Title:
Ski pole discs for imparting information and images
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disc for attachment to a ski pole provides snow resistance and imparts information. The disc includes a lower surface configured to form an image in the snow that imparts information to a person viewing the formed image, an upper surface, which may also impart information to a person viewing that surface, and a hole configured to receive an end of the ski pole to attach the disc to the ski pole.



Inventors:
Fleming, Larry E. (Sand Springs, OK, US)
Application Number:
11/015559
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
12/17/2004
Assignee:
SNOW STAMPS L.L.C. (Tulsa, OK, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C11/24
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Primary Examiner:
EBNER, KATY MEYER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Venable LLP (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A disc for attachment to a ski pole to provide snow resistance and impart information, the disc comprising: a lower surface of the disc configured to form an image in the snow that imparts information to a person viewing the formed image; an upper surface of the disc; and a hole configured to receive an end of the ski pole to attach the disc to the ski pole.

2. A disc attachable to a ski pole to impart information, the disc comprising: a lower surface of the disc; an upper surface of the disc configured to impart information to a person viewing the upper surface; and a hole configured to receive an end of the ski pole to attach the disc to the ski pole.

3. The disc of claim 1, wherein the upper surface of the disc is configured to impart information to a person viewing the upper surface.

4. The disc of claim 3, wherein the information is imparted by at least a text portion.

5. The disc of claim 3, wherein the information is imparted by at least a pictorial portion.

6. The disc of claim 3, wherein the information is imparted by at least a text portion and a pictorial portion.

7. The disc of claim 3, wherein the imparted information is at least one of commercial information, advertising, and political information.

8. The disc of claim 3, wherein the imparted information is at least one of religious information, sports-related information, nonsensical information, humorous information, entertainment information, style information, and fashion information.

9. The disc of claim 3, wherein the imparted information is at least one of personal identification, organizational identification, and team identification information.

10. The disc of claim 3, wherein the information comprises a logo.

11. The disc of claim 3, wherein the disc is attached to the ski pole using a cylindrical insert configured to fit within the hole in the disc.

12. A ski pole comprising the disc of claim 3.

13. A method of imparting information using a disc attachable to a ski pole to provide snow resistance and impart information, the method comprising: selecting the disc based on a configuration of a lower surface of the disc, the lower surface forming an image in the snow that imparts information to a person viewing the formed image; and attaching the disc to the ski pole.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the disc is attached to the ski pole using a cylindrical insert configured to fit within a hole in the disc.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising selecting the disc based on a configuration of an upper surface of the disc, wherein the upper surface imparts information to a person viewing the upper surface.

16. The method of claim 13, further comprising: thrusting the ski pole into a snow surface; and lifting the ski pole so as to leave an information-imparting image in the snow surface.

17. A method of imparting information using a disc attachable to a ski pole to provide snow resistance and impart information, the method comprising: selecting the disc based on a configuration of an upper surface of the disc, wherein the upper surface imparts information to a person viewing the upper surface; and attaching the disc to the ski pole.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the disc is attached to the ski pole using a cylindrical insert configured to fit within the hole in the disc.

19. The method of claim 17, further comprising displaying the ski pole to a viewer.

20. A method of advertising, comprising: forming a ski pole disc having an advertising image on a lower surface of the disc, the lower surface being configured to impress the advertising image in the snow; and providing the ski pole disc to a user, wherein the ski pole disc is removably attachable to a ski pole by the user.

21. A method of advertising, comprising: forming a ski pole disc having an advertising image on an upper surface of the disc, the upper surface being configured to impart the advertising image to a person viewing the upper surface; and providing the ski pole disc to a user, wherein the ski pole disc is removably attachable to a ski pole by the user.

22. The method of advertising of claim 21, wherein the ski pole disc also has an advertising image on a lower surface of the disc, the lower surface being configured to impress the advertising image in the snow.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/609,673, filed Sep. 13, 2004, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a ski pole disc for use on a ski pole that functions to provide snow resistance when a skier thrusts the pole into the snow, while forming or imprinting an information-imparting image in the snow and/or having an information-imparting upper surface. The invention also relates to methods of imparting information and advertising.

2. Related Art

Ski poles are used by snow skiers to help balance themselves as they ski over uneven terrain or around curves. A conventional ski pole has a lower end and a top end having a handle area by which the ski pole is manipulated by the user. A disc, sometimes referred to as a basket or wheel, is employed near the lower end of the ski pole to provide snow resistance, and thus a measure of support, when the user thrusts the pole into snow.

