowboard or ski having a length of at least 130 cm.

[0021] Numerous configurations and variations will be apparent in light of this disclosure. The features and advantages described herein are not all-inclusive and, in particular, many additional features and advantages will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in view of the drawings, specification, and claims. Moreover, it should be noted that the language used in the specification has been selected principally for readability and instructional purposes and not to limit the scope of the disclosed subject matter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAW INGS

[0022] FIGURE 1 is a front and right-side perspective illustration of a binding and support system of the present disclosure that includes a front assembly with knee support and a rear assembly with seat in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure, where the binding and support assembly mounted to a traditional snowboard.

[0023] FIGURE 2 is a side and top perspective illustration of the binding and support system shown in FIG. 1. [0024] FIGURE 3 is a top and left-side perspective illustration of a front assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0025] FIGURE 4 is a left-side elevational illustration of the front assembly of FIG. 3 showing a riser block and mounting plate in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0026] FIGURE 5 is a top plan illustration of a mounting plate for the front assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0027] FIGURE 6 is a front and left-side perspective illustration of a front assembly, where the front assembly includes a leg-support portion in accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure

[0028] FIGURE 7 is a top and left-side perspective illustration of a rear assembly with a seat in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0029] FIGURE 8 is a front, top, and left-side perspective illustration of a base for the rear assembly that includes a riser tube and stay in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0030] FIGURE 9 is top plan illustration of a first base plate for the rear assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0031] FIGURE 10 is a top plan illustrations of a second mounting plate of the rear assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure

[0032] FIGURE 11 is a top and front perspective view of a seat in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0033] FIGURE 12 is a top plan view of a horizontal support bar with attached ankle cups in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0034] FIGURE 13 is a bottom view of an ankle cup shown in FIG. 12, showing openings for the horizontal support bar.

[0035] FIGURE 14 is a front and left-side perspective view of a rear assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0036] FIGURE 15 illustrates a pole useful in maneuvering a snow sports board equipped with a support and binding assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0037] FIGURE 16 is a side elevational view of a binding and support assembly mounted to a snow sports board, where the assembly includes a seat post extending to the front assembly and a shock absorber extending between the seat post and the base plate of the rear assembly in accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure. [0038] FIGURE 17 is a top plan view of a knee plat form showing an opening for the seat post of FIG. 16 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0039] FIGURE 18 illustrates a side view of a rider using one embodiment of the binding and support assembly and pole in accordance with the present disclosure.

[0040] The figures depict various embodiments of the present disclosure for purposes of illustration only. Numerous variations, configurations, and other embodiments will be apparent from the following detailed discussion.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0041] An appeal of snow kayaking is that the user can replicate the thrill of Whitewater kayaking during the winter months by riding the kayak down hillsides covered in deep snow. Although snow kayaking may be exhilarating in open backcountry terrain, most individuals lack access to the deep snow found in the backcountry. Despite the appeal of the kayak in loose snow, its acceptance on packed snow and its use at ski resorts has been limited in part to the difficulty in controlling the kayak on packed snow. Since the kayak is made of rigid plastic with a hull designed for buoyancy, the kayak skids across packed snow like a sled rather than floating as when in water or deep powder. Since kayaks lack edges that facilitate turns and stops on a snowboard, a kayak is difficult to control on packed snow that is often found at a ski mountain. Also, when using a kayak on packed snow, the impact from bumps and jumps is often painful to the user since the user cannot use the legs and cannot bend effectively at the hips in a sitting position to absorb the impact. In light of these challenges, the use of a kayak on packed snow found at most ski mountains is not enjoyable or is not allowed.

[0042] Skiing and snowboarding are relatively difficult to learn, in part because the ankles, knees and hips are free to move 360 degrees. Riding a snowboard in a kneeling position, eliminates the 360-degree ankle movement and reduces knee movement to one axis (vertical movement), thereby reducing the number of variable movements and simplifying the learning process. To simplify the initial learning curve and to be able to provide an exhilarating experience similar to Whitewater kayaking, some users desire to ride a snowboard or other snow sports board in a kneeling position.

