Title:
Snow Skis And Snowboards Having Split Tips And/Or Tails
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snow ski or snowboard having enhanced turning capability compared to traditional skis or snowboards has a split tip and/or tail portion. The split tip/tail provides enhanced turning characteristics of the ski or snowboard. The split tips and/or tails may have additional active turning edges may have the same, or similar, curvature as the primary turning edge, thereby effectively increasing the length of the turning edge. A symmetrical or asymmetrical ski tail may be provided to further enhance turning on skis. Such a symmetrical or asymmetrical tail may have varying tail edge lengths, varying widths of split tails, interior edges, varying thickness of split tails, and/or varying core material of split tails that provides such enhanced turning ability.



Inventors:
Carlson, Scott (Silverton, CO, US)
Mazzarella, David (Silverton, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/908964
Publication Date:
12/08/2005
Filing Date:
06/02/2005
Assignee:
SKI LOGIC D/B/A SCOTTYBOB (Box 316, Silverton, CO, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
280/601
International Classes:
A63C5/03; A63C5/048; A63C5/052; (IPC1-7): A63C5/052
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PHAN, HAU VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (222 South Main Street, Suite 2200 P.O. Box 11583, SALT LAKE CITY, UT, 84147, US)
Claims:
1. A snow ski, comprising: a front tip section comprising at least first and second ski tips operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction, wherein said ski tips are separated by a gap extending from said main body section; and a rear tail section comprising at least a first tail operably interconnected to a second end of said main body section, said second end being opposite said first end.

2. The snow ski of claim 1, wherein the width of said gap is not uniform throughout the length of said gap.

3. The snow ski of claim 1, wherein each of said ski tips has an inside active edge and an outside active edge.

4. The snow ski of claim 3, wherein each of said active edges has a side-cut.

5. The snow ski of claim 4, wherein a radius of curvature of said first ski tip inside edge is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second ski tip outside edge.

6. The snow ski of claim 1 wherein said rear tail section comprises a first tail and a second tail, each of said tails having an inside active edge and an outside active edge, wherein each of said active edges has a side-cut and wherein a radius of curvature of said first tail inside edge side-cut is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second tail outside edge side-cut.

7. The snow ski of claim 6 wherein said second tail extends from said main body section a first distance and said first tail extends from said main body section a second distance, said second distance being longer than said first distance.

8. The snow ski of claim 7 wherein said first tail is upturned at an end distal to said main body section and said second tail is upturned at an end distal to said main body section.

9. The snow ski of claim 7 wherein a stiffness of said first tail is substantially similar to a stiffness of said second tail.

10. The snow ski of claim 1 wherein said front tip section further comprises a third ski tip operably interconnected to the first end of said main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction, wherein said third ski tip is separated from said first ski tip by a second gap extending from said main body section.

11. A snowboard, comprising: a front tip section comprising at least first and second tips operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction, wherein said tips are separated by a gap extending from said main body section; and a rear tail section comprising at least a first tail operably interconnected to a second end of said main body section, said second end being opposite said first end.

12. The snowboard of claim 11, wherein the width of said gap is not uniform throughout the length of said gap.

13. The snowboard of claim 11, wherein each of said tips has an inside active edge and an outside active edge.

14. The snowboard of claim 13, wherein each of said active edges has a side-cut.

15. The snowboard of claim 14, wherein a radius of curvature of said first tip inside edge is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second tip outside edge.

16. The snowboard of claim 11, wherein said rear tail section comprises a first tail and a second tail.

17. The snowboard of claim 16, wherein each of said tails has an inside active edge and an outside active edge.

18. The snowboard of claim 17, wherein each of said active edges has a side-cut.

19. The snowboard of claim 18, wherein a radius of curvature of said first tail inside edge side-cut is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second tail outside edge side-cut.

20. The snowboard of claim 11 wherein said tip portion further comprises a third tip operably interconnected to said main body section intermediate to said first and second tips.

21. A snow ski, comprising: a tip section comprising at least a first tip operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction; a tail section comprising at least first and second tails operably interconnected to a second end of said main body section, said second end being opposite said first end, wherein said first and second tails are separated by a gap extending a substantial distance into said main body section.

22. The snow ski of claim 21, wherein the width of said gap is not uniform throughout the length of said gap.

23. The snow ski of claim 21, wherein each of said tails has an inside active edge and an outside active edge.

24. The snow ski of claim 23, wherein each of said inside and outside active edges has a side-cut.

25. The snow ski of claim 24, wherein a radius of curvature of said first tail inside active edge is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second tail outside active edge.

26. The snow ski of claim 21 wherein said second tail extends from said main body section a first distance and said first tail extends from said main body section a second distance, said second distance being longer than said first distance.

27. The snow ski of claim 26 wherein said first tail is upturned at an end distal to said main body section and said second tail is upturned at an end distal to said main body section.

28. The snow ski of claim 26 wherein a stiffness of said first tail is substantially similar to a stiffness of said second tail.

29. A snowboard, comprising: a tip section comprising at least a first tip operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction; a tail section comprising at least first and second tails operably interconnected to a second end of said main body section, said second end being opposite said first end, wherein said first and second tails are separated by a gap extending a substantial distance into said main body section.

