US 3580605 A
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United States Patent 72] Inventor Nathan Shreve Spitler I802 Briar Ridge Court, McLean, Va. 22101 ] Appl. No. 872,053  Filed Oct. 29, 1969 [4S] Patented May 25, 1971  HYDRAULIC STEERING AND BRAKING SYSTEM FOR SNOW SKIS 8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. CI ..280/l1.l3H [SI] Int.Cl A63c 5/06  Field of Search 280/l 1.37 (EC), 11.37 (G), 11.13 (A-FI'I), 11.2; 9/310 [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,246,907 4/1966 Chisholm 280/1 1.37X
FOREIGN PATENTS Primary ExaminerMilton Buchler Assistant Examiner-Paul E. Sauberer Att0rneyOblon, Fisher & Spivak France 280/1 12 ABSTRACT: A pair of rudder elements are disposed on a ski behind and, respectively to the right and left side of the boot area and are normally maintained in a retracted ineffective position by springs engaged between the rudders and the ski. A pair of elongate hydraulic lines are each connected at one end to one 'of the rudders and extend under the clothing of the skier whereby a compressible ball at the other end of the lines may be carried on the thumbs of the skier for actuating the rudders selectively with thumb pressure on the balls.
PATENTEU M25197! SHEET 1 [IF 2 INVENTOR NATHAN SHREVE SPITLER 06% IP13!!! 46 mm ATTORNEYS PATENTEU W25 I97! SHEET 2 [1F 2 mvamon NATHAN SHREVE SPITLER BY 06M,F2Mu 6f S M HYDRAULIC STEERING AND BRAKING SYSTEM FOR SNOW SKIS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates generally to skis and more particularly to a rudder and braking system for skis for enabling the wearer thereof to effectively steer the skis and for providing a surface gripping action for assisting in the climbing of snow or ice-covered hills and permitting braking during the descent thereof.
In skiing, a beginning or novice skier generally finds that merely walking up or climbing a snow or ice-covered hill while wearing skis is a difficult enough task in itself because of the tendency to slide backwards on such slopes regardless of whether the ice or snow is soft or hard frozen or thick or thin, but more difficult and even formidable to the beginner is the negotiation of turns while descending a slope, especially at high speeds as are commonly attained in the sport. Such operations or maneuvers often present problems even to the experienced skier and, although not as imposing to an accomplished skier as to the beginner, they nevertheless are troublesome areas of the sport for which aids have long been sought to assist the skier in safely and efficiently performing.
Climbing devices for skis, for example, have included braking arms or blades projectable from the gliding surface of the ski for preventing the ski from sliding in a rearward direction by the engagement of the arm or blade with the snow or ice. In the devices of the past, however, the braking blades have been attached to the ski for lowering and raising into and from a working or operative position only by a skier at rest prior to beginning the ascent of a hill or upon the completion of such a climb. Steering mechanisms for skis have also been proposed, but the operation of the rudimentary mechanisms heretofore designed for this purpose generally involves moving by hand a cumbersome mechanical lever connected to the ski and dangerously disposed thereon such that it might readily inflict or cause injury to the skier in the event of a fall. Therefore, although such devices for the purpose of assisting the ski wearer in the climbing of hills have been somewhat successfully employed, they have not been entirely satisfactory in all cases and, insofar as providing a steering aid for the downhill skier, the devices heretofore proposed have been found to be almost totally unacceptable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION I? Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a device operable by a skier in a standup or walking position for preventing backward slipping of a ski in climbing a hill.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a mechanism for efficiently and effectively steering skis while in motion thereon such that the user may readily maintain a desired course in an expeditious manner.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved braking mechanism for skis operable by a skier descending a hill and thereby aid in the turning thereof to change directions during the descent.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an improved rudder and braking system for skis which is simple in its construction, inexpensive to manufacture, strong and durable, thoroughly efficient and safe in use and operation, and otherwise well adapted to the purpose for which it is designed.
