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Skizee pushes skiers across the snow

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January 20, 2011

The Skizee is a powered tread that pushes skiers across the snow (Photo: Skizee)

The Skizee is a powered tread that pushes skiers across the snow (Photo: Skizee)

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As winter continues its icy grip on the northern reaches of the planet, cabin fever may cause some of us to rethink our policy of staying indoors until spring. If you don’t live near the mountains, however, many of the winter outdoor activities available to you might seem kind of ... tame. Some people buy snowmobiles, although such vehicles require a truck or trailer for transportation, can be expensive, and are generally “more machine” than a lot of people want. Such individuals might instead be interested in the Skizee – a powered tread that pushes skiers across the snow at speeds of up to 35 kph (22 mph).

At first glance, the Skizee might not seem all that different from the Mattracks powerboard, which is a similar-sized device that users stand on top of and ride like a powered snowboard. Unlike with the powerboard, however, Skizee users stand on their own skis in front of the unit, letting it push them forward with a bar that rests against their butt. Handles that extend forward from either side of that bar allow users to balance themselves, and control the throttle.

It’s essentially the opposite of the idea behind the Boto – a small unmanned jet boat that pulls water skiers, while they pilot it via tow handle-mounted controls.

Skizee inventor Jim Maidment (left) trying out his device (Photo: Skizee)

The aluminum-bodied Skizee fits in the trunk of a car, which is facilitated by the push bar’s ability to fold up against the main device. It’s powered by a 10.5 hp 4-stroke combustion engine, and features an electric start, along with a power core for charging electronic items in the field. It has an estimated range of 35-40 kilometers (22-25 miles) per one-US gallon (3.8 L) tank of gas, depending on use.

If the thought of your local serene cross-country ski trails being invaded by noisy-motored Skizees worries you, it’s hopefully something that’s not all that likely to happen. Skizee inventor Jim Maidment and his business partner Tim Park see their product being used more for taking users deep into the backcountry, essentially taking the place of a snowmobile. Should you want one, however, you’re going to have to wait – Park informed us that they are in the final stages of setting up manufacturing, and that “it will be still a short time until the general public can have one.”

Once the Skizee is available, expect to pay about US$2,500.

Via InventorSpot

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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11 Comments

You have to be kidding! The last thing I want behind me when I'm skiing is a little monster ready to run up my leg when I fall down. Can I be the only person who has this thought?

Wayne Taylor
21st January, 2011 @ 05:04 am PST

Let's see these things work in deep, light powder. And, since it looks like the ski tips go under the snow a bunch, what is to keep that little contraption from running over you if you catch a branch going into the back country. And I think that the folks deep in the backcountry on split- and tele-boards would HATE people who used these things. And what about steep traverses? And do I have to hike back up to get it if I want to bomb down a chute and ski out?

This might work in the flat-lands, but it sounds like a $2.5k hassle for real mountains.

Alan Belardinelli
21st January, 2011 @ 05:17 am PST

I am not sure I want anything with spiked treads PUSHING me anywhere.

rik.warren
21st January, 2011 @ 05:23 am PST

Can't wait to have one of these drive over my back side after a wipeout! That won't hurt at all...

SteveO
21st January, 2011 @ 06:11 am PST

Skizee Face Plant

I think this could be good for search and rescue.

Luddite
21st January, 2011 @ 06:42 am PST

Luddite that was the best video ever!! People look like douches riding these things, and even BIGGER douches falling hahaha!

Rescue wouldn't be hard, thouh. Just backtrack the path from the Skizee and eventually you'll see the person face down and their jacket torn up where the device ran over them :)

AlexBizzar
21st January, 2011 @ 07:18 am PST

I'm no skier but the previous concerns seem perfectly logical to me. Seems extremely limited in it's practicality and safety. Did the inventors do any kind of skier survey as to how many would buy and use this, if available? Did they themselves think about such possible drawbacks? Hope they have good liablility coverage. They'll need it.

Neil Larkins
21st January, 2011 @ 07:30 am PST

Push, instead of pulling? Probably because you'll add more weight to the tracks. If it has a safety stop ie. some circular saws, wouldn't that remedy the problem?

Drifter
21st January, 2011 @ 10:25 am PST

Has applications for accessing back country ridge top ski trails for sunset and home again before dark. I would want to use it like a team of dogs. Being pulled rather than pushed.

onearth1hominid
21st January, 2011 @ 10:46 am PST

Just what if...you run out of gas before you get back home or the thing breaks down way-the-Hell-and-gone. How do you haul it back?

Fred Conwell
22nd January, 2011 @ 09:44 am PST

Why would I not just stay at home and drink cocoa in front of a fire and *not* let that thing *eat* me?

Fred Meyers
27th January, 2011 @ 06:34 pm PST
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