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United States Patent Application 20160263468
Kind Code A1
Forney; Gregory Kay September 15, 2016

Ski apparatus called ski lnx, that supports, connects and disconnects skier to ski

Abstract

Ski LNX is an apparatus that replaces the current plastic ski boot, by supporting and connecting a skier to the ski. With Ski LNX, the skier wears a LNX ski boot which is very similar to a winter boot, stands on the foot bed and is connected to the ski by gravity and a shin cradle that wraps the lower leg and is connected via a leg strap. Ski LNX emulates the connection, support and action of a plastic ski boot by adjustable mechanical means. A ski LNX can fit into existing ski bindings or another LNX model incorporates an integral releasable ski binding. The ski LNX connection system can be used for all types of skis and snowboards, and also supports rondanee, and telemark ski applications.


Inventors: Forney; Gregory Kay; (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Forney; Gregory Kay

Steamboat Springs

CO

US
Family ID: 1000001744479
Appl. No.: 14/656907
Filed: March 13, 2015


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63C 9/086 20130101; A63C 10/12 20130101; A63C 9/081 20130101; A63C 9/0805 20130101
International Class: A63C 9/086 20060101 A63C009/086; A63C 9/081 20060101 A63C009/081; A63C 10/12 20060101 A63C010/12; A63C 9/08 20060101 A63C009/08

Claims



1. Ski LNX, an apparatus to support, transfer movements, and connects/disconnects a person to a ski comprising: a. A foot bed platform to stand upon and affix to the ski by mechanical means i. A corresponding shape, texture or mechanical device to hold the LNX ski boot securely on the foot bed to limit excess movement ii. Appropriately sized and shaped tabs on the toe and heel sides to fit within a conventional ski binding iii. A shape that activates or retracts a conventional ski brake. iv. A shape that provides a comfortable standing platform v. A mechanism that allows rotational adjustment of the foot bed to accommodate duck or pigeon toed foot formations. vi. A mechanism appropriately configured to fit on a snowboard 1. Mechanism allows for stance adjustment narrow, wide or somewhere between 2. Mechanism allows for the rotation of feet toe in or out vii. A mechanism that allows for the release of the LNX foot bed from the ski in cases of excessive pressure build up (a fall). 1. A mechanical device that allows the foot bed to pivot near the toe for rondanee applications. 2. A foot bed that can be moved from ski to ski without impacting the performance settings of flex resistance, range, cant, height or DIN. b. A shin cradle that affixes to a person's lower leg, pivots forward and connects to the foot bed at a pivot point. i. May contain a leg strap or similar device to hold to the leg securely. ii. A means by which to control the forward flexing of the shin cradle for: 1. Variable forward flex resistance. 2. Forward flex range stop. 3. Rearward flex range stop. 4. Releasable pivot for compact fold down when not in use. iii. A means by which to adjust the shin cradle's alignment side to side with the foot bed (cant). iv. A means by which to adjust the height of the shin cradle in relation to the foot bed. v. A type of padding inside the shin cradle to provide more comfort and support. vi. A shin cradle that pivots on a mechanical device that connects directly to the ski near the toes for cross country and skate ski applications. vii. The shin cradle is a lever on the ski enabling the user to activate the ski with leg motions to pressure the ski for turning and control of the ski.
Description



[0001] This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 14/656,907 filed Mar. 20, 2014 by the present inventor.

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

[0002] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

[0003] This application relates to skiing, particularly ski bindings and ski boots.

PRIOR ART

[0004] None found

SUMMARY

[0005] Ski LNX is an apparatus that replaces the current plastic ski boot in skiing. Ski LNX supports and connects the skier to the ski as well as transmits movement from the skier to the ski.

[0006] Currently and for the last several thousand years, skiers have connected themselves to skis by wearing a ski boot that is in turn connected to a ski via a ski binding. While a ski boot has the ability to connect a person to the ski, it has a number of disadvantages including: [0007] Uncomfortable to wear since the fit must be tight to exercise needed control over the skis. This tight fit leads to poor circulation, painful and cold feet. [0008] Difficult to walk in when not skiing [0009] Expensive [0010] Wear out quickly and lose their ability to support properly. [0011] Difficult to put on and take off [0012] Difficult to fit properly [0013] Difficult to align properly for canting (Canting is the process of aligning the skier's lateral leg angle to the ski so that the ski will run flat rather than on the inside edge of a pigeon toed person, or on the outside edge like a bow legged person.) [0014] Not adjustable for performance and fit [0015] Not accurate in transferring motion of skier to ski

[0016] While these shortcomings of the ski boot are tolerated by millions of skiers worldwide, it is simply due to lack of alternatives.

