New company creates a way for skiers to wear snowboard boots with skis
Hate ski boots? You’re not alone.
A new Colorado-based company called Envy Snow Sports is about to roll out a line of ski frames that allow skiers to strap into their bindings while wearing snowboard boots.
After four years of development, the Envy Ski Frame will finally be available this winter.
The frame will fit any of the top manufactured snowboard boots, and can then snap into existing bindings on alpine skis, according to Chris Schroeder, co-founder of Envy Snow Sports.
“You get all the benefits of a snowboard boot while skiing,” said Schroeder. “They’re easier to walk in, more comfortable and a little bit warmer. We are the first of our kind when it comes to being able to use any snowboard boot.”
The Golden-based company got started with a simple observation years ago.
While he and his father could snowboard late into the day, Schroeder said his mother and sister both skiers, often found themselves hanging out in the lodge with cold and painful feet. He looked into finding a more comfortable boot to ski in, but was disappointed by the selection and decided to find his own solution.
Schroeder and his father, Mike, began tearing apart old ski boots and snowboard bindings to create a rough prototype for the frame about four years ago.
“We tested it out on the mountain, and had a bunch of very rigged up straps and stuff to get the support that we needed,” said Schroeder. “What it proved to us was that it was possible to be able to get enough support from something that goes around the snowboard boot, and to be able to ski effectively.”
Schroeder and his father presented their updated prototype to the industry about three years ago at the Snowsports Industries America show where Schroeder said they received mixed reviews, but valuable criticisms.
“We took that advice to heart and completely redesigned from the bottom up,” said Schroeder.
Last year they returned to the Snowsports Industries America show with a sleeker, lighter frame that performed better.
Schroeder sent out demos to ski shops and rental businesses all over the country to promote their new invention, and they are currently preparing to ship their first orders.
While the frames are meant to work with any skis, Schroeder said that they are best used on groomed runs, and less effective on more technical slopes.
“This product is not for your expert skier,” he said. “If you’re in the moguls and in the trees all day this isn’t going to be for you. This is for someone who is a beginner or intermediate skiing on the groomers. In those conditions they work awesome.”
The caveat, however: “You’re sacrificing a little bit of performance for comfort,” as Schroeder explained.
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The steep Jail Trail that leads into downtown Aspen is getting a better grade to address safety concerns and make it easier for people to use.