30. The snowboard of claim 29, wherein the width of said gap is not uniform throughout the length of said gap.

31. The snowboard of claim 29, wherein each of said tails has an inside active edge and an outside active edge.

32. The snow ski of claim 31, wherein each of said inside and outside active edges has a side-cut.

33. The snow ski of claim 32, wherein a radius of curvature of said first tail inside active edge is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of said second tail outside active edge.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/577,373, filed on Jun. 2, 2004, entitled “SNOW SKIS AND SNOWBOARDS”, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to the field of snow skis and snowboards, and more specifically, to snow skis and snowboards having split tips and/or tails.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A variety of types of skis and snowboards are currently in use and suited for many various types of skiing and/or snowboarding. In particular, there are many types of skis/snowboards which are adapted for various types of skiing/snowboarding, such as, for example, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, telemark skiing, and snowboarding. The shape of the ski, width of the ski, length of the ski sliding surface of the ski, ski tip, ski tail, and the bindings used to couple a skier's boot to the ski are all uniquely adaptable to the type of skiing to be performed using the skis. Similarly, the shape, width, sliding surface, tip and/or tail shape, and bindings of a snowboard are adaptable to the type of snowboarding to be performed. To facilitate turning, skis and snowboards generally have their edges curved into an arc shape known as “sidecut”.

For example, the “alpine ski” is a fixed heel ski. Such a fixed heel ski includes a binding by which skiers boot is attached to the ski and is secured thereto and both the toe and the heel of the ski boot. This method of binding characterizes the use of the ski as “alpine”. In alpine skiing, both skis are generally maintained parallel to one another. The skier turns primarily by shifting weight to the medial edge of the outside ski, that is, the ski farther from the center of the circle or arc describing the turn. Such alpine skis commonly have a smooth sliding surface which may be waxed to facilitate the movement of the ski over snow. Furthermore, such alpine skis are commonly “shaped” by having the edges of the ski formed in a curved pattern, known in the ski industry as “side-cut” as mentioned above. The tips of alpine skis are generally upturned, and some skis feature a tip that is formed of a different material than the remainder of the ski. Such ski tip material is generally lighter than the material forming the remainder of the ski and thus provides enhanced performance in some conditions, such as when skiing in powder. When skiing in powder, and when skiing in relatively deep powder in particular, it is beneficial to keep the tip of the skis up in order to enhance maneuverability of the skis. The tails of alpine skis are generally upturned to some degree that varies depending upon the use of the ski. Most alpine skis feature a slightly upturned tail, while some feature a much larger upturned tail that facilitates skiing backward. Skis with such a large upturned tails are referred to as twintip skis.

Another example of a ski is a “telemark ski”, or free heel ski. The binding which is used on a telemark ski is one in which the skiers boot is attached to the ski at the toe of the boot only, while leaving the heel free to rise off of the ski. With the exception of the binding, the telemark ski is generally the same as an alpine ski. Telemark skis may have similar shaping, tip, and tail features as described with respect to alpine skis. Turning, however, in telemark skiing is quite different than in alpine skiing. In telemark skiing, the skier positions the inside ski, that is the ski closer to the center of the circle or arc describing the turn, behind the outside ski, so that the heel of the inside boot is raised off of the inside ski. Any pressure applied by the skier to the inside ski is exerted via the toe area of the ski boot, that is the general area between of the ball of the skier's foot and the tip of the boot. In contrast, the outside boot remains flat against the outside ski, so that pressure is exerted on the ski over the entire area of the ski boot. When the inside boot is raised and the outside boot remains flat, a “telemark posture” is attained.

In telemark skiing, the points of applied pressure resulting from the skier's application of weight and resulting additional forces, exist at different locations along the longitudinal axes of each ski. The inside ski receives the application of pressure at the toe area of the attached boot, while the outside ski receives the application of pressure along the entire bottom of the boot's sole. Such telemark skis also generally have a flat skiing surface area, which may be waxed to facilitate movement over snow.

Another type of ski is a “cross-country ski”. Such as ski is similar to a telemark ski in that the heel of a skier's boot is free to rise off of the ski's surface. Such a cross-country ski is generally designed for relatively flat terrain. Cross-country skis are generally narrower and lighter than telemark skis, and in many cases include surface texturing on the skiing surface area that allows the ski to slide forward on a snow surface relatively easily, while providing additional resistance to the ski moving in a direction opposite to the surface texture. Such a surface texture is often referred to as “fish scales”. However, many other types of cross-country skis have a flat skiing surface and different types of wax may be applied thereto, or “skins” may be affixes to the skiing surface, to achieve the desired resistance to sliding in the opposite direction a skier wishes to travel.

The “randonee ski,” also referred to as an “alpine touring ski” is a hybrid of a free heel and fixed heel ski. In such a ski, a heel binding is selectably coupled or uncoupled from the ski binding, allowing the skier to select whether or not the heel of the boot will be free. Such a ski allows the heel to be raised if the skier desires that the heel be raised, such as when the skier is ascending an incline or when the skier is traveling over relatively flat terrain in which it is beneficial to have the heel free. The heel may be fixed if the skier desires to make “alpine” type ski turns while descending