[0043] The Smith et al. kneeboard device discussed above enables users to ride in a face- forward, kneeling position on a board that is better suited for packed snow than is a kayak. However, the Smith et al. device has been found to be inefficient in transferring the user's weight to the board, therefore making control of the board difficult. Specifically, The Smith et al. knee support has a shallow design that is shaped to accept the rider's knees and prevent the rider's knees from sliding forward off the knee support. However, the knee support lacks any additional structure and the rider cannot efficiently transfer weight to the snowboard edges for turning. Also, The Smith et al. system has a toe support designed to receive and maintain the rider's toes on the snowboard, where the toes are in a downward-pointing position. The foot support is not adjustable and much of the rider's weight is applied to the toes and ankle. This type of foot support has been found to be uncomfortable generally, and painful after extended use due to the forces exerted on the rider's feet and ankles. Accordingly, a need exists for an improved binding and support system that allows the rider to ride a snowboard in a forward- facing, kneeling position.

OVERVIEW

[0044] The present disclosure addresses limitations of the prior art by providing a binding and support system for use on a snowboard or other snow sports board. In accordance with some embodiments of the present disclosure, the binding and support system enables the user to ride the snow sports board in a face-forward kneeling position for a different recreational experience compared to skiing or snowboarding. The user's position above the board gives the rider a close interface with the snow surface while also facilitating effective turning and control. Also, riding a snow sports board in kneeling position offers an opportunity for the adaptive community to experience snow sports since standing on skis and snowboards sometimes is not physically possible.

[0045] A rider may also desire to transition between a seated or low kneeling position and an upright or high kneeling position for the purpose of absorbing bumps, maneuvering the board, and transferring weight to the board when turning. Embodiments of the binding and support system of the present disclosure allow the rider to effectively use various kneeling positions, therefore resulting in improved comfort to the rider and control over the snowboard.

[0046] In accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure, a binding and support system includes a knee support assembly and a seat assembly constructed to be mounted to a snowboard with predrilled, threaded holes found on traditional snowboards. In some embodiments, the knee support assembly includes a support plate spaced vertically from the top surface of the board to provide an improved ability to turn the board by transferring weight to the board from an elevated position. Optionally, the knee support assembly is padded for comfort and includes a strap that can be tightened over the user's legs to secure the rider's knees to the support plate. In some embodiments, a seat assembly includes an adjustable foot or ankle support as well as a seat with a seat post. The seat can be vertically positioned above the board to place the user in a comfortable position that is also effective to transfer weight to the edges of the board for turns, while also allowing the user to attain a high-kneeling position as needed. A strap extending around the user's feet or over the user's calves secures the user to the board.

[0047] The binding systems of the present disclosure allow the user to control the direction and speed of the snowboard by shifting his weight along three axes. While riding in a face- forward position, the user may shift in a vertical direction (e.g., a Z-axis) by extending the body up and down between a low-kneeling or seated position and a more upright high-kneeling position. The user also may shift weight along a longitudinal axis (e.g., an X-axis) by leaning forward or backward on the board. The user may further shift weight side to side along a transverse axis perpendicular to the board (e.g., a Y-axis) by leaning left or right.

[0048] Another aspect of the present disclosure is directed to a pole for use with a snow sports board equipped with the binding and support assembly of the present disclosure.

STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

[0049] Embodiments of the present disclosure are illustrated in Figures 1-18. While generally referred to herein as a binding and support assembly for consistency and ease of understanding the present disclosure, the disclosed assembly is not limited to that specific terminology and alternatively can be referred to, for example, as a retaining assembly, a rider assembly, a binding, a support, or other terms. Additionally, while referred to herein as a snow sports board, the disclosure is not limited to that specific terminology and alternatively can be referred to, for example, as a board, a snowboard, a ski, a runner, a deck, a knee board, or other terminology. As will be further appreciated, the particular configuration (e.g., materials, dimensions, etc.) of the binding and support assembly configured as described herein may be varied, for example, depending on whether the target application is for recreational, competition, or specialized uses. Numerous configurations will be apparent in light of this disclosure.

[0050] FIGS. 1-2 illustrate a front, top, and right-side perspective view and a top and leftside perspective view, respectively, of a binding and support assembly 50 shown mounted to a traditional snowboard or board 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. In one embodiment, binding and support assembly 50 includes a front assembly 100 and a rear assembly 200 configured to be secured to board 10. Binding and support assembly 50 is configured to support the rider on board 10 in a kneeling, face-forward position, where the rider's knees/shins are supported by front assembly 100. Rear assembly 200 is configured to support the rider's feet and/or ankles and can include a seat to support the rider in a seated position.

