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Title:
HYDRID SNOWSHOE-SKI
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/106954
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The hybrid snowshoe-ski comprises a rigid frame, a decking attached to the frame and a binding attached to one of the decking and the frame. The decking comprises undulations that each extend between first and second sides of the snowshoe-ski.

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Inventors:
FABER, Guy (4499, Jordi-BonetQuébec, Québec G2A 4G9, G2A 4G9, CA)
Application Number:
CA2015/051380
Publication Date:
June 29, 2017
Filing Date:
December 24, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FABER ET CIE INC. (2923, rue de la FauneQuébec, Québec G2A 3W8, G2A 3W8, CA)
International Classes:
A63C13/00; A43B5/04; A63C9/00; A63C10/00
Foreign References:
US5996259A1999-12-07
CA2617453A12009-07-08
US8925956B12015-01-06
US5809668A1998-09-22
US3861698A1975-01-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARTINEAU, Louis et al. (1440 West, Ste-Catherine St.Office 70, Montréal Québec H3G 1R8, H3G 1R8, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
I CLAIM :

A hybrid snowshoe-ski defining front and rear ends, first and second sides and a topside and an underside, comprising :

• a rigid frame;

• a decking attached to said frame;

• a binding attached to one of said decking and said frame; wherein said decking comprises undulations that each extend between said first and second sides.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 1, wherein said decking comprises a main body and a number of tongue members extending from said main body and peripherally spaced-apart about said main body such that gaps are formed between successive tongue members, with said decking being attached to said frame with said tongue members.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 2, wherein said undulations define apexes oriented towards said topside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski and bottoms oriented towards said underside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski, said decking defining a foot- bearing area on said topside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski for receiving a foot attached to said hybrid snowshoe-ski with said binding, with corresponding gaps being located in alignment with said foot-bearing area for evacuating snow located on said foot-bearing area towards said first and second sides.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 3, wherein said binding is pivotally attached to said decking on one of said apexes located frontwardly of said foot- bearing area.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 4, wherein said apexes of said undulations each extend between a pair of corresponding said tongue members.

6. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 4, wherein said tongue members include attachment loops attached to said frame, said attachment loops being inclined so as to define upper frontward portions oriented towards said apexes and lower rearward portions oriented towards said bottoms.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 4, wherein said apexes of said undulations are aligned with a top portion of said frame and said bottoms of said undulations are aligned with a bottom portion of said frame.

A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 7, wherein said undulations are located frontwardly and underneath said foot-bearing area.

9. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 8, wherein said decking comprises non- undulated portions located between said undulations and said front end of said hybrid snowshoe-ski and between said undulations and said rear end of said hybrid snowshoe-ski, said non-undulated portions being aligned with said bottoms of said undulations.

10. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 10, wherein said foot-bearing area is located approximately midway between said front and rear ends. 11. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 10, wherein said binding pivots entirely above said decking.

12. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 11, wherein said binding comprises a live hinge member with a rigid blocker plate.

13. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 1, wherein said undulations are rounded.

14. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 1, wherein said frame is opened at said rear end.

15. A hybrid snowshoe-ski as defined in claim 1, wherein said decking is semi-rigid.

Description:
TITLE OF THE INVENTION: HYBRID SNOWSHOE-SKI

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present inventions relates to snowshoes that can be also used to slide over snow in a manner similar to skis.

BACKG ROU ND OF THE INVENTION

Hybrid sporting equipment that can be used both as skis and snowshoes is known. Most of the prior art comprises devices that are ski spinoffs intended to be used as both skis and snowshoes. They comprise a rigid hull having a flat underside. The hull is wider and shorter than that usually found on skis to allow the hull to float over snow in the more static snowshoe use; and its flat underside allows the ski-snowshoe to slide over snow like skis.

However, these prior art hybrid devices are both very poor skis and very poor snowshoes. As skis, they are short and wide and their hydrodynamics consequently do not allow efficient sliding over snow.

As snowshoes, the smooth hulls of most of these devices lack gripping action. Also, the rigid hulls are not as efficient as the semi-rigid deckings that most snowshoes have. Further, snowshoes typically include openings on the decking to prevent the snow from accumulating on the decking where the weight of the snow hinders use of the snowshoe since it becomes more difficult to lift during gait; and under the foot where the snow hinders the foot's pivotal movement when the foot pivots down against the decking. The snow is shovelled by the snowshoe itself to land on the snowshoe due to it being cyclically pushed down and out of the snow during gait so snow accumulation on top of the decking is not only frequent, it is inevitable. The rigid, uniform hulls of the prior art devices are devoid of openings that allow the evacuation of snow. Finally, the gripping elements provided on the hulls are often suboptimal, for example in the form of fins that will either not provide suitable gripping for the snowshoe operation, or too much resistance for the ski operation, to work properly. These fins on the underside of the hull may be in the form of one or more thin blades that protrude downwardly away from the hull, that allow a limited gripping action when the foot pushes rearwardly when walking, for example, up a slope. The fins are either retractable to then allow the hull to slide on the snow unhindered when in ski mode, but then manipulation is required to remove the fin. Or, the fins are permanent, and are oriented rearwardly away from the hull, to offer limited resistance to the sliding of the hull when sliding down a slope. Still, the resistance remains important.

