Title:
Toboggan and snow tubing slide
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A slide for tobogganing or snow tubing has a mat, with a top layer (1) of felt-like material to hold water, and a bottom layer (2) of plastics material to protect the top layer (1) from dirt and leakage. Tubes (3) along the sides of the mat form banked side walls. A hose (4) with spaced outlets, sprays a compressed air/surfactant/water snow-like foam over the mat to produce a simulated snow surface (12).



Inventors:
Bucceri, Alfio (Newmarket, AU)
Application Number:
10/344718
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
02/14/2003
Assignee:
BUCCERI ALFIO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63G21/18; E01C13/12; (IPC1-7): A63J9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, KIEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hudak Shunk & Farine Company (Cuyahoga Falls, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A slide for tobogganing and snow tubing including: a mat having a top layer of felt-type material able to hold water and a bottom layer plastics material able to prevent leakage; banking means along the sides of the mat, to form respective banked side walls in the mat; and hose means along the sides of the mat, operable to spray a snow-like foam, artificial snow or water on to the mat to reduce friction to aid sliding on the mat.

2. A slide as claimed in claim 1 wherein: the top layer is constructed from woven polyester or polypropylene fibres or from geotextile materials, and is 1 to 5 millimetres thick; and the bottom layer is constructed from PVC material.

3. A slide as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein: the hose means extends along the sides and top of the mat, and has spaced nozzles to spray the snow-like foam, artificial snow or water onto the mat to create a fully-covered sliding area.

4. A slide as claimed n any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein: the banking means include flexible tubes, soil or bales of fibrous material, interposed between respective side portions of the top and bottom layers of the mat.

5. A slide as claimed in claim 3 wherein: a bottom wall, of waterproof material, co-operates with the banked side walls to form a sump at a lower end of the mat for the collection of the snow-like foam, artificial snow or water when the foam, snow or water melts.

6. A slide as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, and further including: a tank for a mixture of water and surfactant; a source of compressed air; a mixing vessel; pump means connecting the tank to the mixing vessel; an air line connecting the source of compressed air to the mixing vessel; and means interconnecting the mixing vessel to the hose means, to enable the mixture to be aerated or foamed in the mixing vessel before being sprayed onto the mat by the hose means.

7. A slide as claimed in claim 6, further including: tank means operable to collect water, or melted foam or snow as a water/surfactant mixture, from the sump; and second pump means operable to return the water, or mixture, to the mixing vessel.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] THIS INVENTION relates to a toboggan and snow tubing slide.

[0003] 2. Prior Art

[0004] When natural snow conditions are poor, it can be difficult to maintain toboggan and snow tubing slides at ski resorts.

[0005] In addition, there is no simple, efficient means for providing such slides on a temporary basis or where natural snow is not available.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved slide for tobogganing and snow tubing which can be used in a wide range of climate conditions without the requirement for snow. It is a preferred object to provide a slide which performs and looks like a snow-covered slope.

[0007] It is a further preferred object to provide a slide which employs a mat and a foaming product to produce the simulated snow surface. Other preferred objects will become apparent from the following description.

[0008] In a broad aspect, the present invention resides in a slide for tobogganing and snow tubing including:

[0009] a mat having a top layer of felt-type material able to hold water and a bottom layer of plastics material able to prevent leakage;

[0010] banking means along the sides of the mat, to form respective banked side walls in the mat; and

[0011] hose means along the sides of the mat, operable to spray a snow-like foam, artificial snow or water on to the mat to reduce friction to aid sliding on the mat.

[0012] Preferably, the top layer is constructed from woven polyester or polypropylene fibres or from geotextile materials. Preferably, the top layer is 1 to 5 millimetres thick.

[0013] Preferably, the bottom layer is constructed from PVC Preferably, the top and bottom layers are sewn or welded together.

[0014] Preferably, in one embodiment, the banking means includes soil or like material provided under the side walls of the mat. In a second embodiment, the banking means includes at least one flexible tube along the sides of the mat, between the top and bottom layers. Where two or more tubes are provided, they are preferably of increasing diameter towards the sides of the mat.

[0015] Preferably, the flexible tubes are constructed of plastics or like material. Preferably, the tubes are filled with water and/or air.

[0016] In a second embodiment, the banking material is soil.

[0017] In a third embodiment, the banking material includes:

[0018] fibrous material such as hay or straw, eg., in bale form.

[0019] Preferably, the hose means extend along the sides and top of the mat, and has nozzles, eg., spaced every 5 metres, to spray the snow-like foam onto the mat to create a fully-covered sliding area.

[0020] Products such as “SNOFOAM” or “FXSnow” (trade marks) are suitable surfactants for the production of the snow-like foam.

[0021] Preferably, the surfactant and water are premixed and pumped from a tank, to be mixed with air in a mixing vessel, before being pumped through the hose.

[0022] In alternative embodiments, artificial snow (eg., produced by the “PERMASNOW” (trade mark) process) or water may be sprayed onto the mat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] To enable the invention to be fully understood, preferred embodiments will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0024] FIG. 1 is a part-sectional, schematic view of a first embodiment of a slide in accordance with the invention;

[0025] FIG. 2 is a part-sectional, schematic view of a second embodiment;

[0026] FIG. 3 is a similar view of a third embodiment; and

[0027] FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of the lower end of the slide.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0028] Referring to FIG. 1, the slide 20 has a mat 21 (of any length and width) with a top layer 1, and a bottom layer 2, which are sewn or welded together. The top layer 1, which is preferably white in colour, is 1 to 5 mm thick and is made of woven polyester fibres, woven polypropylene fibres or geotextile fabric, and is designed to hold water.

[0029] The bottom layer 2 is of PVC material and protects the top layer 1 from dirt and leakage.

[0030] Along the sides of the mat 21, banking means, comprising flexible tubes 3 (eg., of different diameters), are provided between the top and bottom layers 1, 2, to form banked side walls. The tubes 3, of plastics or like material, are filled with water and/or air.

[0031] Along the sides, and top, of the mat 21, a hose 4 is provided to spray a white, snow-like foam 12, onto the mat, that simulates snow 13 and reduces friction to avoid sliding on the mat. The hose 4 preferably has outlets at, eg., 5 metre spacings to create a fully covered sliding area.

[0032] A tube 5 connects the hose 4 to a mixing vessel 6. Pump 8 introduces a pre-mixture of surfactant (eg., “SNOFOAM” or “FXSnow” (trade marks)) and water from a tank 11 to the mixing vessel 6, while air line 10 provides compressed air 7 to the mixing vessel 6. The compressed air/surfactant/water mixture is sprayed from the outlets in the hose 4 to produce the simulated snow surface 13 for tobogganing and snow tubing.

[0033] When not in use, the mat 21 can be easily rolled up for transport; and the mat can be fabricated to create bends for undulating ground.

[0034] Referring to FIG. 2, the flexible tubes 3 are replaced by soil 103 to form the banked side walls.

[0035] In FIG. 3, bales 203 of fibrous material, eg., hay or straw, are used to form the banked side walls.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 4, the snow as it melts forms to the lower end of the slide 20, where an end wall 22 (of waterproof, eg., plastics, material) co-operates with the side walls to form a sump 23. The melted liquid drawn-off via a drain pipe 24 to a collection tank 25, from which it can be pumped by pump 26, via return line 27, to the mixing vessel 6. This enables the water/surfactant mixture to be recycled—to both minimise operating costs and prevent/minimise environmental damage.

[0037] Various changes and modifications may be made to the embodiments described and illustrated without departing from the present invention.