[0051] In embodiments, front assembly 100 and a rear assembly 200 are separate assemblies mounted to board 10 in a spaced-apart relationship, where front assembly 100 is mounted to forward portion 16 forward of midline 24 and rear assembly 200 is mounted to rearward portion 20 rearward of midline 24. For example, front assembly 100 is separate from and spaced from rear assembly 200. With binding and support assembly 50 extending across midline 24, the rider can shift weight forward or backward across midline 24 as needed to control board 10. In other embodiments, front assembly 100 and rear assembly 200 are connected by a common base plate or base structure extending across midline 24.

[0052] Board 10 has a top surface or deck 12, a bottom surface 14, a forward portion 16 with a tip 18, and a rearward portion 20 with a tail 21. The forward portion 16 generally includes portions of board 10 forward of a midline 24 and the rearward portion 20 includes portions of board 10 rearward of midline 24. Board 10 can be configured with edges 22a, 22b extending along the bottom surface at each lateral side. Board 10 can be configured as a freestyle snowboard, a racing snowboard, a ski, or other board 10. For example, board 10 has a length from 130 cm to 180 cm. Other lengths are acceptable. It is contemplated that embodiments of binding and support assembly 100 of the present disclosure may be used with and attached to boards or other vehicles designed to traverse snow, water, sand, ice, dirt, grass, concrete, pavement, or other indoor or outdoor surface.

[0053] In some embodiments, binding and support assembly 100 attaches to deck 12 using fasteners extending through front and rear base plates and into pre-drilled, threaded holes (not visible) in board 10. For example, board 10 is a snowboard configured with threaded holes ready for attachment of snowboard bindings. In other embodiments, deck 12 is modified or prepared specially to receive fasteners in a pre-arranged pattern suited for binding and support assembly 100. For example, holes are drilled and tapped in a pattern that corresponds to fastener openings in components of binding and support assembly 100.

[0054] Referring now to FIGS. 3-4, a top and left-side perspective view and a left-side elevational view show front assembly 100 that includes a knee support 102, a riser 150, and a mounting plate 130 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. In one embodiment, knee support 102 includes a knee platform 106 configured to receive the rider's knees/shins. Knee platform 106 can be a flat plate or can be contoured for the rider's knees. Optionally, knee platform 106 includes sidewalls 108, such as left sidewall 108a and right sidewall 108b. Sidewalls 108 are useful to retain an optional knee pad 118 on knee platform 106. Knee pad 118 is provided for the rider's comfort and may be omitted or modified as desired. Sidewalls 108 also provide a point of attachment for calf strap 110 and a retention cord 111, for example. In one embodiment, a first strap portion 112 is secured to left sidewall 108a and second strap portion 114 is secured to right sidewall 108b. A strap fastener 116 can be used to tighten and retain calf strap 110 secured around the rider's calves. Strap fastener 116 can be secured to sidewall 108 in place of one of strap portions 112, 114. In other embodiments, strap fastener 116 is secured to calf strap 110 between first strap portion 112 and second strap portion 114. For example, strap fastener 116 is a ratchet-type fastener used with calf strap 110 having teeth. In some embodiments, knee support 102 is made of a rigid material, such as aluminum, steel, reinforced composites, fiberglass, or plastic.

[0055] In one embodiment, calf strap 110 includes a rigid plastic strap and buckle to secure the rider's calves to knee platform 106 when descending the ski slope in the kneeling position. Calf strap 110 allows the rider to lift the calf to help turn and stop board 10 by putting it on edge. Calf strap 110 is also useful to attach around one of the rider's heels to secure the rider's boot to knee support 102 without sliding off in the backwards direction when boarding and riding the chairlift. In some embodiments, for example, calf strap 110 is used together with toe clip 123 (shown in FIG. 1) to retain the rider's foot to knee support 102.

[0056] In some embodiments, knee support 102 is secured atop riser 150 to elevate knee support 102 above deck 12 for improved leverage in shifting the rider's weight to edges 22a, 22b of board 10. Riser 150 is used to secure knee support 102 to board 10 and raise the height of the rider above board 10 to provide more leverage to aid in turning by putting the board on edge. In some embodiments, riser 150 is configured to mate with 3-hole and/or 4-hole mounting patterns found on most snowboards available today.

