Title:
Temporary snowboard fastener
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fastening system that quickly and temporarily fastens a boot to the side of a binding of a snowboard, comprising a first fastening element on an outer side surface of a binding of a snowboard, and a second fastening element on an outer side surface of a snowboarding boot configured for use with the binding, the fastening elements arranged so that the second fastening element makes a fastening contact with the first fastening element when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding. A method of using the fastening system is also described.



Inventors:
Handel, Lynn (Exton, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/082908
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
04/14/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
COOLMAN, VAUGHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LYNN HANDEL (EXTON, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A fastening apparatus for temporarily securing a boot to a binding of a snowboard, comprising: a binding of a snowboard having a first fastening element on an outer surface of the binding; and a snowboarding boot configured for use with the binding, the boot having a second fastening element on an outer surface of the boot and arranged so that the second fastening element removably fastens to the first fastening element when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding, the second fastening element for quickly and temporarily attaching to the first fastening element.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the outer surface of the binding at which the first fastening element is located is on the side of the binding facing the front of the snowboard when the binding is secured to the snowboard; and wherein the outer surface of the boot at which the second fastening element is located is on the side of the boot and positioned so that the second fastening element faces the first fastening element when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first fastening element comprises one of a hook and loop fastener, and the second fastening element comprises the other of a hook and loop fastener.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a magnet, and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a metallic material magnetically attractable to the magnet or another magnet arranged so that a pole of one magnet faces the opposite pole of the other magnet when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a suction cup, and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a flat substantially non-porous surface to which the suction cup attaches.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA), and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a surface which is receptive to adherence of a PSA.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first fastening elements is permanently affixed to the binding and the second fastening element is permanently affixed to the boot.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first fastening element is incorporated into the binding during its manufacture; and the second fastening element is incorporated into the boot during its manufacture.

9. A fastening apparatus for temporarily securing a boot to a binding of a snowboard, comprising: a strap of durable material including an outward facing first fastening element adapted to removeably engage a second fastening element, the strap configured to be affixed to one of a snowboarding boot and a binding of a snowboard so that the outward facing first fastening element is disposed on a side of the boot or binding; and the other of the snowboarding boot and the binding of a snowboard including the second fastening element disposed on a side of the boot or binding and adapted to engage the first fastening element when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein at least one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a magnet, and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element comprises a metallic material magnetically attractable to the magnet or another magnet arranged so that a pole of one magnet faces the opposite pole of the other magnet when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding.

11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein each fastening elements each comprises a plurality of rare earth magnets adhesively attached to the strap.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the rare earth magnets are an alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron.

13. A method of quickly temporarily fastening a binding of a snowboard to a boot configured for use with the binding, comprising: affixing to an outer side surface of the binding a first fastening element; affixing to an outer side surface of the boot a second fastening element adapted to engage the first fastening element, the second fastening element arranged so that when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding the first fastening element temporarily fastens to the second fastening element; and placing the boot on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding so that the first fastening element fastens to the second fastening element.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein at least one of the first and second fastening elements are affixed to the binding and the boot, respectively, using one or more adhesives, bolts, buckles, buttons, cement, clamps, clips, elastic bands or sleeves, glue, hook and loop fasteners, knots, nails, rivets, screws, snaps, stitches, staples, tacks, tape, ties, or zippers.

15. The method of claim 13 wherein at least one of the first and second fastening elements is permanently affixed to the binding or the boot, respectively.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein at least one of the first and second fastening elements is incorporated during manufacturing into the binding or the boot, respectively.

17. The method of claim 13 wherein the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding when a wearer of the boot and the binding disembarks from a ski lift, thereby fastening the boot to the binding and enhancing the wearer's control of the snowboard.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to snowboards and, more particularly, to a temporary fastener that can be quickly and easily engaged to fasten a boot to the side of a binding of a snowboard in order to provide enhanced rear-foot control of the board, and a more comfortable ski lift ride.

BACKGROUND

The last two decades have seen a tremendous increase in participation in the sport of snowboarding. Each year, more and more winter enthusiasts try their hand at snowboarding, while the more seasoned boarders test out new techniques and tricks. Although there has been an increased interest in snowboarding over that time, the equipment used in the sport remains relatively unchanged, i.e., boots attached to a board through a binding system.