SU MMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a hybrid snowshoe-ski defining front and rear ends, first and second sides and a topside and an underside, comprising :

• a rigid frame;

· a decking attached to said frame;

• a binding attached to one of said decking and said frame; wherein said decking comprises undulations that each extend between said first and second sides.

In one embodiment, said decking comprises a main body and a number of tongue members extending from said main body and peripherally spaced-apart about said main body such that gaps are formed between successive tongue members, with said decking being attached to said frame with said tongue members.

In one embodiment, said undulations define apexes oriented towards said topside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski and bottoms oriented towards said underside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski, said decking defining a foot-bearing area on said topside of said hybrid snowshoe-ski for receiving a foot attached to said hybrid snowshoe-ski with said binding, with corresponding gaps being located in alignment with said foot-bearing area for evacuating snow located on said foot-bearing area towards said first and second sides.

In one embodiment, said binding is pivotally attached to said decking on one of said apexes located frontwardly of said foot-bearing area.

In one embodiment, said apexes of said undulations each extend between a pair of corresponding said tongue members.

In one embodiment, said tongue members include attachment loops attached to said frame, said attachment loops being inclined so as to define upper frontward portions oriented towards said apexes and lower rearward portions oriented towards said bottoms.

In one embodiment, apexes of said undulations are aligned with a top portion of said frame and said bottoms of said undulations are aligned with a bottom portion of said frame.

In one embodiment, said undulations are located frontwardly and underneath said foot-bearing area.

In one embodiment, said decking comprises non-undulated portions located between said undulations and said front end of said hybrid snowshoe-ski and between said undulations and said rear end of said hybrid snowshoe-ski, said non-undulated portions being aligned with said bottoms of said undulations.

In one embodiment, said foot-bearing area is located approximately midway between said front and rear ends.

In one embodiment, said binding pivots entirely above said decking. In one embodiment, said binding comprises a live hinge member with a rigid blocker plate.

In one embodiment, said undulations are rounded.

In one embodiment, said frame is opened at said rear end.

In one embodiment, said decking is semi-rigid.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the annexed drawings:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a person shown schematically in outline, using a pair of hybrid snowshoes-skis of the present invention and a pair of poles; Figure 2 is a front, top perspective view of the hybrid snowshoe-ski of figure

1 with the binding pivoted downwards against the decking;

Figure 3 is a rear, top perspective view of the hybrid snowshoe-ski of figure 1 with the binding pivoted upwards away from the decking; Figure 4 is a rear, bottom perspective view of the hybrid snowshoe-ski of figure 1 with the binding pivoted downwards against the decking; and

Figures 5 and 6 are cross-section views taken along lines V-V and VI-VI of figure 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Figure 1 shows a person walking with a pair of hybrid snowshoes-skis 10, 10 according to the present invention and a pair of conventional cross-country ski poles P.

Figures 2-6 show that each hybrid snowshoe-ski 10 defines front and rear ends 10a, 10b spaced along a longitudinal axis 100, first and second sides 10c, lOd spaced along a lateral axis 102 and a topside lOe and an underside lOf spaced along a transversal axis 104.

Snowshoe-ski 10 comprises a rigid frame 12 that is generally U-shaped. Frame 12 comprises a curved front segment 12a at front end 10a and two straight side segments 12b, 12c at first and second sides 10c, lOd. In an alternate embodiment (not shown), frame 12 could be a closed loop and comprise an additional rear segment (not shown) linking both side segments 12b, 12c at the hybrid snowshoe-ski's rear end 10b.

Snowshoe-ski 10 also comprises a semi-rigid decking 14 attached to frame 12 in a manner detailer hereinafter. A binding 16 is pivotally attached to decking 14, although in an alternate embodiment (not shown), binding 16 could be pivotally attached to frame 12 instead. Binding 16 is pivotally attached to one of decking 14 and frame 12 in a manner that allows a user's foot to be pivotally attached to hybrid snowshoe-ski 10 so as to allow the person to walk or slide with hybrid snowshoe-ski 10, as detailed hereinafter.

Decking 14 comprises a main body 18 and a number of tongue members 20 extending from main body 18 and peripherally spaced-apart about main body 18 such that gaps 22 are formed between successive tongue members 20. Decking 14 is attached to frame 12 with tongue members 20.

Tongue members 20 include a number of attachment loops 24, namely eight attachment loops 24, although a different number could also be used. Each attachment loop is integrally formed with main body 18 and extends outwardly therefrom towards frame 12, with frame 12 extending through loops 24. Tongue members 20 further include a number of attachment tabs 26, namely five attachment tabs 26, although a different number could also be used. Each attachment tab 26 is a flat extension of main body 18 that is fixed, e.g. bolted, to the underside of frame 12. One pair of attachment tabs 26 is located rearwardly of attachment loops 24, one pair of attachment tabs 26 is located frontwardly of attachment loops 24 and one attachment tab 26 is located at the front end 10a of snowshoe-ski 10.