[0057] In one embodiment, riser 150 can be a rectangular block, hollow horizontal tube, one or more vertical post, or other structure that is secured between knee platform 106 and board 10. In some embodiments, riser 150 comprises two or more shock absorbers disposed between deck 12 and knee platform 106. Riser 150 can be directly mounted to board 10 or may be secured to mounting plate 130. An advantage of using mounting plate 130 is that it facilitates longitudinal position adjustments for front assembly 100 along board 10 for riders of different sizes.

Mounting plate 130 also facilitates easy attachment to riser 150 and to board 10 using separate fastener openings. In other embodiments, riser 150 is mounted directly to board 10 or includes mounting plate 130 as a single structure.

[0058] FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of an example mounting plate 130 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. Mounting plate 130 includes four bottom openings 131 recessed in a bottom surface for attachment to a bottom of riser 150. Four top openings 132 are recessed into top surface 133 for securing mounting plate 130 to board 10. Top openings 132 can correspond to a traditional four-hole pattern of snowboards on the market today or can be arranged in some other suitable pattern. Although top and bottom openings 131, 132 are shown as round through-openings with a recess for the fastener head, top and bottom openings 131, 132 can be slots. For example, mounting plate 130 optionally defines one or more slots along its center for adjusting the position of the knee support 102 along the X-axis (forward or backward along the board 10). Other numbers and placements of fastener openings and other configurations will be apparent in view of the present disclosure.

[0059] Referring now to FIGURE 6, a left-side and front perspective view illustrates another embodiment of front assembly 100 that includes a knee support 102 attached to and vertically spaced from board 10 by riser 150. Knee support 102 is generally made of rigid materials, such as plastic, carbon fiber composite, fiberglass, metal, or combinations of these and other materials. Spacers 138 are attached with mounting screws directly to board 10 to provide torsional support with respect to riser assembly 150. Spacers 138 can be constructed of a resilient material to absorb vibration of board 10. In some embodiments, spacers 138 are made of a rubber block or the like, but could also be made of metal, plastic, or other rigid material.

[0060] Knee support 102 includes knee platform 106 that provides a flat or contoured surface upon which the rider places the knees and upper part of the shin. In one embodiment, knee platform 106 extends rearward toward rear assembly 200 and supports a major portion of the user's shin/tibia. In some embodiments, knee platform 106 has sidewalls 108 that extend along its edges to define a U-shape. Sidewalls 108 provide structural support to knee support 102 and aid in preventing twisting from torsional forces. Sidewalls 108 also define a surface against which the user's knee and leg can press while riding. Further, sidewalls 108 provide a point of attachment for a calf strap 110 and other accessories. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, calf strap 110 has first strap portion 112 secured to left sidewall 108a and second strap portion 114 secured to right sidewall 108b, where first and second strap portions 1 12, 114 releasably connect to each other using strap fastener 116. Strap fastener 116 can be, for example, a snap buckle, pair of D-rings, ratchet lever and geared strap, hook-and-loop fastener, or some other suitable fastener. Strap fastener 116 allows the user to adjust the length of calf strap 110 to tighten calf strap 110 over the lower legs to retain the rider on front assembly 100.

[0061] Optionally, knee support 102 includes a front portion 120 that connects to and extends between sidewalls 108 of knee platform 106. In one embodiment, front portion 120 is a curved plate or bar that extends around the front of the knee platform 106. In one embodiment, front portion 120 includes rounded corner portions 124 connected by a cross piece 126 extending laterally between them. Front portion 120 optionally includes a leg-support portion 128 that extends upward from crosspiece 126. Leg-support portion 128 is constructed to contact the rider's thighs when the rider leans forward in a high kneeling position. When the rider changes to a high kneeling position with the thighs against leg-support portion 128, the rider may brace against leg-support portion 128 to transfer weight to board 10 and load an edge 22a, 22b of board 10 to initiate turns. In the high kneeling position, the rider is positioned to absorb bumps and impact by bending at the waist and knees. Leg-support portion 128 also allows the rider to assume the high kneeling position without falling forward. Further, moving between the low kneeling position and the high kneeling position allows the user to maintain balance and/or assume a strategic position for traversing certain terrain by pushing forward against board 10 when using a pole, a paddle, or the hands to dig into the snow for propulsion. Leg-support portion 128 also provides some protection to the rider from snow, shrubs, or debris on the mountain.