The foregoing and other objects are attained by a snow ski having a pair of rudder members normally disposed within the gliding surface of the ski structure behind the boot area under the urging of springs associated therewith and which are projectable from the ski either singly or in combination by a hydraulic actuator controlled by squeezable bulbs held within the hands of the skier. The rudders of each ski are positioned side by side and are selectively operable, the right rudder on both skis being actuated by a bulb in the right hand of the steer for turning to the right and the left rudder on both skis being actuated by a bulb in the left hand of the skier for turning to the left. Actuation of both rudders on both skis simultaneously provides a brake to stop forward motion or to prevent backsliding when climbing hills.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Still other objects and many of the attendant features and advantages of the present invention will be more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood from the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like or corresponding parts are designated by like reference numerals throughout the several figures and in which:
FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of the apparatus of the present invention as it would be secured when in use;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of a ski showing the arrangement thereon of the rudders with respect to the boot;
FIG. 3 is a side view partly in section of one embodiment of the present invention in which the rudders and the return springs therefor are disposed within the gliding surface of the ski;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a hand of a skier showing one way in which the actuator bulb may be carried;
FIG 5 is a side view of another embodiment of the invention in which a small lever and the return spring for the rudder are disposed on the upper or boot surface of the ski;
FIG. 6 is a side view of still another embodiment of the invention in which the rudders are secured to the upper or boot surface of the ski and extend beyond the rear edge thereof; and
FIG. 7 is a top view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 6 showing the relationship of the rudders thereof with respect to the boot on the ski.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2 thereof, a pair of rudder elements 10 are shown each being disposed in a cavity 11 in the bottom or gliding surface of a ski l2, rearwardly positioned thereon and preferably being displaced longitudinally thereon just behind the bootreceiving heel clamp 13. An integral flange 14 is provided on the upper surface of each rudder element 10 and is configured to fit snugly but slidably within the cavity 11 in a vertical direction. Disposed on the bottom or gliding surface of the ski l2 and secured flush thereagainst by any suitable attachment means such as screws or the like is a closure plate 15 for covering the peripheral portion of the open end of the cavity 11 about the rudder element 10 which allows reception of the flange 14 during assembly and thereby closes the cavity 11 but for an area configured like and aligned with the main body of the rudder for permitting the rudder 10 to be projected from the cavity 11 in the bottom of the ski 12 when desired. Positioned in the peripheral portion of the cavity I1 intermediate the flange l4 and the closure plate 15 are compressed coil springs 16 urging toward and normally maintaining the rudder element 10 in the withdrawn or retracted position wherein it rests against the roof of the cavity II within the ski 12. The main body of the rudder element 10 may be of any desired configuration suitable for the intended purpose of providing a braking action or initiating a turning effect when projected from the ski 12 into the snow thereunder.
A cylindrical piston 17 extends vertically from the upper surface of the rudder element 10 and passes through a bore 18 in the ski where it is slidably received in sealed engagement with a cylinder 19 disposed on the upper surface of the ski l2 and secured thereto in any suitable manner. Supported within the cylinder 19 above the piston 17 slidably disposed therein is a body of fluid 20. A small axial bore is provided in the other end of the cylinder 19 for receiving a leakproof, detachable coupling 21 of conventional design secured to one end of a fluid-filled, flexible line 22 and thereby providing a fluid communication path between the cylinder 19 and the hydraulic line 22. At the other end of the hydraulic line 22 there is a small hollow bulb or ball 23 constructed of a flexible material and having a sleeve 24 secured thereto for being fitted over the thumb of the skier's hand in the manner shown in FIG. 3. From the ball 23 carried in the hand of the skier, the flexible hydraulic line 22 is .fed up the arm sleeve of the skier, inside the clothing thereof, and out through a buttonhole slit 25 in the ski pants near the boot, where the detachable coupling 21 may be engaged with the cylinder 9.
Separate hydraulic lines 22 are provided from each rudder 10 on each ski 12, with the lines of both rudders disposed on the right side of the boot heel being connected to a compressible ball 23 carried in the right hand of the skier and the lines of both rudders disposed on the left side of the boot heel being connected to another compressible ball 23 carried in the left hand of the skier. The rudders 10 are controlled by exerting thumb pressure on the compressible balls 23 carried in each hand. Thus, the right-hand ball is used to actuate the right rudders on both skis, fluid pressure being applied thereby against the top surface of the piston I7 in each of the right cylinders 19 for pushing the right rudders 10 downward from the ski gliding surfaces into engagement with the snow, whereby a turn to the right will occur. This is true since the braking action takes place behind and to the right of the center of mass distribution upon the skis. In the same manner the left-hand ball is used to actuate the left rudders on both skis to thereby effect a turn to the left. By engaging both right and left rudders at the same time, the skier is provided with a brake to slow forward motion or to prevent backslide when climbing a hill. When the rudders 10 are passive, or withdrawn into the cavity 11 in the bottom of the skis 12 by the springs 16, they do not protrude below the ski bottom and the skier may walk in areas without snow in the usual manner.