Snowboarders have optimal stability and control over their snowboard when they have both boots attached to the bindings. However, for safety reasons, all ski resorts require snowboarders to remove one boot from its binding while entering a ski lift. As long as snowboarders and skiers share use of ski lifts, this requirement will likely prevail. The problem with this requirement is that the snowboarder is required to disembark the lift (typically on a downward slope) with only one bound boot. During the lift ride the snowboarder has no opportunity to bind the second boot, nor would doing so be a safe maneuver. As such, the snowboarder must dismount the lift and quickly adjust his or her stance to face sideways and guide the snowboard with only their lead foot bound to the board.

Essentially, the snowboarder exits the lift with half their equipment on. It is almost analogous to exiting the lift on one ski. It can be done, but it poses many challenges. In the best scenario, the snowboarder has perfect visibility, fluffy groomed snow upon exit, experienced fellow riders on the lift who dismount flawlessly, a smoothly run chair lift with no last minute jerking or bouncing, and no backlog of humans at the top who have chosen a precarious stop location. Safely dismounting the lift requires excellent balance, quick reflexes, and dumb luck. Unlike a skier, who has two feet bound and the aid of two poles, a snowboarder faces the same challenges with one-fourth the stability. Obviously, a very experienced snow boarder is more adept while bound with only one foot. However, even that snowboarder is vulnerable to the obstacles that can lead to a spill.

In recent years there have been some solutions proposed to address the problem above. Those solutions include step-in bindings or adding a third binding. Those solutions are not desirable since they tend to restrict the snowboarder's choices of boots, bindings, and snowboards. Those solutions also require a permanent and costly alteration to the snowboarder's equipment. Finally, the addition of any hardware to the snowboard goes against a typical snowboarder's mentality. That is, snowboarders do not want to mar their equipment with additional items that would be considered “training wheel” hardware and that could lead to the perception of the snowboarder being a “beginner” or “novice.”

One solution that has achieved some success is the addition of a “stomp pad” to the top of the snowboard. Stomp pads are inexpensive rubber disks that adhere to the snowboard and are designed to provide an area of increased friction for the user to place his or her unbound boot on for limited control of the board. Stomp pads are less obtrusive then the additional hardware components mentioned above and can be easily removed. One big drawback to the use of stomp pads is that they can become covered in packed snow after a few runs. As such, they become useless until the snow is brushed off. Also, stomp pads provide minimum additional control since they are not designed to hold the boot in place. In spite of this, stomp pads are the only “acceptable” traction aid that snowboarders feel they can add to their snowboard without creating any stigma.

Another problem experienced by snowboarders is fatigue while riding the lift over the course of the day. Most lifts, even newly built ones, do not have foot rests. Without a foot rest, the skier still has both feet in bindings and his weight evenly distributed. In contrast, the snowboarder rides the lift with only one leg in a binding leaving the other foot unsecured. The weight of the snowboard is hangs from the bound foot only, putting uneven pressure on the bound foot, knee and leg.

The stomp pad discussed above does not solve the fatigue problem at all. The only solutions that have been proposed to date to address the fatigue problem involve altering the bindings, or adding a clip, tether or third binding. Those solutions are not acceptable since they require the addition of permanent, costly, and unsightly hardware to the snowboard and/or boot.

A need, therefore, exists for an improved system for temporarily attaching a boot to a snowboard in a way that overcomes the shortcomings of existing practices.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a magnetic fastening system for temporarily securing a boot to a binding of a snowboard. In a preferred embodiment, the magnetic fastening system includes a first fastening component, such as one or more magnets, located on an outer surface of the rear binding. A second fastening component, such as one or more magnets, is located on the outer side surface of the boot and arranged so that when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding the second fastening component is temporarily magnetically fastened to the first fastening component.

