Title:
ACCESSORY MOUNTING PLATE FOR SNOWBOARDS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snowboard system (100) includes a pack (102) mounted to a snowboard (104) by way of a mounting plate (106). The pack (102) is attached to the mounting plate (106). The mounting plate (106) is then mounted on the snowboard (104) using the binding fasteners. Specifically, the bindings are removed from the snowboard (104), and the mounting plate (106) is then placed on the snowboard (104) so that the openings of the mounting plate are aligned with the fastener receptacles of the snowboard (104). The bindings are then reattached to the snowboard (104) so that the mounting plate (106) is captured therebetween. In this manner, the pack (102) is secured to the snowboard (104) without any additional mounting structure.



Inventors:
Stewart III, Willy Edward (Boulder, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/781761
Publication Date:
01/29/2009
Filing Date:
07/23/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C11/00; A63C9/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GURARI, EREZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Marsh Fischmann & Breyfogle LLP (Lakewood, CO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A snowboard apparatus, comprising: a snowboard; first and second bindings, mounted on said snowboard, for engaging footwear of a snowboarder; and a mounting plate for use in mounting an accessory to said snowboard, said mounting plate including a first portion disposed between said snowboard and at least one of said first and second bindings such that said mounting plate is thereby secured to said snowboard, and a second portion, laterally extending from said at least one of said first and second bindings, to provide a surface for mounting of said accessory.

2. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said second portion of said mounting plate is disposed between said first and second bindings.

3. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said mounting plate extends from said first binding to said second binding.

4. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said mounting plate is captured between said first binding and said snowboard and between said second binding and said snowboard.

5. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said mounting plate further comprises a plurality of openings for passage of a plurality of binding fasteners there through.

6. The apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said openings are preformed.

7. The apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein said openings are configured to allow passage of binding fasteners of multiple different bindings.

8. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein said openings are slot-shaped having a major axis extending along a major axis of said snowboard.

9. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising said accessory, said accessory being mounted on said mounting plate.

10. The apparatus as set forth in claim 9, wherein said accessory comprises a storage container.

11. The apparatus as set forth in claim 9, wherein said accessory comprises straps for use in carrying said snowboard.

12. An apparatus for use in connection with a snowboard assembly, said snowboard assembly comprising a snowboard and first and second bindings, mounted on said snowboard, for engaging footwear of a snowboarder, said apparatus comprising: a mounting plate including a first portion disposed between said first binding and said snowboard, a second portion disposed between said second binding and said snowboard and a third portion extending between said first and second portions; and a storage container mounted on said third portion of said mounting plate.

13. The apparatus as set forth in claim 12, wherein said mounting plate is captured between said first binding and said snowboard and between said second binding and said snowboard.

14. The apparatus as set forth in claim 12, wherein said mounting plate further comprises a plurality of openings for passage of a plurality of binding fasteners therethrough.

15. The apparatus as set forth in claim 14, wherein said openings are configured to allow passage of binding fasteners of multiple different bindings.

16. The apparatus as set forth in claim 12, wherein said storage container includes straps for use in carry said snowboard.

17. A method for use in securing an accessory to a snowboard assembly, said snowboard assembly comprising a snowboard and first and second bindings for engaging footwear of a snowboarder, said method comprising: providing a mounting plate; mounting said accessory on a first portion of said mounting plate; and disposing a second portion of said mounting plate between said first binding and said snowboard so that said mounting plate is captured therebetween.

18. The method as set forth in claim 17, further comprising the step of disposing a third portion of said mounting plate between said second binding at said snowboard so that said mounting plate is captured therebetween.

19. The method as set forth in claim 17, wherein said step of disposing comprises inserting a fastener through said binding and through said mounting plate into said snowboard to secure said mounting plate to said snowboard.

20. A method for use in carrying a snowboard assembly, said snowboard assembly comprising a snowboard and a storage container secured to said snowboard, said method comprising the steps of: opening said storage container; deploying carrying straps from said storage container; and using said straps to carry said snowboard assembly.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to snowboards and, in particular, to equipping snowboards with accessories for storage and/or carrying the snowboard.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Snowboarders may pack a variety of items for use during a snowboard outing. For example, a snowboarder may wish to pack tools, sunscreen, food and drink, and additional clothing and eyewear options. Storage is particularly important for backcountry snowboarders who need to be prepared for weather changes and may also need avalanche beacons, collapsible shovels and other survival gear.

Carrying such gear can be inconvenient, especially for backcountry snowboarders. Such backcountry snowboarders may need to hike a significant distance to a desired snowboarding location. During the ascent, the snowboarder needs to carry the snowboard in addition to all of the required gear. Then, during descent, the snowboarder may need to carry equipment used during the hike in addition to the other gear.