With reference to snowboards, generally fewer types of snowboards are used relative to the types of skis that are available. However, various types of snowboards do exist. The common element is that snowboard bindings hold a rider's feet in a fixed position at a perpendicular or diagonal angle with respect to the snowboard. Several types of asymmetrical snowboards exist in which the side-cut of the edges of the snowboard may be shifted relative to the other edge of the snowboard to compensate for a shift of the rider's center pressure as the rider transfers his or her weight to the right or left edges of the snowboard in order to turn the snowboard. Furthermore, split snowboards may be used in which the snowboard is formed in two pieces, which may be coupled or uncoupled. When the pieces of the snowboard are uncoupled, they may be used as skis, and then coupled and used as a snowboard. Such a system is common for “back country” skiing in which no ski lift service is provided to move skiers and snowboarders up a hill. In such a case, the snowboard may be split and used in a randonee or alpine touring ski fashion to climb a hill, and coupled together to form a snowboard to ride back down the hill as a snowboard.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a snow ski or snowboard having split tips and/or split tails. The split tips and/or tails may provide enhanced turning capability compared to traditional skis or snowboards. The split tip and/or split tail portion of the ski may provide additional edges that may enhance turning characteristics of the ski or snowboard. Furthermore, in certain embodiments, the present invention provides an asymmetrical ski tail to further enhance turning. Such an asymmetrical tail may have varying tail edge lengths, interior edges, varying widths of split tails, varying thickness of split tails, and/or varying core material of split tails that provides such enhanced turning ability.

In one embodiment, the present invention provides a snow ski or snowboard comprising a front tip section comprising at least first and second ski tips operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction, wherein the ski tips are separated by a gap extending from the main body section; and a rear tail section comprising at least a first tail operably interconnected to a second end of the main body section, the second end being opposite said first end. The width of the gap may be non-uniform throughout the length of the gap. In an embodiment, each of the ski or snowboard tips has an inside edge and an outside edge, each of the edges having a side-cut, and wherein a radius of curvature of the first tip inside edge is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of the second tip outside edge. In another embodiment, the rear tail section comprises a first tail and a second tail, each of the tails having an inside edge and an outside edge, wherein each of the edges has a side-cut and wherein a radius of curvature of the first tail inside edge side-cut is substantially similar to a radius of curvature of the second tail outside edge side-cut. In another embodiment, the tail section is asymmetrical. The tail may be upturned in the symmetrical embodiments and/or the asymmetrical embodiments. The front tip section may further comprise three or more tips operably interconnected to the first end of the main body section. Similarly, the tail section may comprise two or more tails. Each of the tips/tails may have a different flexibility relative to one or more of the other tips that may be achieved by altering the width, thickness, the types of core materials, and/or the types of laminates for each of the tips. Furthermore, the shape of the tips and/or tails may be different relative to the other tips/tails.

In another embodiment, the invention provides a snow ski or snowboard comprising (a) a tip section comprising at least a first tip operably interconnected to a first end of a main body section and extending therefrom in a longitudinal direction; and (b) a tail section comprising at least first and second tails operably interconnected to a second end of the main body section, the second end being opposite the first end. The first and second tails are separated by a gap extending a substantial distance into the main body section. The width of the gap may be non-uniform throughout the length of the gap. In an embodiment, each of the tails has an inside edge and an outside edge. Each of the edges may have a side-cut, with a radius of curvature of the first tail inside edge being substantially similar to a radius of curvature of the second tail outside edge.

These, and other embodiments, will be more readily understood in conjunction following description of various embodiments along with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an alpine ski of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the tip portion of the ski of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top plan illustration of the tail portion of the ski of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a pair of alpine skis of an embodiment of the invention in a right turn;

FIG. 5A is a right side elevational view of the left ski of FIG. 4;

FIG. 5B is a left side elevational view of the left ski of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a ski of another embodiment of the present invention having a dual tip and a single tail;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a ski of another embodiment of the present invention having tri-tips and tri-tails;

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a ski of another embodiment of the present invention having tri-tips and dual tails;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of a snowboard of an embodiment of the present invention having dual tips/tails;

FIG. 10 is a top plan view of a snowboard of another embodiment of the present invention having tri-tips and tri-tails;

FIG. 11 is a top plan view of a left asymmetrical ski of an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a top plan view of the tip portion of the ski of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a top plan illustration of the tail portion of the ski of FIG. 11;

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of a pair of asymmetrical skis of an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15A is a side elevational view of the right ski of FIG. 14;

FIG. 15B is a side elevational view of the left ski of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a pair of telemark skis in a right turn of an embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 17 is a top plan view of a pair of telemark skis in a left turn of an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

At the outset, it is noted that the terms “ski,” “snowboard,” and/or simply “board” are used interchangeably herein, and the various concepts and embodiments described herein apply to both skis and snowboards. In particular, although some of the concepts are described with respect to alpine and telemark skis, it will be understood that the concepts may apply equally well to other types of skis and/or snowboards, as will be readily apparent to one of skill in the art.

The present invention recognizes that properly designed skis must accommodate a number of concerns in today's highly competitive market. It is particularly important that the skier be able to execute turns without undo effort, and that the skis be stable and relatively easy to control. In recent years, skis having greater sidecut, known as “shaped” skis have become increasingly popular, particularly in the alpine ski market. Such shaped skis provide enhanced turning compared to skis that have relatively little edge curvature. Furthermore, the width of skis has become wider in recent years for many ski designs. For example, when skiing in relatively deep powder, a wider ski is desirable in order to provide more “float” over the powder. While such a wider ski does provide such float, the additional material adds weight to the ski and may make the ski more difficult to turn when not in relatively deep powder. Thus, some skiers have multiple pairs of skis and select different skis depending upon conditions.

