Title:
Portable carrier apparatus
United States Patent 3893606


Abstract:
An improved portable ski carrier and an improved ski carrier rack assembly are provided. Both include a plurality of resilient flat ski holders, each holder having a ski support member including a pair of resilient legs to grip the sides of skis placed therebetween, and a ski pole support member in the form of a central member and a pair of arms spaced on opposite sides thereof and defining therebetween a pair of ski pole recesses. The ski support member and the ski pole support member extend from opposite sides of a transverse member. Ski and ski pole detents are included. The assembly also includes a pair of spaced channels which slideably receive the holders through releasable securing means of the latter such as configured lower ends on the holders mating with the channel configurations. Preferably the holders fit on the channels such that the transverse member is along the longitudinal axis of the channel.



Inventors:
HOFMANN GARY L
Application Number:
05/400850
Publication Date:
07/08/1975
Filing Date:
09/26/1973
Assignee:
HOFMANN; GARY L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/70.5, 224/319, 224/917, 224/917.5, 280/814, 294/147, 294/148
International Classes:
B60R9/12; (IPC1-7): B60R7/00
Field of Search:
224/45S,42
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3756420SKI AND POLE CARRIER1973-09-04Brown
3683462HOLDING CLIPS1972-08-15Voigh
3626553N/A1971-12-14Darney et al.
3342388Ski carrier1967-09-19Duckworth
3275160Clamping device for skis1966-09-27Zurker
2956813Ski rack1960-10-18Madden
2746628Ladder support1956-05-22Neyra
2049568Egg case carrier1936-08-04Martin



Primary Examiner:
Spar, Robert J.
Assistant Examiner:
Noland, Kenneth
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bissell, Henry M.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. An improved ski carrier rack assembly, said assembly comprising a pair of racks which define longitudinally spaced channels and at least one pair of ski holders, each of said holders including:

2. The improved ski carrier rack assembly of claim 1 wherein said holder includes a transverse member, wherein said ski pole support member is integral with said ski support member, wherein said legs depend from said transverse member, and wherein said central member and said arms extend upwardly from said transverse member.

3. The improved ski carrier rack assembly of claim 2 wherein said holder is generally flat, wherein said central members includes transverse ski pole detents extending outwardly from opposite sides thereof adjacent the upper end thereof.

4. The improved ski carrier rack assembly of claim 3 wherein the lower ends of said ski detents are configured to slideably mate with said channel whereby said depending resilient legs are held against displacement longitudinally of said channel so as to prevent removal of said skis from said holder.

5. The improved ski carrier rack assembly of claim 4 wherein said lower detent ends are configured along the length thereof such that each of said holders is slideably receivable on said channel with said transverse member parallel to the longitudinal axis of said channel.

6. The improved ski carrier rack assembly of claim 1 further including means for locking the channels against release of the holders therefrom, thereby preventing the release of the skis from said holders and the holders from said assembly while the locking means is locked.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to carrier and retaining apparatus and more particularly to ski and ski pole carriers of both portable and fixed types.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Fixed cartop ski carriers generally are bulky and expensive and may project a considerably distance from the vehicle, causing some wind resistance and loss of gasoline mileage and also constituting a safety hazard, particularly those types connected to the rear surfaces of an automobile.

Normally, portable ski carriers are not used. Instead the skis and ski poles are thrown over the skier's shoulders and carried in that manner until used. Because of their size and number, however, they are inconvenient to carry and reduce the effective carrying capacity of the skier. He must in many instances use both hands to steady the skis and poles to prevent them from striking and damaging each other or from colliding with other skiers while he is carrying the skis.

Some skiers arrange to carry the skis and poles in a bundle by sliding the skis through the wrist straps of the poles (the poles being reversed relative to each other) but this is awkward and unsatisfactory as a general solution to this problem. The skis are susceptible to sliding out of position and undue wear and strain may be placed on the ski pole wrist straps.

Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide portable and fixed types of ski and ski pole carriers which would be simple, inexpensive and durable and would overcome the foregoing difficulties and inconveniences.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is substantially as set forth in the Abstract above, which is incorporated herein by reference. The invention overcomes the foregoing difficulties and inconveniences in that the carrier of the invention and the assembly are simple, durable and inexpensive and can be easily used. Thus, hand-carrying of the skis and ski poles can be performed safely and easily; so also is transportation of the skis and ski poles on vehicle mounts rendered simpler and more effective. The portable apparatus may be locked in the cartop rack so that mounting of the ski carrier with the skis in the rack renders the skis theft-proof. Skis and ski poles can be hand-carried in one hand by a skier using the hand carrier of the invention, so that the other hand is free to carry baggage, etc. Moreover, the fixed carrier rack assembly assures maximum protection of the skis with minimum wind resistance and no obstruction of the driver's view. The skis and ski poles can be removed intact along with the portable carrier from the fixed carrier rack and can be carried via the ski poles while still in the portable carrier. When carried in such fashion, the ski poles serve as a convenient handle. Accordingly, speed and ease in storing, transporting and handling of the skis and poles is increased.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

A better understanding of the present invention may be gained from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 schematically depicts in front elevation one particular embodiment of a ski holder in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 schematically depicts in side elevation a lower portion of the holder of FIG. 1 with mating car top carrier channel;

FIG. 3 schematically depicts in perspective view a portion of one embodiment of a channel utilized in the improved ski rack assembly of the present invention;

FIG. 4 schematically depicts in reduced size a preferred embodiment of the improved car top mounted ski rack assembly of the present invention with a pair of skis and a pair of ski poles in place in the assembly;

FIG. 5 schematically depicts in front elevation a portion of another preferred embodiment of a ski holder in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 6 schematically depicts in side elevation a lower portion of the ski holder of FIG. 5 with mating car top carrier channel; and

FIG. 7 depicts in front elevation yet another embodiment of a ski holder in accordance with the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In FIG. 1 of the drawings, a particular embodiment of a ski holder 10 is depicted. It will be understood that the improved portable ski carrier of the invention comprises two or more of such holders. Holder 10 is not only used in the portable ski carrier of the invention but also in the fixed ski carrier rack assembly of the invention.

Holder 10 comprises a lower ski support member 12 and an upper ski pole support member 14. Member 12 includes a transverse member 16 and a pair of spaced, depending resilient legs 18. Legs 18 are spaced from each other a distance sufficient to releasably grip the sides of one or a pair of skis when placed in the space 20 therebetween. The lower ends of legs 18 are reflected towards each other to form a pair of transversely aligned spaced detents 22.

Legs 18 are sufficiently resilient so that detents 22 can be moved apart far enough to permit skis to be placed up into space 20 and to be removed down and out of space 20, as illustrated by the phantom portion in the lower right-hand corner of FIG. 1. The vertical distance between the upper end of detents 22 and the lower end of member 16 is sufficient to accommodate a pair of skis placed back to back. For example, space 20 may be about 1.5 inches high and about 3.25 inches wide. The camber of the skis causes the skis to resiliently bear against detents 22 and member 16 to hold the skis firmly in place in space 20, as shown schematically in FIG. 4.

Preferably, member 16, legs 18 and detents 22 are integral and are formed of a suitable light-weight resilient material such as extrudable polyethylene plastic, fiber-reinforced nylon, polycarbonate or the like capable of retaining its resiliency at low temperatures, for example to -40°, below the temperatures commonly encountered under ordinary skiing conditions.

Ski pole support member 14 includes a central upstanding member 24 and a pair of resilient arms 26 closely spaced outwardly from member 24 on opposite sides thereof and defining therebetween a pair of ski pole recesses 28. Control member 24 includes adjacent its upper end a pair of bar-like outwardly extending detents 30 which prevent ski poles, when retained in recesses 28, from inadvertently exiting those recesses. Preferably, arms 26 adjacent their outer extremities may closely underly detents 30 to assure retention of ski poles such as 48 in recesses 28. Arms 26 also may terminate in rounded finger grips 32 which extend beyond detents 30 and facilitate the releasable bending of arms 26 away from member 24 when it is desired to insert ski poles in recesses 28 or to remove them from those recesses. The arms 26 are sufficiently resilient that they grip the ski pole 48 in place in the holder 10 by virtue of being displaced from normal position as indicated in phantom outline in the upper portion of FIG. 1.

