US 20040032122 A1
A non-locking boot clip, mountable on a snowboard, is provided. The clip permits a user to quickly, easily, and reversibly stabilize an unbound snowboard boot to the snowboard. The clip comprises a base and a retainer. The retainer is preferably cantilevered over the snowboard for easy clipping and unclipping of a boot to the clip. The clip preferably includes an adhesive layer to permit retrofitting of the clip to an existing snowboard so that the clip may be placed on the snowboard as desired by a user. Alternatively, a combination conventional mount and reversible mounting clip may be used.
1. A clip adapted to be mounted on a snowboard, the clip comprising:
a. a base defining an bottom surface and a top surface, the bottom surface adapted for mounting on a top surface of a snowboard; and
b. a retainer firmly affixed to the snowboard and defining a distal end vertically displaced from the plane of the base.
2. The clip of
3. The clip of
4. The clip of
5. The clip of
6. The clip of
7. The clip of
8. The clip of
9. The clip of
10. The clip of
 The present invention relates generally to a snowboard boot retaining device and, more particularly, to a non-binding boot clip device suitable for use on a snowboard and the like.
 As a new sport, snowboarding is growing dramatically in popularity and participation as well as attracting scores of new boarders. As a result, a large number of new snowboarders are considered beginners, and such beginners find the sport difficult when bound to the ski board using conventional snowboard bindings as known in the art. Such conventional snowboard bindings are even more difficult to use when a beginner's feet are disengaged from the binding system, as required when using a chairlift.
 Typically, upon exiting a chairlift, one encounters a downhill slope with a sharp turn required to clear the landing area for the next chairlift occupants. This poses a significant challenge for the novice snowboarder and often results in unsafe falls, congestion of ski-lifts, and general dissatisfaction of the snowboarder as well as other skiers. In addition, a significant percentage of the snowboard related knee injuries occur due to hyper-rotation of the knee joint secondary to falls while one boot is unbound, as when exiting the chairlift. Currently, no product exists that allows the snowboarder's unbound leg to be quickly, easily, and reversibly coupled to the snowboard when preparing to exit the chairlift, or while on unstable footing.
 The present invention satisfies the need to quickly, easily, and reversibly stabilize an unbound snowboard boot by utilizing a non-locking boot clip apparatus. The prior art teaches various mechanisms for securely binding the boot to the snowboard in a manner that requires some form of interlocking mechanism or multi-strap tensioning system. These systems are designed to function as tightly coupled bindings to be used during active snowboarding. Each of the known snowboard bindings known in the art requires the snowboarder to carefully place the snowboard boot into the interlocking receptacle or strap system while on the flat or stable snow surface. Essential to each of the known bindings is a locking or secure binding system which supports the entire boot and its motion in all directions, and requires some form of user manual intervention to engage or disengage. No known binding exists for a snowboard quick entry and quick exit system that can be engaged and disengaged without the need for hand interaction or a stable footing.
 The present invention is not intended to replace a snowboard's existing binding system, but rather to supplement its use, as shown and described below in greater detail. The present invention, or boot clip device, is attached adjacent to the existing snowboard binding system. Typical use allows the snowboarder to quickly and easily slide his unbound snowboard boot into the boot clip when exiting the chair lift. The user then glides to a safe area with stable footing and slides his boot out of the boot clip. The snowboarder then prepares to attach the unbound boot to the snowboard binding system. One embodiment of the current invention is a simple, one-piece design that is attached to the snowboard via peel and stick adhesive pads, thus allowing for a universal adaptability and quick assembly.
 As described above, the invention solves several current problems and offers several unique solutions. The present invention mainly comprises a substantially rigid, one-piece hook extending above the snowboard, allowing the snowboarder to quickly and easily couple an unbound snowboard boot while on unstable surfaces. This innovation allows safe and efficient chair lift landings for snowboarders. The clip of the present invention is a low cost, simple design that can be mounted and retrofitted to existing snowboards with no special tools or modifications.
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a system for temporarily 25 coupling and uncoupling a snowboarding boot to a snowboard without user interaction other than a simple foot maneuver.
 It is also the object of this invention to supplement existing snowboard boot binding systems and not replace their functionality as a permanent boot binding.
 In summary, the present invention provides a system for rapid coupling and uncoupling of a snowboard boot that can be utilized via a simple foot motion. These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a snowboard with conventional binding systems in place and the clip of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the present invention showing the positioning of the clip of this invention on a snowboard.
FIG. 3 is a side, elevation view of the clip of this invention mounted on a snowboard.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of the invention wherein the boot clip of the invention is mounted in conjunction with, rather than adjacent to, a convention binding on a snowboard.
 As shown in FIG. 1, a typical snowboard configuration consists of a snowboard 10, with two boot bindings 12 situated at the front and back of the snowboard. The bindings 12 are well known in the art and are shown in the drawing figures in simplified form to focus more on the invention. Prior art teaches that the binding mechanism and design may vary, with two principle design concepts, either lock-in bindings that require manual mechanical release or strap-in bindings that require tensioning and relaxation of the binding straps. The present invention does not eliminate the boot bindings 12 known in the art, but rather comprises a clip 14, preferably positioned at the rear of the snowboard, adjacent to the rear binding. The clip 14 may be positioned at other locations on the surface of the snowboard depending on snowboarder foot preference and riding style. As shown in FIG. 1, the clip 14 may be positioned off the centerline of the snowboard and immediately forward of the rear binding of the snowboard, or elsewhere on the snowboard at the preference of the user.
 The clip may also be mounted such that it is integral or layered with an existing boot binding system, and mounted in a fashion such that the binding is installed directly on top of the invention, as shown in FIG. 4. The clip of the present invention may be adapted to each binding product introduced into the marketplace, such that integral or layered mounting is simplified.
 As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the preferred embodiment of the invention comprises two basic components. A base 16 is constructed with an optional adhesive coating 19 on the underside of the base 16, and a non-stick or corrugated upper surface 18. The second component is a retainer 20, which functions to releasably couple the boot to the snowboard and allow limited boot motion. The combination of the non-skid surface, downward tension and lateral stabilization of the boot clip applied to the snowboard boot limits boot motion. Typical use of the invention is initiated by sliding the unbound snowboard boot into the boot retainer and twisting the foot into a comfortable position. Next the snowboarder may apply toe and heel pressure to the snowboard as transmitted by the boot clip.
 The retainer is firmly affixed to the snowboard 10 at one edge of the base 16 or even directly to the snowboard. The retainer further defines a distal end 22 which is not affixed to the board, so that the user may easily slip a boot into the clip. The retainer is formed of a semi-rigid material so that downward pressure is exerted on the user's boot and transferred to the surface 18. Preferably, the retainer defines an arced body 24 in between the mount and the distal end to conform to the shape of a boot.
FIG. 4 illustrates another feature of the invention. Referring first to FIG. 1, the arced body is illustrated as extending generally along the long axis of the snowboard 10. Alternatively, and at the preference of the user, the arced body 24, as shown in FIG. 4, may extend laterally of the longitudinal axis of the snowboard 10. For this reason, the distal end 22 preferably includes a smoothly arcing undersurface to easily receive a boot that is thrust into the clip. Other users may find it easier to thrust the aft boot into the laterally extending clip illustrated in FIG. 1. It should also be appreciated that the clip may be made vertically adjustable to accommodate various sizes of snowboarding boots.
 While this invention has been described as having preferred design, it is understood that it is capable of further modification, uses and adaptations following in general the principle of the invention and including such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which the invention pertains, and as may be applied to the essential features set forth, and fall within the scope of the invention or the limits of the appended claims.