|Publication number||US20040250453 A1|
|Application number||US 10/767,882|
|Publication date||Dec 16, 2004|
|Filing date||Jan 28, 2004|
|Priority date||Jan 28, 2003|
|Publication number||10767882, 767882, US 2004/0250453 A1, US 2004/250453 A1, US 20040250453 A1, US 20040250453A1, US 2004250453 A1, US 2004250453A1, US-A1-20040250453, US-A1-2004250453, US2004/0250453A1, US2004/250453A1, US20040250453 A1, US20040250453A1, US2004250453 A1, US2004250453A1|
|Original Assignee||Settelmayer Joseph J.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (21), Referenced by (7), Classifications (11), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 This application is based upon and claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119 from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/443,452 filed Jan. 28, 2003 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety for all purposes.
 The present invention relates generally to snowshoes, and more particularly to snowshoes that may be adjusted to perform differently under varied loads, snow conditions and terrain.
 Snowshoes are widely used to facilitate travel over snow-covered terrain. Snowshoe designs vary considerably, but commonly employ some form of a binding configured to secure the wearer's foot in place. The binding typically is attached to a flotation structure, which distributes weight over an area larger than the wearer's foot to provide the desired flotation effect. The attachment between the binding and flotation structure normally allows for some amount of pivotal motion to occur between the two components. This enables the wearer to walk in a more natural manner than would be possible without the pivoting.
 The ability of a given snowshoe design to provide a desired level of performance depends on a number of factors. One significant factor is the load placed on the shoe. A snowshoe that performs well for a 150-pound user may perform poorly when used by a 200-pound person carrying a 50-pound backpack. Snow quality and terrain are also important factors. For example, the flotation performance of a given snowshoe will diminish with lighter, more powdery snow. Designs well suited for trekking on relatively flat terrain may not be as well suited to rolling terrain or steeper inclines. The particular activity is also important to snowshoe design. Lightweight, small snowshoes typically are preferable for running or jogging on packed snow, while larger shoes are preferred for multi-day backcountry trips where one is likely to encounter variable terrain such as deep powder or steep icy pitches. The pivoting characteristics of the connection between the binding and flotation structure will also affect performance in a given setting.
 Many different snowshoe designs exist, with the vast majority being best suited for a relatively narrow range of uses and/or conditions. More specifically, the flotation and pivot characteristics of most designs are fixed and cannot be adjusted. Thus, while these designs perform adequately in some contexts, users often experience poor performance in other settings. Accordingly, manufacturers tend to produce and sell many different snowshoe models at significant expense in order to provide a product line that covers a wide range of contemplated uses and users.
 Certain snowshoe designs provide some degree of adjustment, allowing performance to be modified by the user of the snowshoe, though the known adjustable designs suffer from various disadvantages. Some of these designs require the wearer to remove the snowshoe and/or operate complex mechanisms in order to make the adjustments. Tools are often required to make the adjustments. Complicated structures and/or mechanisms with multiple moving parts are often employed to provide the adjustment capability, increasing manufacturing costs. In addition to these disadvantages, many of the designs provide only a limited range of adjustment.
 The invention provides snowshoe designs that are easy to use and versatile for adapting to varied snowed conditions and terrain. For example, a snowshoe uses a foot bed pivotally mounted on a rigid frame member with one or more rotation expanses that are adaptable for different purposes.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a snowshoe.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the snowshoe shown in FIG. 1 with replaceable tail portions of different lengths.
FIGS. 3 and 4 are side views of the snowshoe shown in FIG. 1 with the foot bed and heel riser pivoted into different positions.
FIGS. 5 and 6 are cross-sectional views through the deck of the snowshoe shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 7 is a sectional view through a part of the tail portion shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 8 is a partial bottom view of the snowshoe shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a foot bed and strap assembly.
FIGS. 10-12 are partial side views of the strap assembly shown in FIG. 9, illustrating operation of a ratcheting buckle.
FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of snowshoe 20. Rigid frame member 22 includes nose portion 24, lateral support portions 26, 28, and interchangeable tail portion 30. Rigid foot bed 36 is mounted pivotally on pivot bar 38. Pivot bar 38 is secured to lateral support portions 26, 28 of frame member 22. Foot bed 36 is provided with straps 40, 42 and 43. Straps 40 and 42 are configured for fastening around the top side of a person's foot. Strap 43 is designed to wrap around the back of a person's foot or heel. Straps 40 and 42 have a step configuration and a ratcheting buckle so that straps can be easily tightened or released, even with gloves or mittens on. Limiting strap 44 connects rear end of foot bed 36 to a nonpivoting portion of the shoe so that foot bed 36 does not over-rotate. The length of limiting strap 44 may be adjustable.
 Foot bed 36 is also provided with cleat member 46. Cleat member 46 has various spike structures for gripping snow or ice. A similar cleat member is provided under the rear portion of snowshoe 20, as described in more detail below. A front flotation expanse 50 is secured to frame member 22 by ring members 52 and rivets 54. Rear flotation expanse 56 is secured to frame member 22 using screw, bolt, or rivet devices 58 which are discussed in more detail below.
 Heel riser 64 is shown in FIG. 1 in an inoperable position out of the way of a person's heel. Heel riser 64 may be pivoted forward so that its front end moves through aperture 66 in rear flotation expanse 56 to engage a cradle structure defined in the rear cleat member. Serrated metal edges 68 also extend from the rear cleat member up through rear flotation expanse 56 to engage the heel of a person's boot thus enhancing stability of a user's boot on a snowshoe deck.
FIG. 2 shows a top view of the snowshoe of FIG. 1. Heel riser 64 is rotated into its operable position so that snowshoe 20 is rigged for uphill travel. Heel riser 64 boosts the heel making uphill travel easier.
