As many of you no doubt know, we here in Colorado are blessed with some of the best skiing on earth. Unfortunately, great skiing has a tendency to leave the winter enthusiast with an insatiable desire for more thrills. Some of these people, perhaps even readers of this column, have tried to satisfy their need for more fun by engaging in activities like heli-skiing. But what if you could subtract the heli part from the equation?
United States patent 4756555 issued in 1988 is for a Wing Apparatus for Skiers. And United States patent 7097134 issued in 2004 is for a Wing Device for Sporting Activities. Frankly, it seems to me the USPTO issued two different patents for practically the same invention, which leads me to wonder if anyone is actually looking through these patent applications? What do you think?
Winged Skier 4756555
Anyway, quite simply, the inventions resemble a hang-glider or hand-glider. The apparatus consists of two very large wings attached to a skier's body with a harness. Patent 4756555 , the older of the two patents, reveals its age with its more primitive steering design: each wing has a handle resembling a joystick the skier uses to maneuver the wings (hopefully). As a skier descends from the top of a mountain the wings work to create an aerodynamic lift and the skier literally flies down the slope!
Patent 7097134 has the same wings attached to a harness design, only the user slides his arms into the wings through a corresponding sleeve, allowing him to become one with his avionic fantasy. Unlike the previous patent, 7097134 is supposedly compatible with all sorts of sporting activities. I don't know if this is true or not, but I sure would have liked to have had a set of these wings back in the day when I was forced to play dodge ball in gym class!
Winged Skier 7097134
Next time you're out west enjoying the beautiful weather and the incredible snow, why not strap one of these babies on? You can drop me a line and thank me for the recommendation. Then again, if you really want to thank me you'll let me hop on your back, martini glass in one hand, sandwich in the other, and give me a lift all the way to the California coast!