Various geometrical designs have been employed for ski pole discs. The typical disc is circular, with a hub, an outer rim, and integral radial ribs or spokes. The hub may be plastic, metal, rubber, or the like and may be pivotally mounted to the ski pole. The rim may be plastic, metal, or similar materials, and the ribs are typically plastic or rubber. Examples of this general type of configuration are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,163,437 (Phillipson); U.S. Pat. No. 3,199,886 (Dover); U.S. Pat. No. 3,250,545 (Cameron); U.S. Pat. No. D169,644 (Weiss); and U.S. Pat. No. D196,847 (Miller). These conventional designs suffer from certain disadvantages. For example, they tend to be rather heavy and expensive to manufacture, provide a relatively small snow resistance, and are subject to getting caught on obstacles, such as branches and twigs. In addition, these discs are not useful for forming information-imparting images in the snow. Nor do these discs provide an information-imparting upper surface.

Other designs have sought to overcome the disadvantages discussed above by employing a largely solid disc, as shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,743,311 (Giambazi); U.S. Pat. No. D279,024 (Nordgren et al.); U.S. Pat. No. D302,288 (Filice); U.S. Pat. No. D315,591 (Ehlert); U.S. Pat. No. D316,132 (Ehlert); U.S. Pat. No. D343,217 (Jarvinen); and U.S. Pat. No. D351,887 (Zimmerman). The solid discs tend to provide greater snow resistance due in part to their shape and larger surface area. However, these discs also are not useful for forming information-imparting images in the snow or imparting information to a viewer of a top surface of the disc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention provides a disc for attachment to a ski pole to provide snow resistance and impart information. The disc includes a lower surface configured to form an image in the snow that imparts information to a person viewing the formed image, an upper surface, which also may impart information to a person viewing that surface, and a hole configured to receive an end of the ski pole to attach the disc to the ski pole. The invention also provides methods of imparting information and advertising.

Embodiments of the present invention may include one or more of the following features. The imparted information may be at least one of commercial information, advertising, political information, personal identification, organizational identification, and team identification information. The formed image may include a text portion and/or a pictorial portion. The formed image also may include a logo. A ski pole may be provided that includes the disc.

These and other objects, features and advantages will be apparent from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric illustration of a skier moving on skis over a snow surface and employing ski poles in both her left and right hands.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a butterfly formed in a snow surface by the ski pole disc of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of the lower surface of a ski pole disc, wherein an image representing a butterfly is formed in the snow surface each time the disc contacts the snow surface.

FIG. 4 is an elevational, slightly isometric side view of the ski pole disc of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an end view, slightly isometric of the ski pole disc of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a top view of an alternate design of a ski pole disc secured to the lower end portion of a ski pole, the ski pole being shown broken away.

FIG. 7 is an isometric bottom view of a ski pole disc as affixed to the lower end portion of a ski pole with the ski pole shown broken away.

FIG. 8 is an isometric, exploded top view of a ski pole disc and insert.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to the drawings and first to FIG. 1, an example of the use of the image-imparting ski pole disc of this invention is illustrated. FIG. 1 shows a typical skier 10 having skis 12 and moving over a snow surface 14. The skier 10 is shown using two ski poles 16, 18, one in each hand. The ski poles 16, 18 are elongated and have an upper end portion 20 and a lower end portion 24. Affixed to each of the ski poles 16, 18, at the lower end portion 24, is an image-imparting ski pole disc 26.

In the illustration of FIG. 1, each of the ski pole discs 26 imprints the snow surface 14 with an image that imparts information to someone viewing the image. The imparted information conveyed in the image may include, for example, commercial information, advertising, political information, religious information, sports-related information, nonsensical or humorous information, entertainment, style or fashion information, personal, organizational, or team identification information, etc. The image may include a likeness of a person, animal or object, and/or text, e.g., letters, numbers, words, and phrases. For example, the image may be a commercial image, e.g., a logo, with or without accompanying text, such as a name or trademark.

In the arrangement of FIG. 1 each of the ski pole discs 26 is configured to form an image in the snow surface 14, each time the disc engages a snow surface, e.g., an image of a butterfly. That is, an imprinted image 28 is formed each time a ski pole disc 26 contacts a snow surface 14 that gives the visual impression of a butterfly. In this way, skier 10 leaves identification information along her ski tracks 30 that would help enable a skier following to identify the individual who has been along the same route previously.

FIG. 2 is an enlargement of one of the imprints 28 formed in snow surface 14.

FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 show more details of the ski pole disc 26 and shows end and side edges. FIG. 3 shows specifically the bottom surface 32 of ski pole disc 26. The ski pole disc 26 is formed by a bottom surface that is defined by an outer circumferential edge 34 that outlines the shape of the image that is to be imprinted in the snow surface. In this example, the circumferential edge 34 outlines the shape of a butterfly.