[0017] Ski LNX is a new alternative to replace the current ski boot.

[0018] Unlike a ski boot that is attached to a person's foot and ankle, a Ski LNX attaches to the person's lower leg to the ski, creating a system to support the skier, attach the skier to the ski, and control the ski without the need of a ski boot for connection to the ski.

[0019] With Ski LNX, a skier wears a new LNX ski boot very much like a conventional winter boot, which of course is comfortable, warm and easy to walk in. This is possible as the Ski LNX connects primarily to the lower leg of the skier offering support and control of directions to the ski.

[0020] To use a Ski LNX the skier need only fold the shin cradle and yoke to the upright position from the storage position. Next, step onto the foot platform and adjusts the height of the shin cradle (tall and short people) and side to side for cant settings (bow legged or pigeon toed adjustment for a flat ski underfoot) a one-time adjustment per skier. Once the shin cradle is properly located, a skier need only attach the leg strap and ski away.

[0021] Ski LNX has several different potential applications in skiing including: [0022] Downhill skiing (Alpine) [0023] Telemark skiing [0024] Rondanee skiing [0025] Cross Country and Skate Skiing [0026] Snowboarding

[0027] Most of our design and testing efforts have included Alpine Skiing applications. We have two primary design applications for alpine, one that has an integral release mechanism for attachment to the ski, and another that fits into existing ski bindings. Other skiing discipline concepts will be shown in drawings.

ADVANTAGES

[0028] There are many advantages of the Ski LNX over plastic ski boots, foremost of which is likely comfort. Wearing a LNX ski boot is the same as a comfortable winter boot, so it will be easy to walk with good traction and less slip hazard, comfortable and warm while skiing. Because of where and how the Ski LNX attaches to the body, a skier will be able to exert greater leverage to control the ski with less effort and pain. The Ski LNX has the ability to adjust forward flex resistance by mechanical means to the setting that best reflects the skiers preference, while a plastic ski boot's forward flex is limited to its resistance to deformation and is not adjustable. The Ski LNX releasable will combine the functions currently requiring a plastic ski boot and binding into one mechanism. And unlike current ski bindings that must be purchased and mounted to each pair of skis a person owns, a single Ski LNX can be used on any number of skis. Ski LNX can easily and quickly be adjusted for cant by the user, a setting that allows people that are either bow legged or pigeon toed a flat ski. This cant adjustment is important but impractical for most plastic ski boot users except elite skiers with access to expert boot fitters. Ski LNX are lighter, more compact, easier to use, easier to get on and off, safer, more supportive, and less expensive to manufacture than current systems.

DRAWINGS

[0029] Thee are any number of suitable configurations and designs to implement the idea of attaching a ski to a person's lower leg and incorporate the desired mechanical adjustments. We have supplied a few different configurations, but all leverage the same concept of attaching primarily to the lower leg.

DRAWINGS REFERENCE NUMERALS

TABLE-US-00001 [0030] Part # Part 1 Foot Bed 2 Pivot 3 Yoke 4 Shin Cradle 5 Leg Strap 6 Damper 7 Shin Cradle Height Adjustment 8 Shin Rest Pivot 9 Canting Adjust Clamp Screw 10 Adjustable Spiral Spring 11 Embossed logo fits corresponding grooves in Ski LNX boot sole (or like) 12 Filler Strip 13 Spiral Springs 14 Shin Cradle Support Rod 15 Adjustment Knob 21 Foot Bed, releasable binding 22 Binding Spring 23 DIN Adjustment Knob (DIN is the setting for force required to release binding from ski) 24 "T" Nut 25 Ski Lug 26 Rondanee Hinge 27 Screw 28 Rondanee Foot Bed Lock 29 Binding Jaws 30 Jaw Pivot 31 Release Ramp 32 Spring Shaft 33 Spring Shaft Pivot Pin 35 Binding Housing 36 Sliding Ramp 37 LNX ski boot 38 Ski Brake 39 Ski Binding 40 Pivot support structure 41 Damper Cinch 42 Lateral Swivel

[0031] FIG. #1, A Side View of Ski LNX

[0032] In this view we feature a drawing of Ski LNX designed to fit within a traditional ski binding. Later (FIG. 6 &7.) we will cover the Ski LNX with an integral binding release system.

