Revolutionary sled set to hit slopes
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Two Central Otago ex-police officers, a currently serving cop and a Queenstown design firm have created an award-winning, high-performance snow sled, which will soon have its global launch.
In December the Stealth-X high-performance sled, the flagship product of Snolo Sleds, will hit the market after six years of market research, prototype creating and testing.
This month the carbon fibre sled won the silver medal for the concept and experimental section in the New Best awards - New Zealand's top industrial design awards.
The sled is designed to be used on both hard, compact snow and soft, powdered snow, and is a far cry from the wooden sleds of old that were designed to run down a gentle slope.
Snolo Sleds director and marketing manager Sean Boyd said the sled was no child's toy.
"I'm not an avid skier or snowboarder but I like to go fast. I wanted to create a sled that took me to speeds that would excite me," Mr Boyd said.
Early test runs on an average gradient slope showed the Stealth-X was capable of speeds of more than 65km.
In a design first, the sled can also steer and stop in much the same way as a snowboard.
"That's the market this sled is set to compete with. It's taken the old-fashioned factor away from a child's plaything, and made sledding into a seriously cool adult pastime that wants to rub shoulders with the traditional sports of skiing and boarding."
The sled comprises three main parts; a seating shell, a single front ski with foot pegs, and an arm, that connects the two. It can also be pulled apart in one action, and worn as a back pack.
Mr Boyd engaged Queenstown design firm 4Design in 2010 to take his "raw but well-functioning" prototype and at his request "made it look good".
He funded the early stages of production himself, then after realising he needed help with the last push, recruited friends Mike and Liz Williams to join the cause.
The trio then set about creating Snolo as a company and marketing the product.
"The result is now the most recent new addition to the snowboarding and skiing fraternity," Mr Boyd said.
The Stealth-X will be launched for the northern hemisphere winter and Mr Boyd and Mr Williams will soon leave for China to oversee production. The Stealth-X will be available in New Zealand in time for the 2013 winter.
- The Southland Times
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