WiSys Technologies

Low Maintenance Snowmobile Ski Design that Increases Traction, Maneuverability and Safety on Paved Surfaces

WiSys is currently seeking a strategic partner interested in further developing and manufacturing this technology, ultimately providing a route to market for its commercialization. 

WiSys Technology Number: T170041
Patent Filed: May 21, 2018
Status
Patent Pending
Stage of Development:

A fully functional prototype has been developed.  The design has been refined through multiple development iterations and has passed testing for mobility on hard surfaces, traction on ice, and functionality on snow. Further refinement may be needed prior to manufacturing.  

Overview

The global snowmobile market is projected to grow to over $1.6 billion in 2022. In 2017 there were 118,657 snowmobiles sold worldwide; 50,659 were sold in the U.S. and 44,161 were sold in Canada. There are over 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the US and over 600,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada. In North America, the average snowmobiler rides 1,175 miles per year. 

Most modern snowmobiles have skis which use steel carbide runners as a means of gaining traction for steering on snow and ice. However, this ski design provides limited traction and maneuverability when crossing roads, going to gas stations and traveling on pavement, gravel and other hard surfaces. Exposure to these types of surfaces causes the runners to rapidly degrade and requires frequent and costly replacement. Conversely, direct contact with ski runners can cause damage to roads, driveways, sidewalks and other surfaces that are not intended for snowmobiles. There are also safety and convenience issues with the current design. Lack of traction and turning ability on hard surfaces often forces riders to dismount the snowmobile and manually guide the front end of the machine. Moreover, degradation of runners can result in loss of control on all types of surfaces, potentially causing injury or damage. 

Invention

Students from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in partnership with UW-Platteville Senior Design have developed a snowmobile ski that offers improved steering and traction on pavement and other hard surfaces. The design incorporates a fixed wheel and runner system, which provides steering control when rolling on pavement and concrete yet allows the skis to function properly when driving on snow and ice surfaces.

The present design increases maneuverability on pavement and requires less maintenance when compared with snowmobiles that are currently on the market. 

Applications

An integrated ski runner and wheel system that provides snowmobiles and other ski-based vehicles with improved maneuverability when travelling over paved surfaces.

Benefits

  • Increased traction and turning ability on pavement and other hard surfaces, better handling on rough terrain;
  • Improved rider safety and convenience;
  • Reduced wear and tear on the ski system;
  • Lower maintenance costs, less frequent ski replacement and lower costs for wheel replacement;
  • Reduced damage to roads, driveway, sidewalks and other paved surfaces. 
Institution
UW-Green Bay UW-Green Bay
Inventors
Dalton Bellamy
Student
Alec Wery
Student