[0033] To use the first time, a user would click the foot bed (1.) into the ski bindings, unfold the mechanism from the transport/storage mode (see FIG. 1 c.), tighten the damper cinch, step on the foot bed (1.), aligning the LNX boot with the corresponding embossed logo (see FIGS. 2 & 2a part 11.) for boot to foot bed alignment, pull the shin cradle to their shin and affix the leg strap. Next, the user will loosen the adjustment screws or cam levers for the height and canting adjustment and move the shin cradle until it is comfortably positioned with the foot bed flat on a hard surface and tighten these controls. Once set, the height of the shin cradle and the cant adjustment are set for this skier and need not be adjusted until this unit is used by another person.

[0034] The foot bed (1.) is shaped to emulate the toe and heel connections of a plastic ski boot so that it will fit into existing ski bindings.

[0035] In skiing, the user can press forward on the shin cradle (4.) to pressure the ski tip. This action transfers pressure from the shin cradle to the yoke which pivots forward (2.) with adjustable resistance offered by the damper (6.) which is sprung to immediately return to the upright position when pressure is released. This adjustable resistance damper will enable a softer flex appropriate for novice skiers and with an adjustment, it can be tightened for aggressive skiing by experts. In addition to moving forward and rearward, the user can tilt the Ski LNX from side to side to tip the skis on edge. Once the skis are tipped on edge, the shape of the ski will make the turn.

[0036] If the skier loses balance rearward, the leg strap will contain skier movement at vertical, as the fully extended damper provides a rearward stop. Forward flex range stop (see drawing #2.) will be limited to the full collapse of the damper, any pressure further than collapsing the damper (6.) stop may activate the heel binding to release the Ski LNX from the ski but it remains on the skier.

[0037] FIG. 1 b Ski LNX in Forward Flexed Position

[0038] This drawing shows the Ski LNX in full forward flex position. The Shin Cradle (4.) is pressured forward by the user's leg, which in turn presses the yoke forward, pivoting on the pivot (2.) and compressing the adjustable damper (4.) until it reaches the end of the damper's travel which then acts as the forward stop.

[0039] FIG. 1 c Ski LNX in Storage/Transport Position

[0040] When not in use, the Ski LNX can be folded down over the rear of the skis for a more compact and easy to carry apparatus. This will make carrying and storing skis with LNX mounted easier. Note: for storage and transport, leg straps can be wrapped around skis to help hold the skis in a conveniently bound bundle.

[0041] FIG. 1 d Front View

[0042] This front view shows some parts that are not evident in the side view. In particular the Shin Cradle Height Adjustment (7.) slides up and down the yoke to accommodate taller and shorter users. The Canting adjustment slides side to side to help users adjust the Shin Cradle (4.) to the proper alignment whether they are bow legged, neutral, pigeon toed or a combination of the aforementioned leg configurations. Loosen cant adjustment screws (9) shift the shin cradle (4) along the shin cradle support rod (14) until it aligns well with the user and tighten cant adjustment screws (9).

[0043] FIG. 2 Perspective View from Rear of Alternate Spiral Spring Design

[0044] Side/rear view of alternate Ski LNX design that utilizes an alternate spiral spring mechanical system to adjust the resistance to forward flexing rather than a damper (7). This spiral spring setup is shown more specifically in FIG. 3.

[0045] FIG. 3 Close-up of Adjustable Spiral Spring Forward Flex Mechanism

[0046] There are many potential mechanical systems that can provide suitable forward flex control, here is a drawing of one. Twin spiral springs are mounted in a housing at the yoke pivot point. These springs are loaded to resist forward pressure against the yoke (3.) via the shin cradle (4.). The spacer strips (12.) are connected to the adjustment knobs (15.) so that when the adjustment knobs are rotated, they either advance or retract the filler strip from space in between the spiral springs (13.) By advancing the filler strip (12.) between the spiral springs (13.) the spiral springs (13.) ability to collapse are restricted which in turn makes the springs more resistant to flexing resulting in a stiffer flex characteristic.