As is understood, turns are accomplished on skis by applying pressure to an active edge of the ski. The pressure is applied to a central portion along the length of the ski, resulting in the ski flexing about this pressure point, creating a curved edge that is in contact with the snow. As the ski slides over the snow, this curved edge carries the ski and skier in an arc that is defined by the curve. Shaped skis, as mentioned above, are well known in the industry and further enhance turning by providing an edge having more side-cut than traditional skis. That is, the shaped skis have a narrower medial portion and wider tip and tail portions, giving the skis an hourglass type shape. When pressure is applied to the active edge, the side-cut in conjunction with the pressure applied to the ski produces a curved edge having a smaller radius arc, and thus a tighter turn for the same given pressure when compared to a ski without a side-cut edge. The point along the ski edge having the greatest side-cut is often referred to as the point of “maximum side-cut.” The center of pressure on a ski is the point underneath the boot where the center of downward pressure from the skier is applied onto the ski. Optimal turning is generally achieved on a ski by applying the center of pressure at the point of maximum side-cut, or relatively close thereto. As a result, ski manufacturers typically mark a “boot center” point on skis, and bindings are mounted onto the ski so that the center of the boot, and thus the center of the pressure, is located in close proximity to that point.

In alpine skiing, the side-cuts on each side of the ski, and on both the inside and outside skis, are generally symmetrical.. However, the present invention recognizes that an asymmetrical design in many cases is beneficial for alpine skis. When a skier makes parallel alpine skiing turns, their weight on the inside ski generally shifts forward. This results from the skier's knee bending more on the inside leg, and thus there is a tendency to shift the weight from the center of the foot to the ball of the foot. Furthermore, this weight shift is amplified by rigid plastic boots normally used in alpine skiing. The skier's shin applies pressure to the tongue of the boot of the inside ski. The stiff boot then acts as a lever and transfers pressure down to the tip of the boot, into the toe piece of the binding, and onto the ski. Accordingly, the present invention recognizes that an asymmetrical ski may be beneficial for alpine skiing. Such an asymmetrical ski, as will be described in more detail below, provides an active edge for the inside ski that is shorter than the active edge of the outside ski. This results in a center of curvature for the inside edge that is approximately located in the area of the maximum pressure that is applied to the ski. The shorter edge also operates to increase the pressure per centimeter along that edge. In both telemark and alpine skiing, the inside ski is pressured with less pressure. The shorter edge effectively increases the pressure on that ski by increasing the linear pressure along that edge.

Similarly as described with alpine skis, it is also desirable to have telemark skis that are able to execute turns without undo effort, and are stable and relatively easy to control. For example, when a skier is in the telemark posture, it is often difficult to apply a large amount of pressure on the active edge of the inside ski, because the knee over the ski is bent and contact with the ski is only made with the toe area of the boot. This results in less pressure on the active edge of the inside ski, thereby making it more difficult to turn that ski. Conversely, in the telemark posture, it is relatively easy to apply pressure on the active edge of the outside ski, because the knee over that ski is relatively straight and the contact with the ski is made with the entire bottom surface of the skier's boot. This additional pressure on the active edge of the outside ski makes this ski easier to turn relative to the inside ski. The reason for the relative ease and relative difficulty of turning the outside and inside skis, respectively, in the telemark position is largely the result of the ski shape. In telemark skiing, due to the telemark posture, there are two different centers of pressure on each ski. One center of pressure is under the middle of the boot sole when the ski is the outside ski and the boot is resting flat on the ski. When the ski is the inside ski, the skier's knee is bent so that the heel rises, and the center of pressure shifts forward and is located under the toe area of the boot.

In order to provide enhanced turning performance on telemark and alpine skis, and in order to provide a center of pressure that is relatively close to the point of maximum side-cut, asymmetrical skis have been designed that have edges of differing lengths. Such a ski is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,482, issued on May 28, 2002, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Such asymmetrical skis provide enhanced turning and stability in telemark and alpine skis by having corresponding centers of pressure and points of maximum sidecut for both inside and outside skis. The shorter edge of the inside ski has a point of maximum sidecut that generally corresponds to the center of pressure from the toe area of a skiers boot. The longer edge of the outside ski has a point of maximum sidecut that generally corresponds to the center of pressure from the middle of a skier's boot sole.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 through 3, a ski of one embodiment of the invention is described. Referring first to FIG. 1, a top plan view of a ski 20 of an embodiment of the present invention is described. The ski 20 has a front tip section 22 and a rear tail section 24 that in this embodiment are both split, and are attached to a main body section 26. The ski 20 has a first lateral edge 30, and an opposing second lateral edge 32. In this embodiment, both the first and second lateral edges 30, 32 each have a concave, curved shape. This is referred to as side-cut, as discussed above. Each of the lateral edges 30, 32 have a metal, or other, edging that acts to enhance the turning ability of the ski. As used herein, the term “edge” is used simply to refer to the edge of a material surface, and the term “active edge” refers to an edge that has metal or other material that acts to enhance turning. The tip section 22, as mentioned above, is split in this embodiment and is shown in additional detail in FIG. 2.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the tip section 22 is split into two separate tips, or dual tips, 34 and 36. The first tip 34 has a corresponding inside edge 38, and the second tip 36 has a corresponding inside edge 40. In this embodiment, each of the inside edges are active edges, although other embodiments exist where the inside edges are not active edges. The inside edge 40 has substantially the same curvature as the first lateral edge 30 for a substantial length of the inside edge 40. As illustrated in FIG. 2, this distance is marked as LF. Similarly, the inside edge 38 has the same curvature as the second lateral edge 32 for a substantial portion of the length of the inside edge 38, also in this embodiment marked as LF in FIG. 2. In this manner, the edges 30, 40 are separated by substantially the same distance from one another throughout the distance LF, and the edges 32, 38 are separated by substantially the same distance from one another throughout the distance LF. In one embodiment the distance LF is approximately one foot, although this length may vary. While the inside edges 38, 40 are illustrated as having respective radiuses of curvature that are substantially the same as the corresponding outside edges 30, 32, it will be understood that this radius of curvature may be different in other embodiments. In any event, the gap between the tips 34, 36 in this embodiment has a width that is not uniform throughout the length LF. However, in other embodiments, such a gap may have a uniform width throughout the length of the gap.