Formed in bottom surface 32 are a plurality of contoured recesses 36 configured to form the imprint of the intended image when the ski disc contacts snow surface 14. The recesses 36 vary in size, shape, contour, depth, and so forth, so that taken together they form a contoured bottom surface within a peripheral edge 34 that forms an image-imparting imprint when the ski pole disc contacts a snow surface. Alternatively, the imprint of the intended image may be formed by bottom surface 32 having contoured raised surfaces that act to compact the snow to form corresponding contours in the snow surface.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show an alternative embodiment of an image-imparting ski pole disc, in this case identified by the numeral 38. FIG. 6 shows the lower end portion 24 of a ski pole 18 having a ski pole disc 38 secured thereto. The ski pole disc 38 in FIGS. 6 and 7 is intended to provide an imprinted image in a snow surface that includes both a text portion and a pictorial portion. In this instance, the pictorial portion of the image is formed by recesses 40 of the ski pole disc 38 outlined by circumferential edge 34 that depicts the head of a horse. The text portion of the image is formed by other recesses 42 in the ski pole disc bottom surface that form the imprint of letters in the snow surface, and in this case the letters form the word “BRONCOS.”

The ski pole disc of FIGS. 6 and 7 demonstrates how the lower contoured surface of the ski pole disc can employ both text portions and pictorial portions to provide an image indicative of an athletic team, such as a logo. This embodiment further illustrates that the upper surface of the disc also may be used to impart information. For example, the “BRONCOS” logo on the upper surface will be visible to others as the skier is waiting in a lift line or using a chair lift to reach the top of the ski slope. In one embodiment, only the upper surface of the disc is configured to impart information.

Ski pole discs can be secured to the lower end of ski poles in a number of ways. For example, the disc may have a central opening 44 therethrough that receives the lower end portion 24 of a ski pole 18. The ski pole 18 may be tapered, and the disc opening 44 may have a corresponding taper, so that when the lower end of a ski pole is inserted into the ski pole disc, the ski pole disc is held in place by frictional engagement. FIG. 7 shows the lower end portion 24 of a ski pole extending through the ski pole disc 38 and through opening 44 therein, with the lower end 46 of the ski pole extending beyond the bottom surface of the ski pole disc.

As shown in FIG. 8, an insert 50 may be provided that fits into the central opening 44 of the ski pole disc 38 to enable the disc to be firmly engaged with the lower end portion 24 of the ski pole 18. The insert 50 may be a hollow cylinder with longitudinal slots 52 at one end to provide flexibility, so that it can be inserted into the central opening 44 of the disc 38. The ends of the insert may have circumferential rims 54 that are larger in diameter than the central opening 44 to allow the insert to lock into position in the disc 38. Once the insert 50 is installed in the disc 38, the lower end portion 24 of the ski pole 18 is inserted through in the center 56 of the insert 50. Because ski poles vary in diameter and shape, inserts of various sizes and configurations may be provided with each disc to allow the disc to be installed on a variety of different ski poles.

There are numerous systems for removably securing a ski pole disc 38 to the lower end 24 of a ski pole 18, and it is understood that the present invention can employ any known attachment method. Further, the ski pole disc of the present invention may be more or less permanently secured to the lower end portion of ski poles, instead of being removable. However, in the preferred arrangement, the ski pole discs are designed for replaceable use in combination with ski poles, so that the owner of a set of ski poles can have more than one set of ski pole discs to selectively impart different images. The disc 38 may be removed by applying a downward force and possibly a twisting force to the disc 38 and insert 50 assembly and sliding the assembly off the lower end 24 of the ski pole 18.

The replaceable nature of the ski pole disc allows the user to periodically change the disc in accordance with the user's tastes. For example, a particular disc may be selected to mark an occasion, such as a win by a favorite sports team. As a further example, discs having advertising images may be sold to or given to skiers or may be attached to rental ski poles to encourage skiers to disseminate advertising information.

As noted above, the present invention includes methods of imparting information using a disc attachable to a ski pole. In certain embodiments, the disc is selected based on a configuration of a lower surface of the disc, which forms an image in the snow that imparts information to a person viewing the formed image. Other embodiments may include thrusting the ski pole into a snow surface, and lifting the ski pole, so as to leave the information-imparting image in the snow surface. Alternatively, the disc may be selected for attachment to the ski pole based on a configuration of an upper surface of the disc, which imparts information to a person viewing the upper surface, or based on the configuration of both the upper and lower surfaces.

The present invention also includes methods of advertising, in which a ski pole disc is formed having an advertising image on a lower surface of the disc. The lower surface is configured to impress the advertising image in the snow. The ski pole disc is provided to a user and is removably attached to a ski pole by the user. Alternatively, the ski pole disc may be formed to have an advertising image on an upper surface of the disc, which is configured to impart the advertising image to a person viewing the upper surface, or on both the upper and lower surfaces.

While the present invention has been described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. To the contrary, the invention is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.