[0062] In one embodiment, front portion 120 defines a forward toe opening 122 that is positioned vertically between knee platform 106 and front portion 120. Forward toe opening 122 is sized to receive the toe of a boot or shoe. As such, corner portions 124 and cross piece 126 of knee support 102 prevent the rider's knees from sliding forward off knee platform 106 during use. Knee support 102 is also constructed as such to provide a foot hold to allow riders to ride the chairlift with the toe of one of the rider's boots extending through toe opening 122. In other embodiments, toe opening 122 is provided by a toe clip 123 or the like attached to knee platform 106 and positioned to receive the rider's boot. As shown for example in FIG. 1, toe clip 123 similar to those used in bicycling is secured to knee platform 106 and provides toe opening 122.

[0063] In one embodiment, leg-support portion 128 has an adjustable position relative to crosspiece 126. For example, leg-support portion 128 has an adjustable canting device to change the angle between leg-support portion 128 and knee platform 106. As such, the rider can tilt or pivot leg-support portion 128 forward or backward to increase or decrease the intensity of the forward energy transfer and therefore the responsiveness of board 10. Optionally, leg support portion 128 defines openings 129 that may be used for an additional thigh strap extending around the rider's thighs to secure leg-support portion 128 to the rider. This same thigh strap can be used to extend around the rider's lower leg when the rider's toe is in the forward toe opening 122 when riding chairlifts. Openings 129 may also be used as hand holds when the rider is in a kneeling position or when carrying board 10. Openings 129 may further be used to connect a retention cord 111 (shown in FIGS. 3-4) or the like to board 10.

[0064] Crosspiece 126 and leg-support portion 128 may be one monolithic structure with a permanent, fixed position for leg-support portion 128. Alternately, crosspiece 126 and leg- support portion 128 may be a plurality of individual components that are attached together as part of knee support 102. Similarly, knee support 102 can be a single monolithic structure in some embodiments and a group of separate components in other embodiments. Knee platform 106 may have a flat surface or a contoured surface shaped for one's knees. Optionally, knee support 102 is padded for comfort. Optionally, the knee platform 106 includes a short wall, ridge, or partition (not shown) that extends longitudinally along knee platform 106 between the rider's knees.

[0065] In one embodiment, knee support 102 is attached to board 10 with fasteners 104 (e.g., screws) that extend through knee platform 106 and riser 150. In some embodiments, riser 150 is omitted and knee support 102 attaches directly to board 10. In yet other embodiments, riser 150 is formed as part of the knee support 102. In still other embodiments, riser 150 is a separate assembly that is secured to the bottom of the knee platform 106, where attaching knee support 102 to board 10 involves securing knee support 102 and riser 150 as an assembled group to board 10.

[0066] Referring now to FIG. 7, a top and left-side perspective view illustrates rear assembly 200 with foot support 210 and seat 250 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. Rear assembly 200 includes a base 230 that includes a base plate 232 and riser tube 226 attached to base plate 232 and extending upward therefrom. In some embodiments, riser tube 226 extends vertically from base plate 232. In other embodiments, riser tube 226 can extend upward at an angle a of less than 90° as defined between riser tube 226 and board 10 in front of riser tube 226. In some embodiments, a stay 236 extends between base plate 232 and an upper end portion 226a of riser tube 226. For example, stay 236 substantially defines a triangle with riser tube 226 and base plate 232. Stay 236 provides structural support to riser tube 226, especially when rear assembly 200 is equipped with seat 250 constructed to bear weight of the rider. Stay 236 can include a plate, one or more bars, one or more tubes, or other rigid structure(s) between base plate 232 and riser tube 226. Numerous configurations will be apparent in light of the present disclosure.

[0067] In some embodiments, base plate 232 includes one or more plates. For example, base plate includes a first base plate 232a that connects to riser tube 226, stay 236, and post clamp 238 using fasteners extending upward through the bottom of first base plate 232a. A second base plate 232b is secured to board 10 by fasteners extending through a top surface. First base plate 232a can then be secured to second base plate 232b using fasteners extending through first base plate 232a and into second base plate 232b and optionally also extending into board 10. The use of first base plate 232a and second base plate 232b provides an adjustable position of rear assembly 200 along second base plate 232b.