Such a split tip 22 enhances turning and ski performance in various skiing conditions. In powder, the split tips 34, 36 cause the entire tip 22 to have enhanced float on top of the snow surface. This is because the split tips 34, 36 each have a softer flex than the entire tip 22, thereby allowing each softer split tips 34, 36 to ride up better onto fresh powder snow than would be the case in an unsplit tip having the same stiffness as split tip 22. In addition, the the split tips may provide an additional turning edge at the ski tip. The split tip provides an increase in torsional rigidity resulting in improved edge hold and carving performance as compared to a ski without a split tip. Additionally, in stiff race ski embodiments, the ski's carving is improved by the split due to the increased flexibility of the tip. In the case of embodiments having interior active edges, when a skier rolls the ski onto lateral edge 30, the inside edge 40 also has pressure applied thereto, resulting in an additional edge that is active in turning. This additional edge 40 acts to effectively increase the length of the first lateral edge 30 during a turn. The second lateral edge 32 and inside edge 38 behave in a similar manner. This effectively allows the tip 22 to act as two separate skis during a turn. While such properties of a split tip are discussed with respect to a ski, other embodiments of the invention, as will be discussed below, provide a snowboard with split tips and/or split tails, and such principals also apply equally to such a snowboard.

The gap between each of the tips 34, 36 extends a substantial distance into the ski body, and the total length of the gap is somewhat longer than LF, because the edge of the inside of the gap departs from the curvature of the outside edge for the relatively short of the edge connecting the two inside edges 38, 40. This edge is illustrated in bold in FIG. 2 and is designated C. In one embodiment, the edge C is has a radius, or bevel, in the vertical direction in order to glide over or through snow with relative ease. This bevel may be designed so that the edge C is not vertical, but instead angled one way or another to reduce or increase the amount of snow that is propelled upward along edge C.

Such a split tip 22 enhances turning and ski performance when skiing on relatively hard-packed snow as well. When a skier rolls the ski onto an edge in such conditions, the corresponding inside edge may not be in contact with the snow surface. However, because the width of each individual tip 34, 36, is less than the total overall width of the ski tip section 22, each tip 34, 36 has increased flexibility compared to a ski having a single tip. This increased flexibility at the ski tip provides an active edge that is more flexible, particularly at the tips and the tail (as will be discussed below) when pressure is applied thereto. Thus, when a skier applies pressure to the active edge when skiing on hard-packed snow, the enhanced flexibility of the active edge results in greater flexion of the active edge and thus enhances the turning ability of the ski. Furthermore, because of the increased flexibility of the ski tips, each ski tip may move independently of the other ski tip. Such independent motion of each ski tip allows the ski to travel over objects or ground features that are encountered by one of the tips, and thus one side of the ski, with less deflection than would be present with a single ski tip. Such independent motion of the ski tips results in a smoother ride as felt by the skier. Skiing on hardpack is improved by having skis of greater torsional rigidity, as increased torsional rigidity results in greater active edge hold and better carving performance. Wider skis have less torsional rigidity than narrower skis. By splitting the tips, the torsional rigidity of each individual tip 34, 36 is greater than the torsional rigidity of an unsplit tip. Thus, active edge hold and carving performance is improved on a split tip, whether or not said split tip has interior active edges. While such properties of a split tip are discussed with respect to a ski, other embodiments of the invention, as will be discussed below, provide a snowboard with split tips and/or split tails, and such principals also apply equally to such a snowboard.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the tail section 24, similar to the tip section 22, is split into two separate tails, or dual tails, 42 and 44. The first tail 42 has a corresponding inside edge 46, and the second tail 44 has a corresponding inside edge 48. The inside edge 48 has substantially the same curvature as the first lateral edge 30 for a substantial length of the inside edge 40. As illustrated in FIG. 3, this distance is marked as LE. Similarly, the inside edge 46 has the same curvature as the second lateral edge 32 for a substantial portion of the length of the inside edge 46, also in this embodiment marked as LE in FIG. 3. In this manner, the edges 30, 48 are separated by substantially the same distance from one another throughout the distance LE, and the edges 32, 46 are separated by substantially the same distance from one another throughout the distance LE. Such a split tail 24 enhances turning by providing the additional turning edge. As will be understood, when a skier rolls the ski onto lateral edge 30, the inside edge 48 also has pressure applied thereto, resulting in an additional edge that is active in turning. This additional edge 48 acts to effectively increase the length of the first lateral edge 30 during a turn. The second lateral edge 32 and inside edge 46 behave in a similar manner. This effectively allows the tail 22 to act as two separate skis during a turn. Similarly as described with the tips, the gap between each of the tails 42, 44 extends a substantial distance into the ski body, and the total length of the gap is somewhat longer than LE, because the edge of the inside of the gap departs from the curvature of the outside edge for the relatively short of the edge connecting the two inside edges 46, 48. This edge is illustrated in bold in FIG. 3 and is designated D. In one embodiment, the edge D is has a radius, or bevel, in the vertical direction in order to glide over or through snow with relative ease, and with the correct amount of snow spray, in a case where the skier is skiing backwards. Such a split tail provides many of the same properties in powder and on hard-packed snow as described above with respect to the ski tip 22.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a top plan view of a pair of symmetrical skis 20, 50 of an embodiment of the invention is described for a right turn. FIGS. 5A and 5B are corresponding side elevation views of the skis of FIG. 4. Each ski also has bindings 52 for securing the skier's boots to the skis. As is understood, when alpine skiing, in order to execute a turn the skier applies pressure to the inside edge 32 of the outside ski 20. The skier may also apply some pressure to the outside edge of the inside ski, but the primary force generating the turn is applied to the outside ski, and as such this example focuses on the outside ski with the understanding that similar results are generated by the inside ski if pressure is applied thereto. The outside boot is engaged to the binding 52 such that pressure is at the toe and heel portions of the binding 52, with the center of pressure applied to the outside ski 20 at point 60. The turning edges are illustrated as cross-hatched edges in the drawing figures. In the illustration of FIG. 4, the turning edges are the medial edge 32, as well as the corresponding inside edge 38 of the split tip and the inside edge 46 of the split tail. As will be understood, if a skier were turning left, the converse would be true, with the inside edges of the right ski 50 being the turning edges. Furthermore, as will be recognized by one of skill in the art, if the ski is traveling over sufficiently hard-packed snow, when the skier rolls the ski on edge to execute a turn the corresponding inside edges may not be in contact with the snow, and thus the medial edge 32 may be the only turning edge in contact with the snow surface. Furthermore, in embodiments where the interior edges are not active edges, the medial edge 32 is the only turning edge. However, such a ski with split tips and/or a split tails may provide increased active edge hold and better carving performance by creating more torsional rigidity along the tip and tail portions of edge 32, as well as other benefits when used in such conditions, as discussed above.