The present invention provides a unique solution to the problem discussed above since, in one embodiment, it does not require any modification to existing bindings or the addition of a third binding to the snowboard. This invention attaches the unbound rear boot with the side of the rear binding in a temporary manner, thereby giving the user control over his or her snowboard until such time as the free boot can be secured in the binding. Any accumulation of snow on the side surfaces of the boot or binding can be easily brushed away. The use of magnets, such as magnetic strips, is unobtrusive and, thus, would not be offensive to most snowboarders. Also, the magnets can be easily camouflaged to blend into the existing gear. It is contemplated that the magnets can be part of a removable strap.

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will become more apparent in light of the following detailed description and accompanying figures. As will be realized, the invention is capable of being modified in various respects without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and the description of embodiments are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not as restrictive of the scope of the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. However, the invention is limited only by the appended claims, and not by the particular embodiments shown and described.

FIG. 1A shows a snowboard having bindings, the rear binding having a fastening element in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 1B shows a boot having a fastening element, for use with the rear binding and fastening element of FIG. 1A, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2A shows the boot of FIG. 1B being placed on a portion of the snowboard with the rear binding of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2B shows the boot of FIG. 1B disposed adjacent to and temporarily attached to the rear binding of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 3 is a side cutaway view of a first fastening element on an outer side of a binding of a snowboard making fastening contact with a second fastening element on an outer side of a boot in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In an exemplary embodiment, a fastening apparatus for temporarily securing a boot to a binding of a snowboard is shown in the figures. Referring to FIG. 1A, a snowboard 10 is shown with two bindings, a front binding 20 and a rear binding 30, mounted hereon in a conventional manner. Rear binding 30 includes a first binding component or element 40. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1A, the first binding element 40 is located on the side of the binding that faces forward (i.e., the side facing the front binding). The first binding element 40 is preferably located near the bottom or base of the rear binding at or near the intersection of the binding and the snowboard. However it is also contemplated that the first binding element may be located at other locations on the rear binding, such as higher on the forward facing side of the binding, or on the rear side of the binding facing away from the front binding. FIG. 1B shows a boot 50 configured for use with the binding. The boot 50 includes a second fastening component or element 60 on a portion of the boot. The second fastening element is positioned on the boot at a location that, when the boot is placed on the snowboard 10 adjacent to the rear binding 30, permits the second fastening element to fasten quickly and temporarily to the first fastening element.

FIG. 2A shows the boot of FIG. 1B in phantom placed on the portion of the snowboard near the rear binding of FIG. 1A, and moving in a direction toward the binding. The second fastening element 60 of the boot is shown facing and approaching the first fastening element 40 of the binding. When the first and second fastening elements make appropriate contact or are sufficiently close, the first and second fastening elements removably interlock or engage with each other to temporarily fasten the boot to the binding. FIG. 2B shows the boot adjacent to and temporarily fastened to the rear binding. FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the binding and boot illustrating the temporary fastening system in use in one preferred embodiment. The first fastening element 40 is shown on an outer side of the rear binding 30 and in fastening contact with the second fastening element 60, which is shown on an outer side of the boot 50.

As depicted in the illustrated embodiment, the outer surface of the rear binding on which the first fastening element is located is on the side of the rear binding that faces the front binding of the snowboard, and the second fastening element is located on an outer side surface of the boot which faces toward the rear binding when the boot is positioned on the snowboard as shown. This arrangement allows the user to easy and comfortably attach his boot on the forward facing side of the rear binding.

In one embodiment of the invention, the first and second fastening elements can comprise hook and loop fasteners, wherein one of the first and second fastening elements comprises the hook fastener and the other of the first and second fastening elements comprises the loop fastener.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, at least one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a magnet, and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a metallic or other material that is attracted to a magnet, such as another magnet. If another magnet is used, the second magnet is arranged so that a pole of the second magnet faces the opposite pole of the first magnet when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding, thereby magnetically attracting the two elements together.

In yet another embodiment, one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a suction cup, and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a flat, preferably non-porous surface to which the suction cup attaches.

In yet another embodiment, at least one of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA), and the other of the first fastening element and the second fastening element can comprise a surface to which the PSA adheres.

Although specific fastening elements have been described herein, the invention is not limited to those fastening elements. Rather, other types of fastening elements can be used in addition to or instead of those described, if they can be used to quickly and temporarily fasten the boot to the binding.

