skiing without snow

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skiing without snow

Postby nosnowski » Fri May 04, 2012 9:16 am

Hi everyone,
I live in Australia where as you may know we have rather short snow seasons lasting at best three months and pretty poor quality snow. The situation seems to be getting worse during the past decade which made me think how we could enjoy a bit longer something that at least remotely resembles skiing. I have finally came up with a relatively simple design of skiing device that can carve on dry surface.

I had earlier tried rolling tread based ski and researched many other products such as roller ski, Herb carvers etc. and they do not seem to be anywhere near carving ski in terms of turning and speed control. I spent a few bucks on patent applications and building prototypes but I am not sure if I should risk more funding to make a few more pairs (short series manufacturing is quite expensive). This brief video taken on the day my gear was made, although not very exciting, shows how it works. The front and rear wheels turn in sync on edging. The turning radius can be as short as 1.5m (6feet). I am sourcing larger wheels and will try them on grass. I'll also add brakes to the rear wheel assemblies that engage in sharp turns in order to add safey on steeper slopes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eiSip6J03Q[/youtube]

I have been trying to collect some feedback from skiers around the world and would appreciate your views which would help me make my mind whether I should try taking it further or just stop here and enjoy riding my prototype in preparation for the skiing season. Please let me know if you think that this is something suitable for learning, training, preparing for the snow or just enjoying in summer.
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skiing without snow

Postby lookn4powder » Mon May 14, 2012 6:00 pm

nosnowski wrote:I have finally came up with a relatively simple design of skiing device that can carve on dry surface....I had earlier tried rolling tread based ski and researched many other products such as roller ski, Herb carvers etc. and they do not seem to be anywhere near carving ski in terms of turning and speed control....

I have been trying to collect some feedback from skiers around the world and would appreciate your views which would help me make my mind whether I should try taking it further or just stop here and enjoy riding my prototype in preparation for the skiing season.


You have clearly done a lot of research and put a lot of effort in this. I hope that it's been fun. Back in the 80's some (expert snow skiing) friends spent time on grass skis, which comprised roller platforms with treads attached to their ski boots. They tore up the grass, and these devices only allowed access to gentle slopes. Falls could be bone jarring. If your new devices can sidestep these issues, then they might find a market. If not, then they might be a fad for a while, but they will fail in the long term.

Also, grass skiing was lift served. Today, with insurance companies executing more conservative underwriting policies your system should not require lifts or significant infrastructure.

A new system can be successful, but it will have significant headwinds. But there again, so did snowboards and other great ideas.

Jeff
When encountering a skier, turn. Same goes for a tree.
-2nd Law of Skiing
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby nosnowski » Sat May 19, 2012 8:54 pm

lookn4powder wrote:You have clearly done a lot of research and put a lot of effort in this. I hope that it's been fun. Back in the 80's some (expert snow skiing) friends spent time on grass skis, which comprised roller platforms with treads attached to their ski boots. They tore up the grass, and these devices only allowed access to gentle slopes. Falls could be bone jarring. If your new devices can sidestep these issues, then they might find a market. If not, then they might be a fad for a while, but they will fail in the long term.

Also, grass skiing was lift served. Today, with insurance companies executing more conservative underwriting policies your system should not require lifts or significant infrastructure.

A new system can be successful, but it will have significant headwinds. But there again, so did snowboards and other great ideas.
Jeff


L4P,
thanks for your comments. Interestingly enough I managed to attract some attention of extreme sport enthusiasts who suggested mounting larger pneumatic wheels to make the device usable on a rogher surface which I am currently doing. I am also adding rear wheel brakes that will engage in sharp turns and can probably even induce skidding the same way you can do with a bicycle when you hit your rear brake in the turn. Ultimately, I'd also like to get rid of ski boots and have something that will be similar to snow board bindings and could be used with normal sports shoes. This would allow taking off the skis and walk uphill.

Apart from speed control and manouverability of rolling tread grass skis another serious issue is their high cost of maintenance. I know first hand from people using grass skis that you have to clean them up very often and if you don't they will become very slow and wear out quite quickly. Since in my case I have protected bearings for all the moving parts there is practically no maintenance.
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby nosnowski » Wed May 30, 2012 7:50 am

I got larger wheels mounted which required some changes to the wheel assemblies. I picked the gear up last Sunday and tried going faster and it made a difference. Since it was raining most of the weekend there was too much mud on off road slopes to even try. If it rains again I'll try it on a steeper road. This is becoming real fun

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnjYzLLYwkw
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby EMSC » Wed May 30, 2012 10:39 am

nosnowski,

Can you post some close-up pics of the rig? and maybe a POV style video from boot level side and/or back view as you make your 'turns' ? It's tough to see the details of how it's built or how easy the turns might really be or etc... given how far away from the camera you go.
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby nosnowski » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:02 am

EMSC wrote:nosnowski,
Can you post some close-up pics of the rig? and maybe a POV style video from boot level side and/or back view as you make your 'turns' ? It's tough to see the details of how it's built or how easy the turns might really be or etc... given how far away from the camera you go.


Although, there is patent pending on the device I am reluctant to put any close-ups for the very simple reason that Chinese manufacturers have no respect for our IP laws so you have to take my word for it that it's really easy to do carved turns on it. More precisely, there's a spring mechanism that can be tensioned to make it either harder or easier i.e. like having skis with different turning radius. Initially I had a set of two springs, one soft and the other one hard but yesterday I added a simple screw based mechanism that can adjust tension so I just use one spring. The first video that I posted was with the soft spring. I wanted the "ski" to be really turny especially so I could control the speed and go slow to get some feeling how it all works without testing the hardness of tarmac with my body. The second video where I was going faster was with the harder spring. I'm planning to go to a steeper slope tomorrow and experiment with different spring settings.
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby Marc_C » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:34 am

It would seem that some don't see a need for a patented contraption. This desperate Vermonter thinks regular old skis are just fine:

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-marc
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Re: skiing without snow

Postby nosnowski » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:05 pm

There are a few youtube videos of people skiing on rocks, sand dunes and mud and why not. I have done a bit of racing with cars last Sunday :-D

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dsoDCUD3FI[/youtube]
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