Snowboarders have typically worn backpacks to carry the gear and, in some cases, have been able to somehow attach the snowboard to the backpack during the ascent. However, such attachment of the snowboard to the backpack may not be secure. In addition, some snowboarders are bothered by wearing sometimes heavy or bulky packs during descent. Wearing packs may bother even snowboarders in ski areas. This provides a significant disincentive to bringing gear that may be needed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a mounting plate for mounting accessories on a snowboard, as well as to a snowboard with mounted accessories and methods for assembling and using the same. The invention allows accessories to be mounted directly to the snowboard, thereby reducing or eliminating the need to wear a backpack during descent and encouraging snowboarders to bring all necessary gear. The accessories can include deployable straps for carrying the snowboarding gear during ascent, thereby making hiking more convenient. The mounting plate can be used in connection with a variety of snowboards without requiring dedicated mounting holes to be formed in the snowboard surface. Accordingly, the mounting plate can be easily mounted on the snowboard without concern for compromising the snowboard structure.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a snowboard with a mounting plate is provided. In this regard, a snowboard apparatus includes a snowboard, first and second bindings mounted on the snowboard for engaging footwear of a snowboarder and a mounting plate for use in mounting an accessory to the snowboard. The mounting plate includes a first portion disposed between the snowboard and at least one of the bindings so that the mounting plate is thereby secured to the snowboard, and a second portion to provide a surface for mounting of the accessory.

In one embodiment, the mounting plate extends between the first and second bindings and is captured between each of the bindings and the snowboard. The mounting plate includes a number of openings for passage of binding fasteners therethrough. Accordingly, the mounting plate could be attached to the snowboard by removing the bindings, aligning the openings with the binding fasteners and then securing the binding fasteners to the snowboard so that the mounting plate is trapped between the bindings and the snowboard. It will thus be appreciated that the mounting plate is secured to the snowboard by the binding fasteners and does not require a separate mounting structure. Preferably, the openings are configured to accommodate a variety of binding configurations. For example, the openings may be formed as elongate slots having a major access aligned with the longitudinal axis of the snowboard. A number of slots may be provided under each of the bindings, spaced from side to side relative to the snowboard, to accommodate different binding configurations.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a mounting plate with a storage container is provided for attachment to a snowboard assembly. This snowboard assembly includes a snowboard and first and second snowboard bindings. The mounting plate includes a first portion disposed between the first binding and the snowboard, a second portion disposed between the second binding and the snowboard and a third portion extending between the first and second portions. The storage container is mounted on the third portion of the mounting plate. In this regard, the mounting plate is captured between the bindings and the snowboard to mount the mounting plate to the snowboard.

The storage container is attached to the mounting plate, for example, by rivets or other fasteners. A variety of different storage containers may be provided. A large storage container, for example, substantially extending across the entire space between the bindings, may be provided for greater storage capacity. Such a large storage container may be desired for backcountry snowboarders or other snowboarders desiring significant storage capacity. Alternatively, a smaller storage container, extending across only a portion of the space between the bindings, may be provided. Preferably, in the case of a smaller storage container, the storage container is disposed adjacent to one of the bindings so that an open space on the board remains between the bindings where the snowboarder can rest one foot (e.g., when one foot is removed from the bindings to ride a ski lift). The storage container may be adjacent to either one of the bindings to accommodate snowboarder preferences.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention, a method is provided for securing an accessory to a snowboard assembly. The snowboard assembly includes a snowboard and first and second bindings. The method involves providing a mounting plate, mounting the accessory on a first portion of the mounting plate and disposing a second portion of the mounting plate between the first binding and the snowboard so that the mounting plate is captured therebetween. In one implementation, the mounting plate is captured between each binding and the snowboard. In this regard, one or more fasteners, such as screws, may extend from the binding through the mounting plate and into the snowboard. As discussed above, openings may be provided in the mounting plate for this purpose. Such openings may be configured to accommodate a variety of different binding configurations.

