Winter Sports

Folding Sled blends winter fun and convenience

Some people’s idea of the perfect winter day is sipping on a cup of hot chocolate near the fireplace while watching the snow fall outside. For other people, going out and playing in it is the only way to go, especially when there’s a sled available. Folding Sled blends a fun winter activity with an easy way to store this seasonal item.

Since it’s lightweight, it works well for racers. But Folding Sled is also large enough that a parent and child can use it together. Assembly is touted as being uncomplicated, and when the product is not in use, the polyethylene seat allows it to fold together and store easily. This will also allow for many sleds to be packed in the family car or SUV for a sledding getaway.

Folding Sled seems like a very convenient product that may be worth exploring further. Snow-loving backers might also be interested in AXS Snoogee Board, SCIRT,  Neck Warmer, Hoogle, and MittGrips.This campaign seeks to raise £30,000 (~$46,000) by March 5. Early bird backers get one product for £170 (~$260 USD) with an expected delivery in November of this year.

Connected Objects Winter Sports

Shredz audio helmet kit lets you jam out on the mountain

Skiing and snowboarding are two activities that make winter bearable. There’s nothing like careening down a hill in a sea of white.

Now, you can listen to music or talk on the phone while on the mountain. Shredz is an audio kit for ski or snowboard helmets that affixes earbuds to the riders ears. It works with any helmet that comes with space for headphones already. Coming in either wireless Bluetooth or connected, Shredz is a great way to jam out or keep in touch with loved ones.

This Canadian product is great for habitual skiers and snowboarders. Some may argue that it may be dangerous to listen to music on the mountain, but for experienced riders, it’s probably okay. The only thing is that not everyone wears helmets, so it would be interesting to see if Shredz could develop a version that works well with toques or goggles. The Bluetooth enabled version of this Canadian product is going for $109 CAD (~$95 USD) for estimated delivery in March 2015. Shredz is hoping to raise $20,000 CAD (~$18,300 USD) on Kickstarter.

Apparel Winter Sports

Dahu ski boots can be worn on and off the slopes

Clomping around in ski boots after hitting the slopes is one of the most uncomfortable parts of skiing. Not only do the boots hold your legs in a funny position, but they’re also made from plastic which can be slippery on the wet tile floors that most chalets have. DAHU ski boots will get you up and down the slopes just fine. After that, the outer shell opens and is removed to reveal a regular boot underneath with rubber soles. This boot is made of lightweight, waterproof material so it’s perfect for transitioning from the slopes to flat ground. DAHU comes in five colors with options for men’s, women’s, or unisex boots.

DAHU is a convenient way for skiers to get around once they’re done skiing. There’s always that awkward transition when you take off your snow boots to put on ski boots in the cold and wet chalet. The folks at DAHU may want to consider providing some kind of carrying case for the exoskeleton to make it easier to carry around. Still, this product is a welcome addition to the ski market, provided the campaign can reach its exorbitant €500,000 (~$620,400) goal. One pair will cost backers a €590 (~$730) donation for estimated delivery in November 2015.

Winter Sports

AXS Snoogee Board combines sledding and snowboarding for thrilling ride

Sledding is a snowy winter favorite for kids and adults alike. There are lots of different kinds of sleds out there from those that offer large capacities to those who claim speed.

The AXS Snoogee Board takes the traditional sled model and updates it with the utility of a snowboard. This double-tiered sled has a small straight board on the bottom and a wider board on top to lie on top of. The rider lays on top with their head facing down the mountain. AXS is built in such a way that the rider has maximum steering and stopping control. With a low center of gravity, the risk of injury is reduced upon falling off the sled.

Obviously the first question with this product is safety. However, the creators have addressed this issue in their campaign with a video and testimonials that they let their kids use the sled too. One will cost backers a whopping $700 AUD (~$580 USD) with estimated delivery for July 2015, perfect for the Australian wintertime. AXS is hoping to raise $220,000 AUD (~$181,700 USD) on Kickstarter.

Winter Sports

Lumbos lets your feet rotate freely as you snowboard

For those who don’t ski or snowboard, the very thought of having your feet clamped onto boards while you careen down a slippery mountain may seem crazy. For those who do it, it’s an awesome time. Still, not being able to move your feet freely doesn’t always feel that safe.

Lumbos is a clamping system that lets your feet rotate in its bindings on any kind of boarding, including snowboards, wakeboard and kiteboards. With this kind of freedom, you’ll be able to have greater range of motion on the slopes or water. This feature is especially nice for those who ride the ski lift. With Lumbos, that awkward twisting of the ankle is gone on the lift.

While this product may be convenient when getting from place to place, for the actual sport it may interfere with coordination. Especially with snowboard where your locked legs are what steers the board. Lumbos would do well to consider a locking option on their product so that legs can swing free on the lift, but remain secure on the slopes. One pair will cost backers $175 with estimated delivery in April 2015. Lumbos is hoping to raise $15,504 with Kickstarter’s help.

Winter Sports

Alpine Hawk will help find your skis or snowboard in the powder

Skiing and snowboarding equipment can be expensive, making the fact that so many are stolen every year a huge problem. Having experienced the misfortune of having their own equipment stolen, the people at AlpineTec have created the AlpineHawk: a small electronic device that attaches to either a snowboard or a pair of skis to prevent theft from ever happening.

