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Publication numberUS3120385 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 4, 1964
Filing dateMar 1, 1961
Priority dateJun 17, 1960
Also published asUS3047291
Publication numberUS 3120385 A, US 3120385A, US-A-3120385, US3120385 A, US3120385A
InventorsRaymond L Hall
Original AssigneeCyril Farny, Christopher H Farny, David H Farny, Michael H Farny, Charles L Saunders Jr
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ski practice device
US 3120385 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb.v 4, 1964 R. l.. HALL SKI PRACTICE DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March l, 1961 Q -T rl o r Wl M Q Q. 0 o

S um Feb. 4, 1964 R, HALL 3,120,385

SKI PRACTICE DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March l, 1961 IN V EN TOR.

United States Patent SKI PRAC'HCE DEVECE Raymond L. Hall, Morris Plains, NJ. (111 Clinton Road, Caldwell, NJJ, assignor, by direct and mesne assignments, of twenty-four and eight tenths percent to Cyril Farny, Morris Piains, NJ., and six and three tenths percent each to Christopher H. Farny, David H. Fai-ny, Michael H. Farny, and Charles IJ. Saunders, .'lr.

Filed Mar. 1, 1961, Ser. No. 92,495 Ciaims. (Cl. 272-565) This invention relates to a means for testing a skiers skill on a dry skiable surface such as that shown in the application of Raymond L. Hall, Serial No. 67,279, led November 4, 1960, now Patent 3,047,291.

One purpose of the present invention is a method of staging a slalom race on a dry skiable surface.

Another purpose is a game to be played on a dry skiable surface in which a skiers performance in following a predetermined path may be judged or scored.

Another purpose is a game of the type described in which each skier carries means for indicating When he passes predetermined locations on the ski slope.

Another purpose is a game of the type described including means for automatically indicating when a skier passes predetermined locations on a moving ski slope.

Another purpose is -a dry skiable surface of the type disclosed in the above application including means for defining a slalom path.

Another purpose is -a movable dry skiable surface including means defining a plurality of generally parallel slalom paths.

Other purposes will appear in the ensuing specification, drawings and claims.

The invention is illustrated diagrammatically in the following drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a perspective of a skiable surface of the type described having means thereon for staging contests of skiing skill,

FIGURE 2 is an enlarged `detailed view illustrating means for indicating when a skier passes a predetermined location on the ski slope,

'FIGURE 3 is an electrical diagram showing means for registering a skiers performance,

yFIGURE 4 is a top plan view of the skiing surface showing a plurality of slalom paths, and

FIGURE 5 is a side View of the surface of FIGURE 4.

In FIGURE l, a ski slope is shown such as that disclosed in my copending application, Serial No. 67,279, tiled Nov. 4, 1960. The ski slope includes a ramp or runoff platform which is positioned at the bottom of a skiable surface 12, to be described in detail hereinafter. An upper platform or safety platform 14 is positioned at the top of the surface 12. Both the platforms 1li and 1li should be covered with the same material as the surface 12 to provide an uninterrupted and continuous skiable surface. The surface 12, which is in the fonn of a continuous belt moving around rollers at each end of a platform o rsupport, may be driven, in an uphill direction, by a suitable motor 15, mounted beneath a platform 17 supporting the surface 12. The motor provides a drive for the belt. Regardless of the number of skiers on the belt, the speed of the belt remains at its setting. The belt may be loose.

As illustrated in FIGURE 1, the surface 12 is sloping so that it more closely resembles a ski trail. The angle of inclination of the slope may be varied by any suitable means, for example, a hydraulic cylinder as shown in FIGURE 5. The entire skiable surface 12 is pivoted, as at 16, thus providing the angle change described. The sides of the skiable surface 12 are formed by walls 18 which are spaced slightly from .the moving surface 12,


as indicated in FIGURE 2, and are stationary. The upper platform 14 similarly has a wall or railing Ztl surrounding it and an accordian-type connection 22 between the Wall 2i? and the walls 18.

The material forming the surface 12 and the surfaces of the platforms 16 and 14 may be a pile fabric. For example, closed loops of nylon may be woven on a backing. Preferably the nylon should be closely spaced and it may be looped or coiled or crimped onto a base which may, for example, be of jute. The strands of nylon may be anchored to the base by a layer of latex which forms a binder for the pile. Preferably the nylon may be made bulkier at the top by the shaping of the loops. Wool pile or loops may also be used, and pile or loops of other material.