As illustrated in the side elevation views of FIGS. 5A, 5B, the tip portions 34, 36 curve upward to help the skis ride over the surface of the snow. Each of the tails 42, 44 have a slight upward curve to help the skis ride over the surface of the snow. In other embodiments, the tails have an upturn approximately equivalent to that of the tips, and allow the skis to ski backward over the snow with relative ease.

While the skis of the embodiments of FIGS. 1-5 illustrate dual tips and dual tails, other embodiments of the invention provide differing numbers of tips and/or tails. For example, three or more tips and/or tails may be present, with each tip/tail having corresponding inside edges that may or may not be active edges. Such inside edges may have substantially similar curvature as the corresponding outside edges, similarly as described above. Furthermore, a ski may have a single tip and a split tail, or a single tail and a split tip. Additionally, as mentioned above, the invention is equally applicable to snowboards as well. FIGS. 6-10 illustrate just a few examples of such alternative embodiments. FIG. 6 illustrates a split tip and single tail. FIG. 7 illustrates a ski with three tips and three tails. FIG. 8 illustrates a ski with three tips and two tails. FIG. 9 illustrates a snowboard with two tips/tails. FIG. 10 illustrates a snowboard with three tips/tails. While the illustrations with respect to the above figures illustrate the gap between the split portions of the tips and/or tails to be open, it will be understood that this gap may be covered by a membrane, a flap that may be open to one or both sides, or even filled by a lighter weight and less rigid material, thus providing enhanced flexibility for the tail and tip portions while eliminating any holes in the ski or snowboard that may cause snow to spray out in an unwanted manner.

As mentioned above, asymmetrical skis have been known that have a short edge and a long edge that enhance turning for alpine and telemark skiing. However, the shorter edge of such skis are generally stiffer than the longer edge of the asymmetrical skis. As mentioned above, pressure is applied to a central portion along the length of the ski, resulting in the ski flexing about this pressure point, creating a curved edge that is in contact with the snow. As the ski slides, this curved edge carries the ski and skier in an arc that is defined by the curve. The shorter edge of traditional asymmetrical skis thereby have a shorter lever arm relative to the longer edge of the skis, and additional pressure per unit area is required to achieve the same turning radius. The result is thereby that the longer (less stiff) edge may be turned with relative ease, while the stiffer and shorter edge requires relatively more pressure to achieve the same turning radius. The present invention recognizes that when a skier is turning in alpine or the telemark posture, even with the marked improvement provided by asymmetrical skis, the requisite pressure may be somewhat difficult to place on the shorter ski edge. The present invention, in several embodiments, seeks to reduce the stiffness of the shorter edge of such asymmetrical skis to be proportional to the stiffness of the longer edge of the ski.

Referring now to FIG. 11, a top plan view of an asymmetrical ski 100 of an embodiment of the present invention is described. The ski 100 has a front tip section 101 and a rear tail section 102 that in this embodiment are both split, and are attached to a main body section 103. The ski 100 has a first lateral edge 110, and an opposing second lateral edge 120. The first and second lateral edges 110, 120, may also be referred to as a short edge 110 and a long edge 120, and are both active edges. In this embodiment, both the first and second lateral edges 110, 120 each have a concave, curved shape. This is referred to as side-cut, as discussed above. The first lateral edge 110 of the ski has a shorter length than the second lateral edge 120. In one embodiment, the first lateral edge 110 is about 6 inches shorter than the second lateral edge 120, although this length may change, and may be greater or less than 6 inches. In another embodiment, the first lateral edge is between about 2 and 14 inches shorter than the second lateral edge 120. The tip section 101, as mentioned above, is split in this embodiment and is shown in additional detail in FIG. 12. The stiffness in each edge may be engineered independently by using common techniques such as adding or subtracting laminates, changing the relative widths of each split tail, and altering the core thickness in each split tail. Similarly, the tips can have varying degrees of stiffness and flex in each split tip.