[0047] FIG. 4 Front Perspective View of Ski LNX

[0048] A side/front view of the apparatus in FIG. 4.

[0049] FIG. 5 Ski LNX Perspective View from Side

[0050] A side view of the Ski LNX apparatus in use.

[0051] FIG. 6 A Perspective Drawing that Shows Ski LNX Releasable.

[0052] Which includes an integral binding safety release mechanism. This model will not require the use of a traditional ski binding, but rather have its own integrated ski release mechanism.

[0053] Note the absence of traditional ski bindings, the ski LNX has an integral ski binding that we will further illustrate in Drawing #11.

[0054] FIG. 7 Drawing of Ski LNX Release Mechanism and Rondanee mechanism.

[0055] Although there are any number of mechanical release options available to release the Ski LNX from the ski in the event too much force is applied to the apparatus and (hopefully) before enough force is generated to injure the skier, we provide this as an illustration to just one option of how.

[0056] The Ski LNX releasable binding shown here has the advantage of allowing the Ski LNX to be switched from multiple pairs of skis easily, so that a user would need only one set of Ski LNX for any number of skis. Current ski binding setups require each pair of skis to be mounted with a pair of ski bindings. With a Ski LNX releasable binding, each pair of skis would have a simple lug mounted to the middle of the ski to which the Ski LNX binding will be affixed with spring pressure. When moving a Ski LNX releasable binding from ski to ski, all user settings are preserved ((DIN setting (resistance to release) shin cradle cant and height.) Not only does this make changing between skis much faster and simpler, but it is considerably less expensive to mount a lug on the skis than a whole new set of bindings.

[0057] Spring pressure is exerted from the spring (22.) to the Spring Shaft (32.) by the amount the Control Knob (23.) is tightened or loosened to the sliding ramp, which in turn pulls the Binding Jaws (29.) tightly around the Ski Lug (25.). Pressures exerted against the ski contrary to the position of the binding will transfer in the reverse direction as stated prior until enough spring travel is accomplished to overcome the grip of the Binding Jaws (29.) which in turn will release the Ski LNX binding from the ski Lug (25.)

[0058] The Ski LNX binding may also be released from the ski by lifting the DIN Adjustment Knob up the Release Ramp (31.) which slacks the Sliding Ramp (36.) and releases the Ski LNX Binding from the Ski Lug (25.)

[0059] Rondanee Functions are illustrated in the upper view. Rondanee skiing is the ability to ski up a hill which requires a couple ski set up modifications, one is to apply climbing skins to the ski bottoms so they travel forward only and these skins are not a part of Ski LNX. The second setup modification is the ability to walk easily in the ski which requires the heel be able to travel up from the ski. In the case of Ski LNX, this is accomplished by simply depressing the Foot Bed Locks (28.) which release the rear of the Foot Bed from the Binding Housing (35.) and allows the skier to lift their heel while the Ski LNX pivots on the Rondanee Hinge (26.). Once a skier reaches the top of the mountain, they can lock the Foot Bed (21.) down to the Binding Housing (35.) using the Rondanee Locks (28.) remove the skins and ski down the hill in Alpine ski mode. Some skiers may choose to leave the Rondanee Locks (28.) disconnected and use a telemark ski technique which requires the heel to be raised from the ski.

[0060] There are other ways to accomplish these movement characteristics, we provide these drawings as an example of how a Ski LNX can be modified to allow other skiing uses, more so than this is how it needs to be done.

[0061] Further applications with same underlying Ski LNX concept.

[0062] FIG. 8. Perspective View of Ski LNX with Integral Binding Including Rondanee Option

[0063] The Rondanee integral binding has a footbed (1) with a rodanee hinge that allows the user to walk (usually uphill) in the ski more comfortably and is activated by release of the Rondanee Foot Bed Lock (28) (see FIG. 7.) When done, the skier can lock down the Rondanee Foot Bed Lock and use the Ski LNX for downhill skiing.