It is important that the slope material have a number of important characteristics. The material must be resilient, it must be slippery and it must be exible. In order to increase the flexibility, the supporting surface for the pile fabric, or platform 17, may `be formed of Wood, for example plywood. A steel deck is also satisfactory, for example a surface formed of square tubes or an interlocking steel surface. In any event the surface must, to some degree, be flexible. It is important that Ithe slope material have what is known -as an edging quality so that when the edge of the ski digs into the material, the material is strong enough to support Ithe edge but yet suflciently soft so that the edge may bite or grip the ski slope. In other words, the ski surface material must provide for edge control by the skier.

The surface must be slippery so that the ski will easily slide, as a ski does on snow. 'Ille surface must be resilient so that it will bounce back after the skis have gone by to present the identical surface for the next skier. The surface must also be flexible. In other words, it must be yielding to some extent so as to more closely simulate actual skiing.

To further increase the slipperiness of the ski slope, it is at times advantageous to provide a dry lubricant for the surface, for example boric acid powder is satisfactory. It may be sprinkled on the s'ki slope and the bottom of the skis may also be treated with this material.

The particular skis used on the dry skiable surface herein are important. Plastics formed of tetrauoroethylene, known in the trade as Teon and Rulon, are satisfactory bottoms yfor the skis as they have a coefficient of friction in the range of .12 to .24 and provide suiiicient slipperiness with the pile fabric. The plastic known in the trade as Delrin is also satisfactory. All of these products are self-lubricating and have the necessary slipperiness. The skis may be covered with a bottom layer of one of the plastics described above and may in addition have edges of the same material. As an example of a specific ski, we may have a T efion bottom and Rulon edges.

In order to define a path `for use in running ya slalom race or in playing a ski game, a series of spots 24 may be positioned in defined gates 25 along the surface 12. The spot-s are fixed to the surface such that they move with it, or they may be painted on the surface. Accordingly, the gates 25, which are spaced varying distances from the edges of the surface, define an undulating path for `the skier to follow. Such a path is conventional in slalom races. Whether the skier on the slope is running a regular slalom race or in playing the ski game described herein, both skis must pass through the gates Without touching the spots.

When playing a 'game on the ski surface, the rate of descent of the skier down the slope 12 should be Within limits set prior to his starting the game. Accordingly, it is necessary that he pass through each yslalom gate as it passes by a marker on the edge of the slope. 'The amasar,

markers are indicated at 26 and may be a large spot or colored area on the walls t8. In other words, in playing the ski game, the skier must do more than merely pass through the slalom gates as fast as he can. He must pass through the slalom gates as they in turn pass each of the markers. He must pass through the slalom gate when it is in alignment or in register with a marker. This will provide a greater test of the skiers skill than merely skiing down the slope through the slalom gates as fast as he can.

A light source 28 may be positioned above each marker on the wall and directs a light beam generally downwardly, `as indicated by the dotted line 318. Each boot of a skier using the slope has a reiiector 32 positioned on the outside of the boot such that light from the beam 3G will strike the reflector and be reflected back toward the wall. Although I mention a refiector on only one side of the boot, I may also have a reflector on both sides of each boot. A light-sensitive element 3ft, which may be a photoelectric cell, is positioned below each marker and in general alignment with the marker and with the light source 2S. When a skier passes directly in front of a marker, and is following a path generally parallel to the direction of movement of the slope, lthe light from the source 2S is reflected by a regiector positioned on the skiers boot and activates the photoelectric cell associated with the light source. This will give an indication of the exact moment when a skier passes a marker. In order to determine whether a skier passes through a slalom gate at the same time lie passes a marker, it may be desirable to have a judge positioned adjacent the ski slope. It may `also be possible to use automatic means for indicating this relationship.

FIGURE 3 illustrates one means of registering automatically `when the skier passes each marker. Each photoelectric cell 34 is connected by wires 36 to a relay 3S. When current is supplied to the photoelectric cell, by the refiection operation described above, the relay is activated and will close a pair of contacts fifi. The contacts 4t) are in a circuit with a suitable light or other indicating device 42. A battery 44 provides a common source of voltage for each of the lights 42. As soon as current is supplied by a photoelectric cell, the relay will be operated and will hence close the contacts The light associated with the particular marker will be then lit. Accordingly, it is possible to indicate when a particular marker has been passed. All of the lights or indicating devices may be grouped on a large panel to give an overall indication of the skiers performance. Thus it is possible for spectators to both follow a skiers performance and receive an immediate indication of his potential score. Instead of a light, it is aiso possibie to use an audible device, such as a bell.

FIGURES 4 and 5 show a ski surface of the type described having a pair of spaced slalom paths. A skiable surface 50, which may be formed as described, moves around rollers S2. The rollers mounted in a frame or the like 54, and the whole assemblage is moved up and down by la hydraulic piston or the like 56. As described in FIGURE 1, I may have an upper platform 58 and a lower runoiiE ramp or platform 63.