Users of the AlpineHawk can arm the device with a companion app, making them feel safe if their equipment is left unattended. It does this by triggering a screeching 100 decibel alarm to go off as a deterrent and if the user is in Bluetooth range, they’ll receive a message alerting them to suspicious activity. A message won’t be sent if you’re not in Bluetooth range which, surprisingly enough, is not that useful. The device’s off-piste feature also allows you to find buried skis, which may convince some this is worth the trouble after all. The AlpineHawk’s polycarbonate shell protects from strong impacts and temperatures ranging from 100°C to -40C° and the entire unit weighs only 50g, so users need not fear an off-balance ride. Even so, the device’s life when subject to such rough conditions has to be tested more thoroughly before the claim can be made. An AlpineHawk is priced at kr250 (~$34) and is expected to be delivered in October of 2015. The campaign is looking for kr600,000 (~$80,600) in funding.

Luggage and Bags Winter Sports

Ski Mule helps move your gear between SUV to slope

SkiMuleFor anyone who has ever been skiing, lugging around awkward poles and skis can cause trouble. Ski Mule offers a nifty bag designed to carry around multiple sets of skis and poles hands free with a strap to hold them in place. One Ski Mule goes for $51 on Kickstarter with no other reward tiers to choose from. Ski Mule’s creator, Joyce Amend, hopes to raise $3,550 in her 30- day campaign with an estimated delivery date of April 2014.

Winter Sports

FATblades provides skis a snowboarder could love

FATbladesThe long and bloody battle of skiing versus snowboarding is over. FATblades provides a nice middle ground for those not wanting to get too involved in the conflict. For a new snow sport, FATblades combines the comfort of snowboarding boots with the ease of skis. FATblades look like shorter, stubby skis but use the same binding method as snowboard boots do; they look perfect for those thrill seekers who are tired of uncomfortable ski boots as well as the awkward two-feet-one-board problem. FATblades has already surpassed its goal of $10,000. One pair of FATblades costs $395 CAD and are estimated to be delivered by April 2014… just in time for spring.

Cycling Music Winter Sports

Jalapeño mixes beats to your extreme feats

editors-choiceThe Premise.  Your favorite music flows. You wipe your brow with the last dry spot on your shirt before bearing down for that last attempt at nailing this trick, lest the daylight and your body give out. Start your run, compress for the jump, pop, hit the air, and then the silence, the calm, that instant between bad idea and successful trick. Time and sound resume, and you can stop holding your breath. You stuck that! What could make this moment better? How about if your music was more than a backtrack to that trick? What if it was the unique score to that moment?

The Product. The Jalapeño, so named for its cubist resemblance to the spicy pepper, is meant to enhance the extreme sports experience by allowing your movement to remix music; essentially, shredding on a board or bike creates the effect of a DJ mixing.  Along with the accompanying Beat Farm smartphone software, it allows your jumps, spins and turns to slow, freeze, cross-fade between tracks, and pan audio between headphones.

The Pitch. A compact (under 3x2x1″), durable, weatherproof design and a seemingly sturdy mount make the Jalapeño viable across a wide range of applications from snowboarding, to BMXing to breakdancing. Its campaign includes multiple endorsements and three videos depicting testimonials, product demos, and brief explanations of operation, but little technical info about how it actually works. The only info about the creators is that they “first met at the University of Pennsylvania’s IPD graduate program.” In fact, technical development information is lacking overall. Not a campaign designed to appease techies, there are only two prototype development photos, and short, broad descriptions of the development state.

The Perks.  Early birds will pay $199 for essential equipment (Jalapeño, mount, software), and everyone else can expect to pay $239, or more, for packages that include extra swag like tees and hoodies.

The Potential.  This seems like a ton of fun. Who doesn’t want their own personal soundtrack enabling you to mix and remix.  Shredding to your own sounds looks like it will add a new element of fun to showing off, but the challenge will be in ensuring that the novelty doesn’t wear off.

Winter Sports

Glo-Blades put the glow in the glide

The Premise. On the sidewalk or especially on ice, skating can be a spectacle, with professionals donning elaborate costumes that draw attention to nearly every part of them except the usually land skates themselves. Well, imagine ice skating with a light show on your feet.

The Product. Glo-Blades are strings of high-power LED lights that attach to the bottom of ice skates or inline road skates. The lights provide a greater depth to ice skating because of the refraction of the light on the ice, and they are an added safety feature for road skaters. The skates attach to the blade using a chain and hooks (for the inlines), and then they are attached to the controller, which is a Velcro strap that attaches to the boot portion of the skate. The product developers plan to add wireless gloves that can control the lights and change the colors while skating, and to eventually connect the Glo-Blade to wireless devices so that the lights can be programmed and timed to music.

The Pitch. The Glo-Blades video won’t break any Olympic speed skating records as it shine on for eight minutes. It does feature a lot of information about the product, its development and the recognition its received. The video and text do seem to name-drop quite a bit, saying that professional skaters have loved the product. Its creators clearly have put a lot of passion, heart, and hard work into it and have have been thinking about its roadmap. However, the rest of the arrowtastic campaign page content seems like PowerPoint slides that weren’t worth repurposing.

The Perks. The product seems to be pretty pricey right now. Backers must contribute $75 for a set of the lights — a supposed 25% off target retail value. They are offering limited quantities of their first production run to their early bird backers, and one tier offers a ride in a non-underlit but nonetheless fun Zamboni.

The Potential. While this product could be fun to play around with, and will probably be pretty sophisticated later down the line, there may be a problem getting it into rinks and shows around the world. If the Glo-Blades come off, they could be a danger to skates, and many rink owners might ban them.

Official competitions want to see how well the skater can perform the move, not squint at light patches on the ice. And among recreational skaters, rinks are pretty well lit, which could reduce the impact of the glow. However, we could see Glo-Blades showing up on the skates of ice show performers, kids (an extension of the light-up sneaker craze) and skate rental shops.