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Fimbulvetr promises a new direction with lightweight thermoplastic snowshoes

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November 6, 2013

Fimbulvetr snowshoes combine a thermoplastic deck with a patented 'all-direction hinge'

Fimbulvetr snowshoes combine a thermoplastic deck with a patented 'all-direction hinge'

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It may look like a big slice of Swiss cheese, but the Fimbulvetr snowshoe is actually a high-end sporting good product from Norway. A series of high-tech components, including a thermoplastic elastomer body and an innovative binding hinge, create a snowshoe that is designed to be light, comfortable and easy to walk in – no matter how nasty the weather.

First there were bent branches. Then there were tubular aluminum frames. Now, plastics and composites are becoming more and more popular in snowshoe construction. Models like the Tubbs Flex and TSL Symbioz come with claims of freer, more comfortable strides.

Fimbulvetr snowshoes use a very specific form of construction to offer more comfortable strides, along with other benefits. The designers selected DuPont Hytrel thermoplastic elastomer for its combination of strength, durability and flexibility. They cut that material into an asymmetrical shape, designed to mimic the foot, and punched a honeycomb pattern in it to cut weight while maintaining torsional strength and flotation. Judging from the photos, the frame also employs a drastically rockered profile, which seems like it could help prevent the tips and deck from sinking into the snow.

The Fimbulvetr has a very curved frame

Fimbulvetr's innovation doesn't end with the frame. The signature feature of the new snowshoe is the patented all-direction hinge. The wave-shaped mechanism doesn't resemble the typical hinge at all, but appears more like a shock absorbing spring. Instead of locking you into an up-down ankle motion, Fimbulvetr's design allows you multi-directional foot movement.

On the snow, the all-direction hinge should have a similar impact to the TSL Symbioz's Hyperflex frame, allowing for freer movement and better grip when cutting across an incline. Traditional rigid snowshoes can feel as nimble as concrete boots at times, and a little extra motion should only improve dexterity. Fimbulvetr also claims the hinge increases the shoe's performance when descending hills.

As all that fancy thermoplastic-construction talk might have suggested, a pair of Fimbulvetrs will not come cheap. The company just started manufacturing its first batch, which are available for a pre-order price of US$500 for customers outside Europe and come in gray, red or black.

The video below provides a closer look at the snowshoe and all-direction hinge.

Source: Fimbulvetr

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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7 Comments

What do snow shoes do other than make you walk down hill that cross country skies don't?

Slowburn
7th November, 2013 @ 11:28 am PST

$600! For the rich only. Have to wait for the $50 Chinese knockoffs

chidrbmt
7th November, 2013 @ 01:20 pm PST

Our Costa Rican winters are a bit less harsh, but I'd still have to wear socks with these :)

wanderkip
7th November, 2013 @ 03:34 pm PST

Slowburn, cross country skis aren't really great at paving their own trail. They excel at going where others have already gone. They also don't do well with deep snow. Also, snowshoes are a lot better in forests, going uphill, and downhill (as you mentioned).

Zaron Gibson
7th November, 2013 @ 05:41 pm PST

Bit pricy for sure!

Bruce Miller
7th November, 2013 @ 06:01 pm PST

And yet no credible climbing ability. These things are a rock in a sock.

It constantly amazes me how people who come from here can suggest such stupid and expensive ways of getting around here.

Their families must have a heap of money.

Slowburn is right. Skis (even NNNBC cross-country variant) for the win.

Mayhem
8th November, 2013 @ 12:30 pm PST

I would love to know how these do in mixed terrain. Here in New England we can go from thigh deep powder, to packed trail, to bullet proof ice all in a couple miles of hiking. The trails can also be steep. I would drop $500 on a good pair of snowshoes if they do the job well. It will take a lot to get me away from my MSRs though.

Jim Brodeur
11th December, 2013 @ 05:00 pm PST
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