Member 24 and arms 26 have a common base 34, the lower end of which is secured to the upper surface of transverse member 16 and preferably is integral therewith. Ski pole support member 14 preferably is formed of the same resilient material as that utilized for ski support member 12. Most preferably, all components of holder 10 are integral and the entire holder can be formed by molding, as by extrusion or the like. The resiliency of arms 26 should be sufficient at low temperatures to permit easy insertion of ski poles into and removal of ski poles from recesses 28 during skiing conditions.

Recesses 28 are positioned far enough above space 20 so that there is no contact between ski bindings of skis when in space 20 with ski poles when in recesses 28. In this regard ski bindings normally do not project more than about 2 inches above the surface of skis. Accordingly, recesses 28 normally are about 2.25 or more inches above the upper end of space 20 in holder 10. Such ski bindings have the useful function of preventing skis when in space 20 from slipping therefrom, since the findings of the pair of skis in space 28 will bear against the front or back of detents 22 and member 16.

Holder 10 may be made relatively flat and thin, as shown in FIG. 2, for example about 0.375 inch in thickness and, accordingly, can be very light in weight and easily stored in the skier's pocket when not in use. Overall dimensions may be, for example, about 5 inches by 4 inches by 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

A portable ski and ski pole carrier in accordance with the invention can be provided merely through the use of two or more of the holders 10 disposed at spaced intervals along the length of a pair of skis and a pair of ski poles, i.e. when the skis (preferably back to back) are in place in space 20 and the ski poles are in place in recesses 28 (with the ski pole baskets at opposite ends to avoid interference), the carrier holds the skis and ski poles rigid, and such carrier can be hand carried easily in one hand merely by gripping the ski poles.

Holder 10 can be also provided with a configured lower end to serve as means for releasably attaching holder 10 to a channel or the like to affix holder 10 in a fixed ski rack assembly in accordance with the invention. Thus, as shown in FIG. 2, detents 22 can be provided with a pair of aligned side grooves 36 to define a narrow central post 38 connected at its lower and upper ends to the full width of the detent. A mating channel 40, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, can be provided with a slot 42 along the length of the upper surface thereof, slot 42 corresponding to but slightly more than the width of post 38. Slot 42 leads to a generally rectangular (in cross section) space 44 extending the length of channel 40 and corresponding to the shape and a slightly greater size than portion 46 of detent 22 below post 38, so that sliding engagement of portion 46 and post 38 can be made in space 44 and slot 42, respectively. With this arrangement, member 16 lies along the longitudinal axis of channel 40 when holder 10 is releasably retained by channel 40. Channel 40 can be of a length sufficient to accommodate one or more holders 10 for the carrying of one or more pairs of skis.

When it is desired to utilize the fixed ski carrier rack assembly of the invention, two channels 40 are spaced a suitable distance apart, for example, 2 feet or so, and parallel to each other. Each is then secured to a portion of a car body or other vehicle to a luggage rack 47 (as shown in FIG. 4) or to molding, etc. already secured to the car body. Usually, channels 40 are mounted across the top of the car so that the skis and poles will extend along the length of the car top and slightly above it.

Each channel 40 is then fitted with one or a plurality of holders 10, as described. A pair of holders 10 can be first loaded with a pair of skis and a pair of ski poles, and this filled carrier can then be slid into the pair of channels 40. While the holders 10 are mounted in the channel 40, the skis cannot be removed since the legs 18 and feet or detents 22 are held closed by the channel 40 and cannot be displaced sufficiently to clear the skis for removal from the holder 10. Thus, by mounting a padlock through holes 45 (One pair at each end of the channel 40), the skis and holders 10 are rendered theft-proof while being easily removable when the locks are removed.