In accordance with a still further aspect of the present invention, a method is provided for use in carrying a snowboard assembly, including a snowboard and a storage container secured to the snowboard. The method involves opening the storage container, deploying carrying straps from the storage container and using the straps to carry the snowboard assembly. The storage container may have one or more compartments for storing items, as discussed above, or may simply be a compartment for storing the straps. The straps can be stowed within a pocket, e.g., which can be closed and opened using a zipper or Velcro. When the pocket is opened, the straps can be deployed into a carrying configuration. In one implementation, the straps are mounted on the inside of flaps formed on the storage container when the straps are in the stowed configuration. The flaps can then be deployed so as to wrap around to the underside of the snowboard where the straps can be attached to one another. In the deployed configuration, the straps can be used as shoulder straps for carrying the snowboard assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention and further advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B are top and side views, respectively, of a snowboard with mounted storage container in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 1C is a top view of a mounting plate for use in mounting a storage container to a snowboard in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top view of a snowboard with a storage container mounted thereon in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates an assembly process for mounting a storage container on a snowboard in accordance with the present invention; and

FIGS. 4A-4C illustrate a process for deploying snowboard carrying straps in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, the invention is set forth in the context of specific embodiments of snowboards with packs or storage containers mounted thereon. Although specific examples are thereby provided to illustrate the invention, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to these specific examples. Accordingly, the following description should be understood as illustrating specific implementations of the invention and not by way of limitation.

FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate a snowboard system 100 in accordance with the present invention. More specifically, the system 100 includes a pack 102 mounted to a snowboard 104 by way of a mounting plate 106. The snowboard 104 may be substantially any snowboard available on the market. Indeed, one of the advantages of the present invention is that it can be used in connection with virtually any existing snowboard and binding system without requiring modification of the snowboard or bindings for mounting of the pack 102.

The illustrated pack 102 includes one or more internal compartments for storing equipment as desired by the user. It will be appreciated that a variety of different types of packs and equipment may be accommodated in accordance with the present invention. For example, a snowboarder may desire to carry tools, clothing, food and drink and/or survival gear. The pack 102 may be specifically designed to accommodate one or more of these types of items. For example, the pack 102 may be a small tool bag. Alternatively, the pack 102 may be a specially designed survival gear kit. Alternatively, the pack 102 may include one or more internal compartments that are generally usable for storing any items as desired by the user. In any case, the compartment(s) may be accessed by zippers, clasps, Velcro or other reclosable structure. A locking mechanism, such as conventional zipper locks, may optionally be provided for securing the contents of the pack 102.

In the illustrated embodiment, the pack 102 is a large pack that extends substantially across the entire space between the snowboard bindings, as will be understood from the description below. However, smaller packs may be employed. The illustrated pack 102 is secured to the mounting plate 106 by a number of fasteners 108 such as rivets. In this regard, the fasteners 108 may serve to substantially permanently attach the pack 102 to the mounting plate 106 or may be removable fasteners such as screws, push pins or Velcro. Such removable fasteners would allow the snowboarder to conveniently remove the pack 102 as may be desired (for example, to take the pack 102 into a ski lodge or other location during a lunch break). As will be understood from the description below, the pack 102 and mounting plate 106 may alternatively be removed from the snowboard 104.

As will be understood from the description below, the mounting plate 106, as best shown in FIG. 1C, allows for mounting of the pack 102 to the snowboard 104. Specifically, the mounting plate 106 is captured between the snowboard bindings (not shown in FIGS. 1A-1C) and the snowboard 104 to secure the mounting plate 106 and pack 102 to the snowboard 104. In this regard, the binding fasteners, which are used to mount the bindings to the snowboard 104, are also used to mount the mounting plate 106 to the snowboard 104. These binding fasteners are typically provided in the form of screws or bolts that extend from the bottom of the bindings into receptacles formed on the upper surface of the snowboard 104. In accordance with the present invention, the snowboard fasteners extend through the openings 110 formed in the mounting plate 106. If necessary, the binding fasteners may be replaced with slightly longer fasteners to accommodate the mounting plate 106, which is interposed between the binding and the snowboard 104.

As noted above, one of the advantages of the present invention is that the mounting plate 106 and pack 102 can be mounted to the snowboard 104 using the binding fasteners and without requiring modification of the snowboard 104 (such as by drilling additional holes). The illustrated mounting plate 106 includes openings 110 that accommodate a variety of different bindings/snowboard mounting systems. In particular, the illustrated mounting plate 106 includes a number of elongate openings 110 having axes generally aligned with the longitudinal axis of the snowboard 104. The openings 110 are spaced across the width of the snowboard 104. In this regard, the illustrated configuration accommodates variations in relation to the spacing between the bindings and the side-to-side spacing of the binding fasteners. It is believed that the illustrated configuration will accommodate many different binding configurations.

The mounting plate 106 preferably has a length, L1, of between about 24-36 inches. In the illustrated embodiment, the length L1 is about 32 inches. The openings 110 have an outer end that is located a distance, x, from the ends of the mounting plate 106. The distance, x, is preferably between about 1-3 inches, for example, about 2 inches. The openings have a length, L2, that is preferably between about 5-10 inches, for example, about 7.5 inches. In addition, the illustrated openings 110 have a width of about a 0.5-inch and are separated from one another by a distance of about 0.25 inches. Three openings 110 are provided, in the illustrated embodiment, in the vicinity of each binding. The openings 110 have rounded ends to reduce stresses and minimize the likelihood of cracking. The mounting plate 106 may be formed from any suitable materials that will withstand the snowboarding environment. In the illustrated embodiment, the mounting plate 106 is formed from plastic and may be about 0.125 inch thick.