As illustrated in FIG. 12, the tip section 101 is split into two separate tips, or dual tips, 116 and 126. The first tip 116 has a corresponding inside edge 122, and the second tip 126 has a corresponding inside edge 112. In this embodiment, the inside edges 112, 122, are both active edges, although other embodiments exist where these edges are not active. The inside edge 112 has substantially the same curvature as the first lateral edge 110 for a substantial length of the inside edge 112. As illustrated in FIG. 12, this distance is marked as LF. Similarly, the inside edge 122 has the same curvature as the second lateral edge 120 for a substantial portion of the length of the inside edge 122, also in this embodiment marked as LF in FIG. 12. In this manner, the edges 110, 112 are substantially parallel to one another throughout the distance LF, and the edges 120, 122 are also substantially parallel to one another throughout the distance LF. Such a split tip 101, having active inside edges, enhances turning by providing the additional turning edge. As will be described in more detail below, when a skier rolls the ski onto lateral edge 110, the inside edge 112 also has pressure applied thereto, resulting in an additional turning edge. This additional turning edge 112 acts to effectively increase the length of the first lateral edge 110 during a turn. The second lateral edge 120 and inside edge 122 behave in a similar manner.

Referring now to FIG. 13, the tail portion of the ski of FIG. 11 is described in additional detail. The tail portion 102 has a first end 118 and a second end 128 that are split in a similar manner as the split tip 101. The first end 118 has an inside edge 124, and the second end 128 has an inside edge 114. In this embodiment, the inside edges 114, 124 are both active edges, although other embodiments exist where these edges are not active edges. The inside edge 114 has substantially the same curvature as the first lateral edge 110, and is substantially parallel to the lateral edge 110 throughout the distance LE1, and is also substantially parallel throughout the distance LE2 to an imaginary line that would be extended from lateral edge 110 through the end of the second end 128. The inside edge 124 of the first end 118 has substantially the same curvature as the second lateral edge 120, and is substantially parallel to the lateral edge 120 throughout the distance LE2. The first end 118 has a maximum width W1, and the second end 128 has a minimum width W2. In the embodiment of FIG. 13, the width W2 is greater than the width W1. The first end 118 is associated with the short lateral edge 110, and this reduced width W1 as compared to W2 results in the first end 118 being less stiff than the second end 128. This reduced stiffness results in the short lateral edge 110 overall having approximately the same stiffness as the long lateral edge 120. Stiffness may also be reduced by having a first end 118 that has a reduced thickness, different core material, and/or different laminate layers, relative to the second end. Such a split tail 102 thus enhances turning by providing a more flexible short lateral edge 110, as well as by providing additional turning edge in a similar manner as described with respect to the ski tip 101 portion. As will also be described in more detail below, when a skier rolls the ski onto lateral edge 110, the inside edge 114 also has pressure applied thereto, resulting in an additional turning edge. This additional turning edge 114 acts to effectively increase the length of the first lateral edge 110 during a turn. The second lateral edge 120 and inside edge 124 behave in a similar manner. While the illustrations of FIGS. 11-13 illustrate both a split tip section 101 and a split tail section 102, other embodiments provide only split tail sections, with the skis having a single tip section. Similarly, further embodiments provide only split tip sections with the skis having a single tail section, with the tail section being either asymmetrical or symmetrical. In still further embodiments, the gap between the two tails has a uniform width throughout the length of the gap.

Referring now to FIG. 14, a top plan view of a pair of telemark skis 100, 200 of an embodiment of the invention is described. FIGS. 15A and 15B are corresponding side elevation views of the skis of FIG. 14. Each ski 100, 200 has a corresponding tip portion 101, 201 and a corresponding tail portion 102, 202. Each ski also has bindings 150, 250, respectively, for securing the skier's boots to the skis. Similarly as described in FIGS. 11-13, each ski 100, 200 also has a first, or long, lateral edge 110, 210 and an opposing second, or short, lateral edge 120, 220, respectively. The short lateral edges 110, 210, as illustrated in FIG. 14, are positioned to be the outside edges while a skier is skiing. In this embodiment, each of the lateral edges of each ski are concave, curved shapes, similarly as described with respect to FIGS. 11-13. The short edge 110 of left ski 100 has a length, Lo, that is substantially shorter than the length, Li, of the long edge 120. Similarly, the short edge 210 of the right ski 200 has a length Lo substantially shorter than the length Li of its long edge 220. Generally, the medial edges 120, 220 of both skis 100, 200 have substantially the same length, Li, and the outer edges 110, 210 of both skis have substantially the same length, Lo, with the length Lo being substantially shorter than the length Li. In one embodiment of the present invention, the outer edges 110, 210 have a length, Lo, that is approximately two to fourteen inches shorter than the length Li of the medial edges 120, 220.

The tips 101, 201 of the skis, as described with respect to FIGS. 11 and 12, are split resulting in two distinct tip portions 116, 126 for the ski 100, and 216, 226 for the ski 200. As illustrated in the side elevational views of FIGS. 15A, 15B, the tip portions 101, 201 curve upward to help the skis ride over the surface of the snow. Each of the ski tip portions 101, 201 also have corresponding inner edges 112, 122 and 212, 222. The tail portion 102, 202 of the skis have an asymmetrical shape similarly as described with respect to FIGS. 11 and 13. The tail portion 102, 202 of each ski includes tail portions 118, 128 and 218, 228, similarly as described above. With reference to FIGS. 15A and 15B, each of the tail portions 118, 128 and 218, 228 have a slight upward curve to help the skis ride over the surface of the snow. In other embodiments, the tail portions have an upturn approximately equivalent to that of the tip portions, and allow the skis to ski backward over the snow with relative ease.

