‘SKI MORE, WORK LESS’ WITH A PORTABLE BACKCOUNTRY ROPE TOW
For most of the backcountry enthusiasts I know, the experience gained from a day of touring includes the up track just as much as the down. Sure, some would rather choose shorter routes in higher quantity than a long-approach-bordering-full-slog for a single lap, but generally speaking the climb is as contributing a characteristic to the day’s joy factor as the pow turns after.
Ask Zoa Engineering though, and they might argue otherwise. Created by Vancouver-based engineer, the company’s product — a portable backcountry rope tow — explores a different approach on out-of-bounds skiing. The system only requires one climb up the slope so as to set an anchor and lay out the line as you descend back down the hill. In theory, after that you are ready to go. Attach the Zoa PL1, and let yourself be towed up-line for more laps (or until device batteries die).
Weighing in at just over 10.5 lbs (not including the cord), it has a max vertical of 800m. The PL1 is still in its beta prototype phase though, so my guess is that those numbers might change as more product testing takes place. I’ll be following along as the discussion around the Zoa PL1 evolves, and I imagine there will be some criticisms regarding its overall aim of making the backcountry more mechanized.
Leaning toward some of the positives though, the device could possibly open doors toward more sustainable lift technology, improve sport accessibility for certain groups, or potentially be even used as an extrication device for a crevasse rescue, perhaps? Not sure about you, but I still have a lot of questions...
Check out Zoa Engineering's website to read more about their design, and follow along as the PL1 develops.