[0068] In one embodiment, riser tube 226 is a hollow tube constructed to receive a seat post 252 of seat 250. For example, riser tube 226 includes a flanged lower end 226b that can be secured to base plate 232 using a post clamp 238 installed around riser tube 226 and attached to base plate 232 with fasteners. For example, riser tube 226 extends upward through the post opening 233 of lower post clamp 238 with the flange engaging the bottom surface of first base plate 232. In one embodiment, post clamp 238 defines a slot 239 to post opening 233, where slot 239 can be drawn together using a fastener to tighten post clamp 238 to riser tube 226. Upper end portion 226a of riser tube 226 similarly can include post clamp 238 for attachment of stay 236. For example, post clamp 238 on upper end portion 226a slidably receives riser tube 226 therethrough and can be tightened on riser tube 226 at a position appropriate to attach to stay 236. In some embodiments, for example, riser tube 226 can be longer than as shown in FIG. 7, where post clamp 238 is positioned towards upper end portion 226a along the length of riser tube 226.

[0069] In some embodiments, riser tube 226 is constructed as a piston or shock absorber with seat post 252. For example, riser tube 226 contains a spring, gas piston, or other resilient and compressible structure disposed between the end of seat post 252 and lower end 226b of riser tube or base plate 232.

[0070] Horizontal support bar 214 is attached to base 230 and extends laterally with left end portion 214a and right end portion 214b positioned to support the rider's feet/ankles. Horizontal support bar 214 can be secured to stay 236 or to riser tube 226. Optionally, horizontal support bar 214 is omitted and replaced by angled footholds 215 (shown in FIG. 18) attached to board 10 or to base plate 232. In yet other embodiments, foot supports or footholds 215 can be used in addition to horizontal support bar 214. For example, rear assembly 200 includes footholds in the shape of a wedge, a strap, a block, tred, or other structure that provides purchase for the rider's feet in the kneeling or sitting position.

[0071] In some embodiments, ankle strap 216 is connected to left end portion 214a and right end portion 214b of horizontal support bar 214. Ankle strap 216 can be used to releasably hold the rider's feet or ankles against horizontal support bar 214 and/or maintain the rider's toes against the board 10. The rider can also use ankle strap 216 and calf strap 110 (shown in FIGS. 1-4) to lift part of board 10 (e.g., one edge 22) from the snow as the rider leans to one side or the other.

[0072] Referring now to FIG. 8, a top, front, and left-side perspective view shows base 230 of FIG. 7. Riser tube 226 extends up from base plate 232 and is secured by lower post clamp 238b. Lower post clamp 238b is fixed to base plate 232 by fasteners 240 extending up through base plate 232 into lower post clamp 238b. Base plate defines recessed mounting openings 241 Stay 236 is attached between base plate 232 and upper post clamp 238a using fasteners. Stay 236 defines a plurality of mounting openings 241 for attachment of horizontal support bar 214 with an adjustable vertical position. Stay also defines an access opening 242 to facilitate access to fasteners secured through mounting openings 241. [0073] FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate top plan views of first base plate 232a and second base plate 232b, respectively. First base plate 232a defines mounting openings 241 recessed into a top surface and corresponding to openings 243 in second base plate 232b. Openings 244, 245 are recessed into a bottom surface and correspond to lower post clamp 238b and to stay 236, respectively. Second base plate 232b defines a plurality of openings 246 recessed into a top surface for securing second base plate 232b to board 10. Based on the rider's height, first and second base plates 232a, 232b may be secured to board 10 and to each other as needed to provide spacing from front assembly 100 suitable to the rider.

[0074] Referring now to FIG. 11, a top and front perspective view illustrates seat 250 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. Seat 250 includes a seat platform 254 secured to seat post 252, where seat platform 254 is constructed to support the rider in a sitting position. Seat platform 254 can be flat or contoured for comfort. Optionally, seat platform 254 is padded. In some embodiments, seat platform 254 includes side plates 256 extending up to provide a lateral restraint for the rider's hips. Side plates 256 also can facilitate transferring the rider's weight to board 10 for initiating turns. Seat post 252 has a length suitable to support the rider in a seated position. Seat post 252 is received in riser tube 226. In some embodiments, the height of seat platform 254 above board 10 is adjustable by changing the length of seat post 252 received in riser tube 226 and using upper post clamp 238 to secure its position. In one embodiment, seat platform 254 is tilted forward (also shown in FIG. 2) consistent with the position and angle of the rider in a forward-facing, kneeling position.