[0064] It is possible after testing we may discover the rondanee and even telemarking options may be activated by simply releasing the "fold down" mechanism, which in turn allows the ankle to flex unimpeded.

[0065] FIG. 9 Perspective View of Ski LNX for Cross Country Skiing and or Skate Skiing.

[0066] The Ski LNX can be modified to work with Cross Country and Skate skis as well. By attaching a shin cradle with an attachment and pivot point at the toe or ball of the foot, the skier is able to lift their heel and make comfortable strides on the ski. Safety release mechanisms are not typical on cross country skis.

[0067] FIG. 11. Perspective View of Ski LNX Snowboard Application

[0068] With a little modification, the Ski LNX can be converted to a binding system for snowboards as well. Rather than supporting the rear of the leg as is the current approach to snowboard bindings, the Ski LNX for snowboards attaches the person to the snowboard via a shin cradle. Mechanically the snowboard LNX is similar to the ski LNX but adds the ability to rotate the foot position between feet parallel to toes apart or together, and distance of leg stance closer or further. Safety release mechanisms are not typical on snowboards.

[0069] FIGS. 12, 13 & 14 are actual Ski LNX prototypes, included here to show the variety of design and mechanical connections available to create proper support, fit, and movement.

[0070] Operation

[0071] A user need only extend the Ski LNX from the folded storage/transport mode to vertical and lock in the forward flex mechanism, step onto the foot bed (1), and secure the leg strap (5) around the leg. To ski, the user will use the same movement techniques as employed currently using plastic ski boots. Pressuring the shin cradle (4) forward as a lever to pressure the ski tip, and or tipping the lower legs side to side to activate the shin cradle as a lever to tip the ski edge to edge for turning the ski. Skis leaving the contact of the ground, or subject to loss of balance rearward are held in place by the leg strap (5). If forces generated on any part of the Ski LNX are too great, it will release from the ski via the ski binding or the integral ski binding depending on the model being used. To discontinue use, it is the reverse of using the Ski LNX, disconnect the leg strap (5), step out of the apparatus, disconnect the mechanism controlling forward flex and fold the shin cradle (4) against the rear of the ski for compact storage and transport.

[0072] Ski LNX for Rondanee operates the same as above but has the added feature of being able to unlock the foot bed lock (28) so that the connected ski hinges on the rondanee hinge (26) allowing more ankle flexion for walking with skis on. This same feature may be used to complete telemark style turns which require the lifting of the heel from the ski.

[0073] Ski LNX for Cross Country and skate skiing applications will have a lighter construction as the forces are lesser and allow pivoting at the ball of the foot to the toe for a more natural walking/running action.

[0074] Ski LNX for snowboards will be similar but will not include a safety release mechanism and will have the added ability to modify stance width and foot angle, as in toe in/out.

CONCLUSION, RAMIFICATION AND SCOPE

[0075] The Ski LNX offers a unique apparatus that supports a skier, connects a skier to the ski or snowboard, and transfers motions of the skier to the ski or snowboard. Unlike the current system of connecting a skier to the ski by attaching the ski to a plastic boot by a ski binding, the LNX offers exterior support and connection to the skier's lower leg allowing the skier to wear a LNX ski boot that is quite similar to a conventional winter boot. A LNX ski boot differs from a conventional winter boot primarily in allowing mechanical attachment between the LNX foot bed and the sole of the LNX ski boot, and as needed, additional support. This comfortable LNX ski boot is contrary to plastic ski boots and snowboard boots that are bulky, uncomfortable and expensive. Ski LNX also has the capability to allow mechanical adjustments of forward flex resistance, forward and rearward range stops, ramp angle, flex range, cant, toe in and out, and size. The LNX ski connection is viable for alpine ski, telemark ski, cross country ski, skate ski, rondanee ski, and snowboard applications. Ski LNX is recognizable by its connection to the user by a shin cradle, or similar configuration affixing to the lower leg. The foot may be kept from moving about by the integral shape and configuration or mechanical means between the LNX ski boot and the LNX foot bed. There are many materials that will be suitable for constructing the Ski LNX from plastics, metals, and or composites. The ski LNX can be created in many differing configurations, parts, sizes, shapes, colors and styles to gain the mechanical connections described herein, and is expected to evolve and streamline with development effort.

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