A typical arrangement of a ski carrier rack assembly of the invention is shown schematically in FIG. 4. In FIG. 4, a pair of channels 40 are shown mounted on crossbars of luggage rack 47. Two holders 10 are used, one mounted in each channel 40, for each pair of skis. Two ski poles 48 are placed, preferably in reversed juxtaposition, in the upper part of each holder 10 while the lower part of each holder 10 releasably retains a pair of skis 50 placed back to back.

The assembly of FIG. 4 is inexpensive, compact, light, safely retains the skis and ski poles against loss or damage, provides low wind resistance and is easy to use. The holders 10, skis 50, and ski poles 48 can be removed as a unit from channels 40 and hand carried as a unit without any reassembly. When the skis 50 are removed from space 40 by separating legs 18 and the ski poles 48 are removed from recesses 28 by bending arms 26, holders 10 can be stored in the skier's pocket or the like until they are to be reused.

FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate a minor variation of the holder and channel of FIGS. 1 and 2 comprising another embodiment of the invention. In these figures, the lower portion 12A of the holder includes a leg 18A and foot 22A. Extending transversely along the sides of the foot 22A are a pair of outwardly projecting ridges 62 which are provided in place of the slots 36 (FIG. 2). A mating configuration for the channel 40A is provided in which recessed slots 64 with a lower groove 66 and an upper narrowed slot 68 are provided to accommodate the configuration of the foot 22A and projecting ridges 62. With such a configuration, the holder can be constructed with a thinner or slimmer shape, without unduly reducing the strength of the holder by the slots 36 (FIG. 2). Except for the variation noted, the structure and function of the embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 are identical to what is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 7 illustrates yet another embodiment in accordance with the invention wherein space is provided for locking the skis in edgewise vertical orientation instead of the horizontal orientation as provided in FIG. 1. In the embodiment of FIG. 7, a holder 70 is provided having a lower portion 72 for holding a pair of skis and an upper portion 74 for holding a pair of ski poles. The lower portion 72 has downwardly depending outer legs 76 terminating in foot portions 78 which are directed inward toward each other. The portion 72 also includes a central leg portion 80 which terminates at its lower end in a hammer-shaped foot portion 82 having ends directed toward the respective foot portions 78. The foot portions 78 and 82 are separated from each other by a slight space. A latching closure member 84 is provided to retain the foot portion 78 in fixed relative juxtaposition when the holder 70 is in use. This latching member 84 is in the form of a shaped plate having a hole at one end secured to the left-hand foot 78 by means of a screw or rivet 86 around which the member 84 is pivotable. Near its other end it is provided with a slot for engaging a screw or rivet 88 secured to the right-hand foot 78. To release the latching member 84, it is pivoted about the screw or rivet 86 until it clears the screw or rivet 88, at which time the feet 78 and legs 76 may be deflected outwardly from each other to release the skis therefrom or to insert them into the holder 70. Resilient elements 90, such as a pair of rubber tips, are mounted as shown on a central leg 80 to resiliently bear against the skis when they are in position between the leg 80 and each outer leg 76.

The upper portion 74 of the holder 70 has upper and lower T-shaped members 92 with outwardly extending arm portions 94, 96 which are respectively displaceable relative to each other so as to admit ski poles into the space between the arms or to release them therefrom. The ski poles serve effectively as a handle for the entire assembly of holders 70, skis contained therein and ski poles. They may be readily carried in such an assembly without any likelihood that either the skis or ski poles will become disengaged therefrom, even if the entire assembly is dropped or happens to get away from the skier to slide down hill. As with the arrangements of FIGS. 1, 2, and 5, 6, respectively, the holder 70 of FIG. 7 is provided with a retainer configuration, such as the slots 99 (which may, if desired, be projecting ridges) for retaining the holders with their skis in a channel such as 40 mounted on top of a car or other vehicle, or even fixed in position along a wall for permanent storage.

Accordingly, an improved portable ski carrier and an improved ski carrier rack assembly are provided which have the advantage of improved utility and simplicity as well as low cost and protection against theft. Various other advantages are as set forth in the foregoing.

Various modifications, changes and alterations can be made in the improved portable ski carrier, improved ski carrier rack assembly and their components. All such modifications, changes and alterations as are within the scope of the appended claims form part of the present invention.