[0075] Referring now to FIGS. 12 and 13, top and bottom views, respectively, illustrate ankle cups 270 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. FIG. 12 shows a pair of ankle cups 270 attached to horizontal support bar 214. Fasteners 271 extend through horizontal support bar 214 for attachment to stay 236 or other component of base 230. FIG. 13 shows a bottom view of ankle cup 270 with openings 272 for horizontal support bar 214. In one embodiment, horizontal support bar 214 extends through openings 272. As such, ankle cups 270 are secured, yet can rotate as needed to align with the rider's ankle.

[0076] Referring now to FIG. 14, a front and left-side perspective view illustrates another embodiment of rear assembly 200 in accordance with the present disclosure. In this

embodiment, seat 250 is omitted and foot support 210 includes an adjustable vertical tube 212 connected to a horizontal support bar 214in a T shape. Vertical tube 212 is slidably received in riser tube 226. For example, rear assembly 200 includes footholds 215 (shown in FIG. 18). In another example, rear assembly 200 includes ankle cups 270 as illustrated in FIGS. 12-13. In some embodiments, rear assembly 200 includes both footholds 215 and ankle cups 270 or horizontal support bar 214. In any of these embodiments of rear assembly 200, ankle strap 216 and/or additional strap 218 can be included or excluded.

[0077] As with embodiments discussed above, riser tube 226 extends vertically from base 230 configured to be attached to rearward portion 20 of board 10. In this embodiment, base 230 includes base plate 232 and a gasket or interface plate 234 disposed against board 10. Interface plate 234 can be made of resilient or rigid materials including rubber, plastic, and metal.

[0078] Horizontal support bar 214 is spaced vertically above board 10. Riser tube 226 is secured to base plate 232 using lower post clamp 238b, which is also secured to base plate 232. In other embodiments, vertical tube 212 is fixedly attached to horizontal support bar 214, such as by welding. In other embodiments, horizontal support bar 214 extends through the vertical tube 212 with its position secured by fasteners.

[0079] In one embodiment, the distance above board 10 is adjustable by telescoping vertical tube 212 into or out of riser tube 226 and locking its position using upper post clamp 238a, fasteners, or other suitable structure. Some riders may prefer to raise horizontal support bar 214 so that the toes do not touch the board 10, thereby putting the rider's weight on the heel & ankles instead of the toes. Other riders may want to have the toes touching the snowboard so that the rider can push off or brace with the toes to help the rider control the snowboard and shift weight.

[0080] Ankle strap 216 is connected to opposite ends of horizontal support bar 214 for securing the rider's feet and ankles to rear assembly 200. An optional second strap 218 is oriented approximately 90° to ankle strap 216 as viewed from the side and also connects to and extends between opposite ends of the horizontal support bar 214. In one example, ankle strap 216 can be secured around the bottom of the rider's boots and second strap 218 can be secured around the rider's waist or legs. Numerous variations, configurations, and other embodiments will be apparent from the present disclosure.

[0081] Referring now to FIG. 15, a pole 300 is illustrated in accordance with an

embodiment of the present disclosure. Pole 300 extends longitudinally from a first end portion 302 to a second end portion 304. In other embodiments, each end portion 302, 304 defines a notch or tip 303 to engage the snow. For example, pole 300 has a tip 303 extending axially from each end portion 302, 304 to engage packed snow. Optionally, each tip 303 includes a basket to prevent tip 303 from extending too far into the snow and to reduce the likelihood of pole 300 freely sliding down a slope. Optionally end portions 302, 304 may include paddle blades so that a two-bladed paddle can be used in powder, to paddle across flat terrain, or to assist in steering and balance. Pole 300 can be made of carbon fiber composite, PVC, fiberglass, aluminum, steel, or other suitable material. In one embodiment, pole 300 has an outer diameter from about 30 mm to 35 mm and a length of about 1.4 m to 1.7 m. Other diameters and lengths are acceptable.

[0082] Referring now to FIG. 16, a side elevational view shows an example of binding and support assembly 50 in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present disclosure. As with embodiments discussed above, front assembly 100 includes knee support 102 on riser 150 secured to forward portion 16 of board 10. Rear assembly 200 includes base plate 232 with vertical tube 212 extending to horizontal support bar 214. Seat post 252 of seat 250 extends forward to riser 150 of front assembly 100 and is pivotably attached. Although seat post 252 is illustrates as having a concave curvature, seat post 252 can alternately be straight or have a convex curvature. In one example, seat post 252 has a concave curvature to provide additional clearance for a chairlift seat to fit below seat 250.