With reference now FIGS. 14-17, embodiments of the invention as used in asymmetrical skis and illustrating turns are described. While the illustrations of FIGS. 14-17 are described with respect to telemark turns, it will be understood that similar principals apply to alpine turns. Referring again to FIG. 14, the points of maximum side-cut on the medial and outer edges relative to binding 150, 250 and thus a skier's boot 160, 260 when engaged with the bindings 150, 250 are significantly different. The point of maximum side-cut 115 on the short edge of 110 of left ski 100 is generally adjacent to the toe area of the skier's left boot 160. Similarly, the point of maximum side-cut 225 on the short edge 210 of the right ski 200 is generally aligned with the toe area of the skier's right boot 260. In contrast, the point of maximum side-cut 125 on the long edge 120 of the left ski 100 is adjacent to the middle of the skier's left boot 160, and the point of maximum side-cut 215 on the long edge 220 of the right ski 200 is adjacent to the middle of the skier's right boot 260. Thus, the locations of the points of maximum side-cut corresponds to the shifting of the center of pressure exerted by the skier's boot 160, 260 while turning. The distance between these points of maximum side-cut as measured along the longitudinal axis of the ski is in the range of approximately one to ten inches in various embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a top plan view of a pair of asymmetrical skis 100, 200 in a right turn, and FIG. 17 is a corresponding top plan view of a left turn. As is understood, when telemark skiing, in order to execute a turn the skier positions the inside ski behind the outside ski so that the heel of the inside boot is raised off of the inside ski, as illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17. With reference now to FIG. 16, when making a right turn, pressure is applied by the skier to the inside ski 200 via the toe area of the inside boot 260, with the center of pressure applied to the inside ski 200 at the point 225. In contrast, the outside boot 160 remains flat against the outside ski 100, so that pressure is exerted over the entire area of the ski boot 160, with the center of pressure applied to the outside ski 100 at point 125. The turning edges are illustrated as bold edges in the drawing figures. In the illustration of FIG. 16, the turning edges are the medial edge 120 of the outside ski 100 and the outer edge 210 of the inside ski 200, as well as the corresponding inside edges of the split tips and tails. Namely, with respect to left ski 100, inside tip edge 122 and inside tail edge 124 are turning edges. With respect to right ski 200, inside tip edges 212 and inside tail edge 214 are also turning edges. In FIG. 16, each of the turning edges on both skis is designated as A for purposes of illustration. FIG. 17 is a similar illustration for a left turn, in which the skier's left boot 160 heel is lifted from the ski thereby applying pressure at point 115 on the left ski 100, and the skier's right boot 260 is flat against the right ski 200 applying a center of pressure at point 215. In such a left turn, the edges 110, 112, and 114 on the left ski 100 are turning edges, while edges 220, 222, and 224 are turning edges on the right ski 200. These turning edges are designated as B in FIG. 17 for purposes of illustration.

The present invention recognizes and accommodates for this difference in the centers of pressure for the inside and outside skis by aligning the point of maximum side-cut 115, 225 on the outer edge of the inside ski with the toe area of the inside boot, while the maximum side-cut 125, 215 on the medial edge of the outside ski is adjacent to the middle of the outside boot. In other words, the point of maximum side-cut 115, 225 on the outer edge of each ski is in front, that is closer to the ski tip, of the point of maximum side-cut 125, 215 on its medial edge. This configuration enables the center of pressure for each ski to remain aligned with the point of maximum side-cut for the active turning edge(s) of that ski, thereby providing enhanced stability and ease of turning. Furthermore, the additional active edges associated with the tip portions 101, 201 and the tail portions 102, 202 provide further turning edges, thereby enhancing stability of the skis and providing for easier turning. Additionally, because the tail portions 102, 202 of the skis have a split tail, the width of which is narrower for the outside tail portion, the shorter outside edge 110, 210 is less stiff than the medial edges 120, 220. This stiffness difference allows for even further stability and ease of turning. More specifically, looking at FIG. 16, the right ski 200 is the inside ski, while the left ski 100 is the outside ski in the turn. The skier positions the right ski 200 behind the left ski 100, so that the right knee is bent and the heel of the right boot is raised off the right ski 200. The turning edges are the right edges 120, 122, 124, 210, 212, 214 of both skis 100, 200. Pressure applied by the skier to the right ski 200 is exerted via the toe area of the right boot 260, which is adjacent to the point of maximum side-cut 225 on the short edge 210 of the right ski 200. The left boot 160 remains flat against the left ski 100, so that pressure is exerted over the entire area of the left ski boot 160. The point of maximum side-cut 125 on the long edge 120 of the left ski 100 is adjacent to the middle of the skier's left boot 160.

Similarly with respect to FIG. 17, when making a left turn the skier positions the left ski 100 behind the right ski 200, so that the left knee is bent and the heel of the left boot 160 is raised off of the left ski 100. The right boot 260 remains flat against the right ski 200. The turning edges are the left edges associated with each ski, namely edge 110, 112, 114, and 220, 222, 224. The point of maximum side-cut 115 on the short edge 110 of the left ski 100 is adjacent to the toe area of the skier's left boot 160. The point of maximum side-cut 215 on the long edge of the right ski 200 is adjacent to the middle of the skier's right boot 260.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various other changes in the form and details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.