Are foldable skis the next big thing?

Foldable, portable and just a little bit whacky: introducing the Travel Ski

If you hadn’t guessed it already, we love skis. They are the key to holidays packed with floaty powder, high mountain escapades and tight turns. But even we, the people who just spent the last six months compiling the greatest guide to skis man has ever seen (order it here) will admit that they are a bit, well, cumbersome. It’s the getting-them-out-there part that puts the brakes on many folks’ fine intentions to take their own skis. Keen skiers simply put up with it to get the best experience. And, if we’re going to be totally honest, we never really thought there was an alternative.

no-room-for-the-skis

Skis: we love ‘em! But fitting them in the boot of a car isn’t always easy…

But we recently received a letter from a chap who thinks he has found one. Paul Green, a design engineer from Staffordshire, believes the answer is… foldable skis. “Foldable what now?!” we hear you holler. That was our first reaction, too. But suspend your disbelief for just a second and listen to this. Paul did some research and discovered that numerous patents for skis that can be dismantled are on file – but none, so far, have actually made it to market.

“No doubt, developing a collapsible ski presents significant engineering challenges and requires a great deal of research and development. But equally, the rewards would be substantial,” explains Paul. “As a design engineer, I was curious to understand these challenges, and nine years and four prototypes later, I can now put forward the Travel Ski as a serious contender – a ski that can be dismantled.”

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The Travel Ski folds down so you can slip it into a backpack

The ski consists of a three-piece design that can easily be folded down to fit into a suitcase or backpack, making transportation a cinch. When you reach the mountain, it can be folded out into a fully-functioning, full-sized ski in around six seconds; no tools required. And once you’ve clicked your ski boot into the bindings it won’t inadvertently unlock. The weight is around 700g heavier per ski – the equivalent difference between a non-metal all-mountain ski versus a piste performance ski.

The Travel Ski, fully extended

The Travel Ski, fully extended

We haven’t tried it yet, but we have seen pictures of the Travel Ski in action at Hemel’s slope, so it clearly gets down a slope. Right now Paul is on the lookout for a ski manufacturer to take this ski from prototype to production so that us ski-mad folk can try it for ourselves. “The only comparison I can make is the collapsible snooker cue,” says Paul. “For many years the idea was rejected as it would be heavier and would not have the right balance and feel. However, once it was shown on television, the one-piece cue almost disappeared within just a few months.”

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