[0083] In one embodiment, seat post 252 connects to and rotates about a shaft 151 extending laterally through riser 150. Stay 236 extends from seat post 252 rearward and downward to base plate 232 of rear assembly 200. Stay 236 can be constructed to include a shock absorber 280 extending between seat 250 (or seat post 252) and base 230. In some embodiments, stay 236 has an adjustable length to raise or lower seat 250 from board 10. Additionally, shock absorber 280 can be adjusted for a softer or stiffer ride. In some embodiments as shown in FIG. 17, for example, knee platform 106 can be modified to define an opening 103 for clearance of seat post 252 as seat 250 pivots up and down. In some embodiments, seat 250 includes side plates 256 (shown in FIG. 11). In some embodiments, a waist strap or seatbelt (not shown) can be used with seat 250 to retain the rider to the seat. Such an embodiment can be particularly useful for disabled riders. Although not shown in FIG. 16, front assembly 100 and rear assembly 200 can include calf strap 110, ankle strap 216, ankle cups 270, and other components discussed herein. Optional footholds 215 (shown in FIG. 18) can be attached to rearward portion 20 of board 10. Footholds 215 can be separate from rear assembly 200. In other embodiments, footholds 215 can be secured to base plate 232.

[0084] FIG. 18 illustrates a side view of an example of a rider 400 using binding and support assembly 50 with board 10 and pole 300 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure, where the rider is in a forward-facing, kneeling and seated position. Rider 400 has knees 402 on front assembly 100 and secured with calf strap 110 extending over the rider's calves. The rider's ankles 404 are supported by rear assembly 200 and secured with ankle strap 216. The rider's feet 406 are positioned against footholds 215. The rider 400 is seated on seat 250, which includes a shock absorber 280. The rider 400 uses pole 300 for balance and to assist in navigating terrain. With binding and support assembly 50 installed across the midline 24 (shown in FIGS. 1-2) of board 10, the rider's center of gravity may be shifted behind, even with, or forward of midline 24 to transfer weight longitudinally along board 10. The rider can shift weight laterally, such as by leaning, to set board 10 on an edge 22a, 22b to initiate turns.

[0085] In use, the rider places his knees on the knee support 102 of front assembly 100 and rests his feet/ankles on the rear assembly 200, such as on horizontal support bar 214. After securing straps 110, 216 to hold the rider firmly to the board 10, the rider may shift between a low kneeling and/or seated position and a high kneeling position. In embodiments with the leg- support portion 128, the rider can press forward against the leg-support portion 128, tilt to either side, or lean backward to maneuver the board 10. In embodiments equipped with seat 250, the rider may ride in a seated position (shown, e.g., in FIG. 18) with the knees on front assembly 100. With seat 250, the rider can transition between a seated position, a low kneeling position, and a high kneeling position as needed to traverse terrain and absorb bumps. Optionally, the user can employ pole 300 for improved balance and to facilitate turning by dragging or pushing pole 300 against the snow.

[0086] When riding a chairlift, for example, the rider can use toe opening 122 to attach board 10 to the rider's foot. For example, the rider completely un-clips from binding and support assembly 50 (both front assembly 100 and rear assembly 200), stands up, and slides the toe of one boot through the forward toe opening 122 on knee support 102. The toe clip 123 or toe opening 122 in front portion 120 will hold the rider's foot from moving forward or upward. Calf strap 110 can be fastened around the heel of the rider's boot to secure the boot to front assembly 100 (and therefore the board 10). With front assembly 100 holding the rider's foot forward in toe opening 122, the rider can ride a chairlift in the same manner as done with a traditional snowboard binding where the rider's front foot being secured to the snowboard by the front binding.

[0087] The foregoing description of example embodiments has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the present disclosure to the precise forms disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of this disclosure. It is intended that the scope of the present disclosure be limited not by this detailed description, but rather by the claims appended hereto. Future-filed applications claiming priority to this application may claim the disclosed subject matter in a different manner and generally may include any set of one or more limitations as variously disclosed or otherwise demonstrated herein.