It is contemplated that the first and/or second fastening element may be temporarily attached to the binding and/or the boot, respectively, such as through the use of adhesive or elastic straps. Alternatively, the first and/or second fastening element can be permanently incorporated into the binding and/or the boot. For example, if the binding is made of a metallic material that is attracted to a magnet, no separate fastening element would be required in the binding since the metallic part of the binding would define the fastening element. As such, a magnet would only be required on the boot. It is also contemplated that the fastening elements may be incorporated into the binding and/or the boot during manufacture, thus creating an integral temporary fastening system.

The first and/or second fastening element can be either fixedly positioned on the binding/boot or, alternately, could be arranged to be adjustable.

In a preferred embodiment, at least one of the first and second fastening elements is attached to or formed as part of a strip or strap of durable material. The strip/strap can be sold or provided separately from the boots and bindings so that the snowboarder can affix the strip/strap to the binding and/or the boot of his or her existing snowboard equipment. The durable material can be shaped or formed so that fastening elements engage one another when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to, but not in, the binding. For example, the durable material can be configured to orient and position one fastening element so that it faces the other fastening element when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding. The use of a strip or strap permits repositioning of the fastening element if needed. Although a durable material is described, it is within the scope of the invention that the material may be selected to only have one use, thus forming a disposable fastening system.

The fastening elements described above, or a strip or strap of durable material that includes either of the fastening elements, can be affixed to the binding or the boot using one or more adhesives, bolts, buckles, buttons, cement, clamps, clips, elastic or inelastic bands or sleeves, hook and loop fasteners, knots, rivets, screws, snaps, stitches, staples, tacks, tape, ties, and/or zippers. Although specific means of affixing fastening elements have been mentioned herein, the invention is not limited to those affixing means. Rather, other means of affixing the fastening elements to the binding and/or boot can be used instead of or in addition to those mentioned.

In a currently preferred embodiment, the fastening elements each comprise a plurality of magnets, such as rare earth magnets comprising an alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron (NIB). The magnets can be affixed using an adhesive such as an epoxy-based or cyanoacrylate ester-based adhesive, to one side of a strip of a strong, flexible material. The opposite side of the strips may also include an adhesive backing, such as an adhesive strip with a peel-off cover. The user can peel off the cover to expose the adhesive backing, and apply one or more strips to the forward facing side of the rear binding, and another strip to the rear facing side of the boot to be used in the rear binding. The size, number, and strength of the magnets can be selected to provide the desired magnetic properties for the user. For example, a physically strong user may select and apply more or stronger magnets, thereby adjusting the strength of the fastening system to suit his or her need.

The present invention is also directed to a method of quickly and temporarily fastening a binding of a snowboard to a boot configured for use with the binding. The method includes the steps of affixing to a side of the binding a first fastening element; affixing to a side of the boot a second fastening element, the first and second fastening elements positioned so that when the boot is placed on the snowboard adjacent to but not in the binding, the first fastening element fastens to the second fastening element. The boot can then be placed on the snowboard adjacent to the binding such that the first fastening element fastens to the second fastening element.

It is also contemplated that the above described fastening elements can additionally be affixed to or incorporated into the bottom of the boot and/or the top surface of the snowboard, so that the bottom of the boot can make an additional fastening contact with the top surface of the snowboard when the boot is placed on the snowboard. In this embodiment, fastening elements on the bottom of the boot and the top of the snowboard can be used in conjunction with the fastening elements described above that are located on the side of the boot and the side of the binding to provide a more secure attachment. It is also contemplated, that the fastening elements on the bottom of the boot and the top of the snowboard can be used alone, without the fastening elements on the side of the boot and the side of the binding, to provide temporary attachment of the boot to the snowboard. This alternate configuration may not provide the same benefits provided by fastening elements on the side of the boot and the side of the binding.

While the foregoing specification has been described with regard to certain preferred embodiments, and many details have been set forth for the purpose of illustration, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, that the invention may be subject to various modifications and additional embodiments, and that certain of the details described herein can be varied considerably without departing from the basic principles of the invention. Such modifications and additional embodiments are also intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.