Referring now to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, another ball 26 is disposed on the ski end of each of the hydraulic lines 22. The ball 26 is formed of a flexible material and is secured to a plate 27 on the ski 12. A lever arm 28 is pivotally mounted on a shaft 29 rotatably positioned in a bracket 30 on the upper surface of the ski. One end of the lever arm 28 normally engages the ball 26 and is urged thereagainst by a coil spring 31 disposed between the other end of the arm 28 and the upper surface of the ski and encircling the piston 17, thereby tending to rotate the lever arm in a counterclockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 4. In this embodiment, whenever the ball 23 .within the hand of the skier is squeezed, fluid pressure expands the ball 26, causing the lever 28 to pivot about the shaft 29 and thereby lowering or projecting the rudder 10 from the bottom or gliding surface of the ski 12'. The rudders of this embodiment are disposed upon the skis in substantially the same area as shown in FIG. 1 and the operation is essentially the same as that set forth for the embodiment shown in FIG. 2.
Turning now to FIGS. 6 and 7, still another embodiment is shown, this one being positioned at the rear end of the skis and having the rudders 10a extending beyond the rear edge of the skis for engaging the snow behind the skis upon actuation. Each rudder 10a is integrally fonned at one end of a lever arm 28a, which is pivotally disposed on shaft 29a and normally maintained in a retracted position by spring 31a. In this position, the other end of the lever arm engages the ball 26a secured to the end of a hydraulic line 22. Thus, upon thumb pressure against a ball 23 in the hand of the skier, the ball 26a responds by expanding and thereby pivoting the lever arm 28a so that the rudder 10a engages the snow behind the ski. This latter arrangement is especially advantageous in that it is most readily adaptable to the standard ski on the market today.
Briefly, in summary, it may be seen that the present invention provides an effective steering and braking system which may be operated by a skier merely by applying thumb pressure on a small ball secured thereto in a manner which does not in- I terfere with the normal use of ski poles. Thus, the device may Although the several forms of the invention described herein are hydraulically actuated, othermethods for displacing the rudders into engagement with the snow are contemplated. For example, battery-operated electromagnetic actuation or compressed gas are alternative approaches. An elec tronic transmitter such as employed for remotely controlling television sets or a mechanical cable are other likely methods.
Obviously, many other modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in the light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.
What I claim is:
I. A steering and braking system for snow skis comprising:
at least one rudder movably disposed on a ski for selectively engaging the snow;
means for normally maintaining said at least one rudder in a retracted ineffective position; and,
hydraulic means for actuating said at least one rudder to cause the same to be depressed into engagement with the snow.
2. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim I, wherein said at least one rudder comprises a pair of rudders disposed laterally on the ski,
one of said rudders being positioned behind and on the right side of the boot receiving area, and
the other of said rudders being positioned behind and on the left side of the boot receiving area.
3. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim 2, wherein said pair of rudders are disposed within a cavity in the gliding surface of the ski, and
said means for normally maintaining said rudders in a retracted ineffective position comprises spring means for urging said rudders into said cavity wherein the snow-engaging surfaces of said rudders are flush with the ski glidingsurface.
4. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim 3, wherein said hydraulic actuating means comprises:
a fluid-filled chamber for each of said rudders into which a surface of the respective rudder opposite the snow-engaging surface thereof extends in sealable, sliding engagement with the walls thereof; and,
a fluid-filled elongate line having a leakproof detachable coupling at one end thereof for connecting the same with said fluid-filled chamber and a compressible ball at the other end thereof adapted to be hand-held for applying pressure through said elongate line and said chamber to force the rudder into engagement with the snow.
5. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim 3, further comprising:
a pair of lever arms pivotally mounted intermediate the ends thereof on the upper'surface of the ski one each for said right and left rudders, one end of each of said lever arms being connected to a respective rudder; and,
wherein said hydraulic actuating means comprises a fluidfilled elongate line for each of said rudders having an expandable fluid-filled chamber at one end disposed between the ski and the other end of a respective lever arm and a compressible ball at the other end of said line adapted to be hand-held for \applying pressure through said elongate line to expand said expandable ball and thereby pivot said lever arm to force the respective rudder into engagement with the snow.
6. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim 2, wherein said rudders are pivotally mounted to the upper surface of the ski near the rear edge thereof and extend beyond said rear edge for engaging the snow behind said ski.
7. A snow ski steering and braking system according to claim 6, wherein each rudder forms one end of a lever pivotally mounted intermediate the ends thereof on the ski; and
said hydraulic actuating means comprises a fluid-filled elongate line for each of said rudders having an expandable fluid-filled chamber at one end disposed between the claim 7, wherein said means for normally maintaining said rudders in a retracted ineffective position comprises spring means connected between said other end of said rudders and the upper surface of the ski for urging said other end of the rudders into engagement with said expandable balls.