FIGURE 4, which is an enlarged top view of FIGURE 5, shows a pair of slalom paths 62 and 64. Each of these paths is formed by a. plurality of gates do, the gates being defined by spots or the like 68. The spots 68 are separated approximately 50 inches or so. Each of the slalom paths may be defined by different colored spots, or .the spots may be of a `different shape. Preferably, the spots which move with the belt, are removable so that the run or course may be changed. A spot with adhesive on the bottom is satisfactory. In this connection, the two slalom courses, as shown in the drawings, are substantially identical. This is not necessary, and the courses may be different to provide a handicap or the like.

In one form of the invention, the right hand spot of one gate may be longitudinally aligned with the left hand snot of adiacent gates so that one spot from each gate is in a plane of alignment, indicated at 7G in FIGURE 4. In alignment with each plane "/'tl' is a light source or the like 72 and a light-sensitive element 74. The light source and light-sensitive element are adjacent the ski surface and preferably fixed to the upper and lower platforms at a point slightly above the ski surface. The light source and light-sensitive element may be reversed in position with the source at the bottom. A further modification is to use a single light source which directs a broad beam toward both receiving elements. An additional modification is to have just a light-sensitive clement which would be responsive to movement of the skier through its line of reception.

When a skier follows a slalom path, such as at 62 or 64, he will pass through the light beam as he moves from gate to gate. Each crossing of the beam will interrupt it, and these interruptions may be registered on a scoreboard or the like, for example by a device such as shown in FIGURE 3. As the belt is continuously moving, the number of times a skier breaks the light beam will give an indication of the number of slalom gates he has successfully negotiated in a given interval of ti ne.

To further increase the test of a skiers skill, I may provide penalty lines or the like such as indicated at 76 and 73. The first penalty lines are closest to the slalom paths and a skier incurs a smaller penalty for crossing than he does when crossing penalty line 78.

The use, operation and function of the invention are as follows:

Shown and described herein are means for staging a contest or otherwise for testing a skiers skill on a dry skiable surface. The surfaces 12 and 5t) as well as the surfaces for the platforms preferably are formed of a nylon pile fabric, such as described herein. In order to provide the necessary slipperiness between the skiable surface and the skis, the bottom surface of the skis are preferably coated with a plastic, such as Tefion or Rulon. The details of the surface and the skis are described in the above-mentioned copending application.

The ski slope moves in an uphill direction and is in the form of a continuous belt which moves around rollers at each end of the slope. Positioned on the slope are a plurality of spots which define slalom gates. The gates are spaced varying distances from the sides of the slope so as to define a proper slalom trail or path. Six, eight or ten gates may be positioned on the slope and as the belt moves around, the gates will be continuously presented to the skier as he moves down the slope. I may use one slalom path or more than one on the same slope at the same time. The paths may be equal in difficulty, or they may vary.

In playing the sk-i game, markers are positioned along each side of the ski slope. The game includes passing each of these markers while moving through a slalom gate. In other words, the skier must not merely ski down the slope as fast as he can, but must pace himself and must move through the slalom gates exactly as they pass a marker.

In order to determine when a skier passes a marker an automatic indicating means has been included. It may be necessary to have a judge stand beside the ski slope to etermine if the skier passes through the gate at the same time as he passes the marker. In the alternative, automatic means may be used to give this indication. For example, the spots or .the slalom gates themselves may be pressure-sensitive so that they indicate exactly when a skier passes through the gate. Accordingly, electrical means may be used to coordinate the information from the pressure-sensitive `slalom gate and from the marker as described herein.

The markers as disclosed herein contemplate the use of a light source and a light-sensitive element, for cxample, a photoelectric cell. These two elements may be spaced one above the other on the wall adjacent the marker. In the alternative, the light and light-sensitive element may be on opposite sides of the marker, as indicated in dotted lines in FIGURE 1. Each boot of the skier has a reflector on the outside, or on both sides, so that as the skier moves along a portion of the wall having a marker, the reflector will reiiect light from the light lsource to the light-sensitive element and will accordingly give an indication of when the skier passes by the marker. The markers are positioned on each side or" the moving belt, and accordingly there are reilectors on the outside of each boot.

Although the invention has been described in connection with a light source for the markers, it should be realized that the invention iis not limited thereto. Electric feelers may stick out from the sides of each wall and may be used to give an indication of when a skier passes a predetermined location.

A further means for staging a contest, game, or other test of a skiers skill on the surface described, is the arrangement of FIGURES 4 and 5. Every time a skier moving through a slalom path passes from one gate to another, a light beam Will be interrupted to give an indication of the total number of gates a skier moves through in a given interval of time. In this connection, the speed of the belt is variable, and a skier may call for the speed to be increased or decreased, depending on his skill. An increase in speed would allow the skier to move through more gates in a given interval of time. Normally an attendant will be at each slope to change the speed.

