Ski Retriever tracks down lost skis better than a St. Bernard
The Ski Retriever system sees homing tags placed on the skis so they can be tracked
We're not aware of lost skis being a huge problem, but the folks at Washington state-based company Ski Retriever have obviously faced that problem often enough to go to the trouble of developing a solution. The Ski Retriever is a homing system for lost skis that involves attaching homing tabs to your skis or snowboard and using the radio-based, handheld device to track them down should you misplace them. Less time spent digging fruitlessly through the snow means more time skiing the mountain.
"Have you heard of anyone losing their ski or seen a skier digging for their ski while their friends are lapping them?" Ski Retriever president and founder Anthony Kolb asked us. "I am sure you have heard the saying 'no friends on a powder day'. Well, that was until now. Ski Retriever is your only friend on a powder day."
Ski Retriever is designed to track down buried skis and get you back out there lapping the lifts with your friends. It works simply enough: A homing tag attaches to each of your skis and the radio-based receiver unit picks up their signal when you're looking for them. When you get close to your skis, you'll be prompted with the unit's LED lights and audio cues. Skis found, powder conquest engaged. The system works at distances up to 400 feet (122 m), though conditions like weather, terrain and depth of burial can cut that figure down.
The system could presumably help you find your skis in the event of theft, as well. Of course, given the limited range, that would only work if the thief hadn't gotten too far.
Buried skis could definitely make for a frustrating problem - not only is there an abundance of deep, fresh snow but you don't have your damn skis to ski any of it. Personally, we wonder whether it's a problem that happens very often. We can think of a lot of things that people tend to lose on a regular basis: keys, remote controls and mobile phones come to mind immediately - essentially small, everyday items. What doesn't come to mind is skis. When it comes to tall, expensive gear, you tend to remember exactly where you put it. If your skis fall down in the snow, a little old fashioned digging should suffice.
Regardless of what we think, the makers of Ski Retriever seem to think there's a need for this very device. Kolb claims that the system has had a positive response since being introduced at the SIA Snow Show in January. It's available in around 40 locations concentrated in the American west, with plans of a big expansion for the 2012/2013 ski season. The system retails for US$160 and $98 for additional homing tags to use on additional pairs of skis.
About the Author
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
If you coil about ten feet of 100lbs test line into an empty prescription bottle leaving both ends sticking out tie one end to the binding and the other around your ankle tape the bottle to your boot. repeat for the other ski and no lost skis.
Chris, the answer is yes, losing skis does happen. It's definitely more of an issue skiing in the west where there is deep snow and in a fall a ski can travel quite a distance under the snow. The solution up now is to use powder leashes of some sort. Most people skiing in resort don't use them, but I'd be willing to bet that anyone who has spent a bunch of time searching for a lost ski, or lost a ski altogether probably wishes they had. Probably the same people who would appreciate this product.
The bigger problem, I suspect, is one the developer is too polite to mention. That bigger problem? Stolen skis.
This could also be used to locate a skier buried in an avalanche.
Why not just slap a GPS transmitter/receiver unit on them also , that way you can find right where they are even if they are in another state or country as the airlines tend to ship things to the wrong destinations.
The skis could be programmed with their own I.D. number just like a Low Jack system does for a car.
They only need to be able to receive and send a signal to any satellite to find them .
I think something like this for car keys, glasses and remote controls might sell larger volumes.
Sure, there are less expensive ways to find your skis when they come off in deep snow but if you have ever tried powder cords or fishing line the hassle factor quickly relegates them back into your pocket or garbage can.
GPS is a great idea for theft but for finding the spot to dig in the snow can leave you frustrated and exhausted. GPS can get you to within 8ft or so at best. That's still quite a bit of digging when you would rather spend your energy making turns. RFID can pin point your lost item within a few inches so you spend less time digging and more time skiing.
There are many other applications and we are constantly looking for those new ideas so please come "like" us on Facebook. If you would like to check out a Ski Retriever, try your local ski shop or skiretriever.com .
Be safe out there!
Loc8tor + bags and screws = twice price?
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