FIG. 2 shows an alternative snowboard pack system 200 in accordance with the present invention. The system 200 is substantially identical to the system 100 of FIG. 1 except the pack 202 is smaller than that illustrated in FIG. 1. It will be appreciated that some snowboarders may not need a large storage capacity and may prefer to have a smaller pack. The pack 202 extends only about half the distance between the bindings. Preferably, the pack 202 is disposed adjacent to one of the bindings, which may be selected by the snowboarder. In this manner, a space 204 is provided on the upper surface of the mounting plate 206 where the snowboarder can rest a foot when the boot is removed from one of the bindings (usually the rear binding). A snowboarder may desire to remove one boot from the binding, for example, when boarding a lift, riding a lift or dismounting a lift. In particular, when dismounting the lift, the snowboarder may desire to rest a boot on the surface of the mounting plate 206. In order to reduce slipping of the snowboarder's boot on the surface of the mounting plate 206, the surface may be roughened, friction tape may be applied or the surface may otherwise be adapted to reduce such slippage.

FIG. 3 shows how a mounting plate 300 can be used to attach a pack 302 to a snowboard 304. Conventionally, snowboard bindings 306 include fasteners 308 that are received within receptacles 310 formed in the upper surface of the snowboard 304. in the context of the present invention, the bindings 306 can first be removed from the snowboard 304 by disengaging the fasteners 308. The mounting plate 300 with attached pack 302 can then be positioned on the snowboard 304 so that the openings 312 of the mounting plate 300 are aligned with the receptacles 310 on the snowboard 304. The bindings 306 can then be placed on the snowboard 304 so that the fasteners 308 extend through the openings 312 and the mounting plate 300 into the receptacles 310 of the snowboard 204. The fasteners 308 can then be tightened so that the mounting plate 300 is captured between the bindings 306 and the snowboard 304.

The system of the present invention can also be used to provide straps for carrying a snowboard. Such straps may be provided in conjunction with a pack, as described above, or may be provided independently as a mechanism to facilitate carrying the snowboard, e.g., for use by backcountry snowboarders. One implementation of such a system 400 is illustrated in FIGS. 4A-4C. The illustrated system 400 includes a mounting plate 402 for mounting on a snowboard 404 as described above. The system 400 further includes a pack 406 for storing any of various items as described above. However, in this case, the pack 406 is further adapted to provide carrying straps in a deployed configuration.

More specifically, in FIG. 4A, the pack 406 is shown in a closed configuration where the shoulder straps are stowed inside of the pack 406. As shown, the pack includes two flaps 408 that meet at the center of the pack 406. In the closed configuration, the flaps 408 may be secured to one another by zippers, Velcro, snaps or other appropriate mechanisms. In addition, each of the flaps 408 is associated with zippers 410 or other appropriate structure that allows the flaps 408 to be opened and closed.

FIG. 4B shows a configuration of the flaps 408 when the zippers 410 have been opened. In this configuration, the inside surface of the flaps 408 can be seen. As shown, each of the flaps 408 includes a shoulder strap assembly 412. The illustrated shoulder strap assemblies 412 each include a padded section 414, strap segments 416 and a buckle 418, such as a glide buckle, for tightening the strap segments 416. The illustrated flaps 408 further include attachment strips 420 such as mating Velcro strips.

FIG. 4C shows the flaps 408 in a deployed configuration. More specifically, FIG. 4C is a bottom view looking at the bottom surface of the snowboard 404. The flaps 408 have been wrapped around the snowboard so that the attachment strips 420 (See FIG. 4B) are secured together. In this configuration, the shoulder strap assemblies 412 are exposed on the bottom surface of the snowboard 404 so that the snowboard 404 can be conveniently carried on the snowboarder's back.

The foregoing description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. Furthermore, the description is not intended to limit the invention to the form disclosed herein. Consequently, variations and modifications commensurate with the above teachings, and skill and knowledge of the relevant art, are within the scope of the present invention. The embodiments described hereinabove are further intended to explain best modes known of practicing the invention and to enable others skilled in the art to utilize the invention in such, or other embodiments and with various modifications required by the particular application(s) or use(s) of the present invention. It is intended that the appended claims be construed to include alternative embodiments to the extent permitted by the prior art.





 
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