In addition to varying the speed of the slope, the course may be changed by moving the spots 68. The width of the gates may be changed as may relative lateral spacing between gates.

The invention has been generally described -in connection with a game to be played on a dry skiable surface. The invention also includes the performance of a normal slalom race on the moving slope. In this case, a skier would move down the slope and attempt to negotiate the course as rapidly as possible. The skier would call for the slope speed to be increased or decreased after he has started the race. The change in the speed of the slope would allect the skiers speed down the slope.

The invention is not to be limited to slalom-type racing. Any type of skiing may be performed in which it is desired to test and compare the abilities of skiers moving along a predetermined path at a predetermined rate.

Whereas the preferred form of the invention has been shown and described herein, it should be realized that there are many modifications, substitutions and alterations thereto Within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. A device for staging snowless ski races or games including an endless belt having a skiable surface that is flexible, resilient, slippery and yielding, and that is formed and adapted to permit a ski edge to sink therein so as to provide edge control for a skier,

said skiable surface being substantially longer than an average ski length and being of a width suflicient to accommodate more than one skier skiing transversely of said belt,

means for moving said surface in an uphill direction,

means on ysaid surface and movable therewith, establishing a defined ski path,

a plurality of markers adjacent each side of said skiable surface,

and means for indicating when a skier passes adjacent each marker including a light sensitive element for each marker and a source of light for each light sensitive element, movement of the skier past the marker reflecting light from said source to said light sensitive element.

2. The structure of claim l further characterized in that each source of light is positioned adjacent said skiable surface and in spaced relationship to the associated lightsensitive element, and a reflector adapted to be mounted on a skier positioned relative to the skiable surface such that light from said light source hitting said reflector is reflected to said light-sensitive element.

3. The structure of claim 2 further characterized in that said reilector is adapted to be positioned on each boot of a skier using said skiable surface.

4. A device for staging snowless ski races or games including an endless belt having a skiable surface that is flexible, resilient, slippery and yielding, and that is formed and adapted to permit a ski edge to sink therein so as to provide edge control for a skier,

said skiable surface being substantially longer than an average ski length and being of a Width sufficient to accommodate more than one skier skiing transversely of said belt,

means for moving said lsurface in an uphill direction,

a plurality of removable spots arranged in spaced gates to define a slalom path on said surface,

a source of light and a light sensitive element aligned therewith,

said source of light and light sensitive element being adjacent said surface and being generally aligned with the slalom path and the direction of movement of a skier thereon such that when a skier moves from one gate toward another, the light from said source will be interrupted.

5. The structure of claim 4 further characterized by a plurality of removable spots arranged in spaced gates to define a second slalom path on said surface, the left-hand spot of one gate being substantially in longitudinal alignment with the right hand spots of adjacent gates.

References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,251,927 Ermel Aug. l2, 1941 2,852,765 Dumas Sept. 16, 1958 2,908,506 Runton Oct. 13, 1959

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2251927 *Oct 21, 1939Aug 12, 1941Firm Riddell Skislide CompanySlide for sport, amusement, and artistic purposes
US2852765 *Sep 1, 1954Sep 16, 1958American Mach & FoundryFoul detecting and control mechanism
US2908506 *Mar 18, 1957Oct 13, 1959Russell Mfg CoSki or sled runner
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3814417 *Aug 7, 1972Jun 4, 1974Mogul Leisure Prod LtdSki and ski practice machine
US4087088 *Sep 24, 1976May 2, 1978Kelso Kenneth JMoving artificial ski surface construction
US4148477 *Jan 10, 1978Apr 10, 1979Ralph LarsonSimulated ski slope slide structure
US6676530 *Apr 17, 2002Jan 13, 2004Light Wave, Ltd.Contoured variably tensionable soft membrane ride surface for ride attraction
US7547255 *Jan 7, 2004Jun 16, 2009Light Wave, Ltd.Contoured variably tensionable soft membrane ride surface for ride attraction
US20050148398 *Jan 7, 2004Jul 7, 2005Lochtefeld Thomas J.Contoured variably tensionable soft membrane ride surface for ride attraction
US20060068157 *Oct 22, 2003Mar 30, 2006Nike Land Securities Ltd.Artificial ski slope surface
U.S. Classification472/91
International ClassificationA63B69/18, A63C19/10, E01C13/12, E04H3/14
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/18, A63C19/10, E04H3/14, Y10S273/07, E01C13/12, Y10S273/11
European ClassificationA63C19/10, E01C13/12, A63B69/18, E04H3/14