FIG. 2 shows top views of interchangeable tail portions 30 a, 30 b. Tail portion 30 a is more appropriate for travel on hard packed snow. Tail portion 30 b is appropriate for travel in powder because it provides more surface area, i.e., increased flotation. Each tail portion has lateral tubes 70 a, 70 b which are dimensioned to receive end portions 72 of frame member 22. Clip devices 72 a and 72 b make it easy to lock the tail portions into engagement with frame member 22. FIG. 2 also shows the bottom side of long tail portion 30 b. Scales 73 are formed on the bottom side of tail portion 30 b to provide resistance to sliding forward and backward. This aspect of the invention is discussed further below with respect to FIG. 7.
FIGS. 3 and 4 show sectional views through the snowshoe shown in FIG. 2. In FIG. 3, foot bed 36 is substantially flat or parallel to the main plane of snowshoe 20. In contrast, FIG. 4 shows bed 36 pivoted forward around pivot bar or axle 38. Pivoting motion of foot bed 36 is limited by limiting strap 44. The range of pivotal motion of foot bed 36 permits the wearer to use a relatively normal walking form while the main expanse of shoe 20 remains substantially parallel to the snow surface.
 In FIG. 3, heel riser 64 is pivoted into its operable position for travel uphill. A leading edge or bar portion of heel riser 64 engages cradle structure 92 formed in rear cleat structure 90. FIG. 4 shows heel riser 64 pivoted back into its inoperable position when the wearer is walking on flat or downhill terrain. Cleat structure 90 has multiple spikes 94, preferably all formed from a single sheet of metal that is stamped and then bent into the desired cleat configuration. Similarly, front cleat structure 46 has multiple spikes 96 which are all formed from the same sheet of metal that is stamped and then bent into the desired cleat configuration.
FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate a feature of snowshoe 20 which allows a controlled degree of flexibility in rear flotation expanse 56. This feature helps prevent snow and ice from building up and/or caking on the bottom of the snowshoe. Frame member 22 is relatively rigid and inflexible. Rear flotation expanse or deck 56 should be rigid enough to serve as a support platform for the wearer's heel and as the main support structure for rear cleat structure 90. For example, rear flotation expanse 56 may be made of a semi-rigid plastic. As explained previously, rear flotation expanse 56 is anchored to frame member 22 via bolts or rivets 100, as shown in FIG. 5. A low friction spacer or washer 102 is situated between the head of bolt 100 and flotation expanse 56 to minimize friction and permit sliding movement of flotation expanse 56 when pressure is exerted on the expanse from above, for example, from the heel of the wearer. Hole 104 is defined in flotation expanse 56, and is oversized in the lateral direction relative to rivet 100 so that expanse 56 can flex. In FIG. 6 the unflexed position of flotation expanse 56 is shown in dashed lines relative to the flexed position in response to a downward force perpendicular to expanse 56.
FIG. 7 shows a partial cross section through tail portion 30 b of FIG. 2. Scales 73 are provided to resist forward and backward sliding of the shoe relative to the snow surface. Scales 74 are configured to resist backward sliding, while scales 76 are configured to resist forward sliding.
FIG. 8 shows the bottom of snowshoe 20. In particular, the configurations of front cleat structure 46, and rear cleat structure 90 are shown. Front cleat structure 46 has ten spike structures 96 organized around its periphery. Additionally, three small spike structures 110 are provided more centrally. The entire cleat structure 46 is stamped out of sheet metal and then bent or molded into its final form.
 Similarly, rear cleat structure 90 has six peripheral spike structures 94 in a substantially triangular arrangement. Cradle 92 is configured to receive and support a leading portion of heel riser 64 which protrudes through rear flotation expanse 56. Rear cleat structure 90 is formed or stamped from a piece of sheet metal and then bent or molded into its final form.
FIG. 9 shows a preferred strapping system which enables easy and rapid tightening or releasing of the snowshoe from a wearer's foot. As shown, strap 40 is secured or attached to foot bed 36. Ratcheting buckle device 120 includes housing lever portion 122 which is pivotally mounted around axis 124. Toggle 126 projects through an opening in housing lever portion 122, and may be manipulated to allow loosening of strap 40. Step formations 128 are formed in the top surface of strap 40 for interacting with ratcheting buckle device 120.
FIGS. 10-12 show operation of ratcheting buckle device 120. In FIG. 10, ratcheting buckle device 120 engages step formations 128 on strap 40 so that strap 40 is prevented from loosening or releasing from ratcheting buckle device 120. In FIG. 11 toggle 126 has been moved in the direction of arrow 130 which releases buckle engagement of step formations 128, thus permitting strap 40 to move in either direction relative to ratcheting buckle device 120.
FIG. 12 shows housing lever portion 122 used to actuate or tighten strap 40. Movement of housing lever portion 122 in the direction of arrow 132 causes movement of strap 40 in the direction of arrow 134 thus tightening the binding while inhibiting any reverse movement of strap 40.
 While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the foregoing preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that many variations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as variously described and defined above. The description of the invention should be understood to include all novel and non-obvious combinations of elements described herein.
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|EP1949941A1 *||Jan 4, 2008||Jul 30, 2008||TSL Sport Equipment||Device for attaching a boot to a snowshoe|
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|U.S. Classification||36/122, 36/125|
|Cooperative Classification||A63C13/008, A63C13/001, A63C13/006, A63C13/005|
|European Classification||A63C13/00B, A63C13/00W, A63C13/00S, A63C13/00F|
|Jan 24, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WATERMARK PADDLESPORTS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SETTELMAYER, JOSEPH J.;REEL/FRAME:016169/0605
Effective date: 20040809