A pair of attachment straps 28, 28 are also provided on either side 10c, lOd of snowshoe-ski 10, centrally between attachment loops 24, tensioning and further attaching decking 14 with respect to frame 12. Decking 14 comprises undulations 30 that each extend between first and second sides 10c, lOd of snowshoe-ski 10, parallel to lateral axis 102. More particularly, undulations 30 each define apexes 30a oriented towards topside lOe and extending between a pair of corresponding loop members 24; and bottoms 30b oriented towards the underside lOf of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10. The tongue members 20 that are in the form of attachment loops 24 are inclined and decking 14 is consequently naturally formed so that the top frontward portions of the attachment loops 24 are aligned with the apexes 30a of undulations 30 and the bottom rearward portions of the attachment loops 24 are aligned with the bottoms 30b of undulations 30. Also, openings 22 are longitudinally located between apexes 30a of undulations 30, to allow snow evacuation. Decking 14 defines a foot-bearing area 32 on topside lOe of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10 for receiving the load of a foot attached to said hybrid snowshoe-ski with binding 16, when binding 16 and the foot pivot and rest against decking 14. Foot-bearing area 32 overlies an area of decking 14 that comprises corresponding gaps 22 for evacuating snow located on foot-bearing area 32 towards the first and second sides 10c, lOd of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10. More particularly, as the foot and binding 16 are pivoted towards decking 14, they will contribute to push snow towards the gaps 22 that are aligned with foot-bearing area 32.

As noted above, binding 16 is pivotally attached to decking 14. More precisely, binding 16 is pivotally attached to decking 14 on one of the apexes 30a of the undulations 30 located frontwardly of foot-bearing area 32. Moreover, binding 16 and foot- bearing area 32 are located approximately midway between the front and rear ends 10a, 10b of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10. Undulations 30 are located frontwardly and underneath of foot-bearing area 32, and decking 14 comprises non-undulated portions 34 located between undulations 30 and the front 10a of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10 and between undulations 30 and the rear 10b of hybrid snowshoe-ski 10.

In use, snowshoe-ski 10 can be used to walk as one would with regular snowshoes, and can also be used to slide or glide over snow, as one would with cross- country skis for example. As shown in figure 1, ski poles P are advantageously used to help the user to move forward and maintain balance. Snowshoe-ski 10 is particularly adapted for flat terrain or mild slopes, generally referred to as rolling hill terrain. Snowshoe-ski 10 is close to a snowshoe in its design, and as such descending steep slopes with it, while not impossible, will not necessarily be easy. When walking as with regular snowshoes, the inclined loop members 24 will provide positive gripping action when the user pushes to move forward. Ski poles P will further help to move forward, as will the limited friction of decking 14 on the snow. The surfaces of undulations 30 that are inclined will also help by providing limited gripping action in the snow. When the user wants to slide forward on the snow, the fact that undulations

30 are rounded reduces friction of snowshoe-ski 10 in this sliding action. The inclined orientation of loop members 24 also contributes to minimize resistance to this forward sliding.

In practice, snowshoe-ski 10 will allow the user to both walk and slide cyclically during gait. Indeed, when pushing forward with his foot, the traction of snowshoe- ski 10 obtained through the combined action of inclined tongue members 24, undulations 30 and the limited friction of the decking underside, will allow snowshoe-ski 10 to remain still; while when snowshoe-ski is pulled forward it will not be required to lift snowshoe-ski 10 above ground as with regular snowshoes, instead allowing snowshoe-ski to slide along the snow. This "sliding gait" movement obtained with the present invention is very advantageous.

It is noted that undulations 30 have a height equal to the thickness of frame 12, such that apexes 30a of undulations 30 are aligned with a top portion of frame 12 and bottoms 30b of undulations 30 are aligned with a bottom portion of frame 12; and the non- undulated portions 34 of decking 14 are aligned with the bottoms 30b of undulations 30. This allows the formation of a sliding surface formed by the non-undulated portions 34 of decking 14, the bottom portion of frame 12 and the bottoms 30b of undulations 30. Having binding 16 located on an apex 30a of one undulation 30 also allows the semi-rigid decking 14 to flex in an area that is not the sliding surface of decking 14 and thus not in load-bearing contact - or in very limited load-bearing contact - with the snow.

Front and rear keels 37, 38 are advantageously provided on the lower surface of decking 14, to avoid lateral deportation during use.

In the embodiment shown in the attached drawings, binding 16 pivots entirely above decking 14, i.e there is no toe hole in decking 14 through which the front portion of binding would pivot. This is preferable to avoid the toe portion of the binding to hinder the sliding of snowshoe-ski 10. The hinge member 36 of binding 16 is a live hinge member, i.e. it is a flexible band of fabric that is attached to decking 14 allowing some measure of tilting to the binding for increased comfort and control. The live hinge member includes a rigid blocker plate limiting the pivotal movement of binding 16 to allow the foot and binding to push the snowshoe-ski 10 forward. Other types of bindings and hinge members (not shown) could alternately be used.