In many parts of the northern hemisphere, now’s the best time to hit the ski slopes for an exhilarating time. However, as it would turn out, the ability to go skiing is very much dependent on the weather, as well as the condition of the snow at any given time. Now, what if I told you that you didn’t actually need snow in order to Ski? I’m sure you’d say I was crazy, but this innovation from a company called Skwheel just might prove you wrong.
The Skwheel One, dubbed as the “World’s First Electric Ski,” is a portmanteau of the words “Ski” and “Wheel,” and the way it works is pretty much exactly how you think it would. The French company has created a promising prototype that hopes to make skiing accessible to people all year round, and even in places where it doesn’t snow to begin with.
From a design perspective, Skwheel One is sort of like strapping on two electric scooters onto your feet, and moving along as if you were actually skiing on snow. Of course, there will be quite a few differences when compared to actual skiing – traction being the most evident – but Skwheel says that all it takes is a 20 minute tutorial for folks to get the hang of it. In essence, Skwheel One sort of blurs the line between actual skiing and in-line skates. I’d guess that they’re much more stable than in-line skates thanks to their long wheelbase and added support for your shins and ankles. Oh, and they’re definitely faster, too. Much faster.
Skwheel One is equipped with a total of four 600-watt motors – two on each foot – totaling an output of 2,400 watts. This means that the contraption can rocket you to speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour). That being said, they’re supposedly limited to 15 miles per hour in the interest of safety. Impressively, Skwheel was able to incorporate compact 1.2-kilogram batteries capable of providing up to 30 kilometers (18 miles) of range on a single charge. The company says that it takes about two hours for a full charge.
According to Skwheel, the Skwheel One features a so-called “tire pivot system” that simulates the real feeling of skiing. On top of that, the frame is made out of carbon composite, ensuring flexibility and durability. The built-in suspension system should also be capable of taking the edge off some uneven terrain, and even tackling some jumps. As for the brakes, Skwheel One incorporates two brake modules – a mechanical one for quick stops, and an electronic one for fine-tuned braking and scrubbing off speed.
Although still a prototype, Skhweel is adamant that the Skwheel One e-skis will hit the market by June 2024. The company has even opened pre-orders for this innovative recreational device via Indiegogo. A set carries an MSRP of 1,700 euros, or about $1,851 USD. With that being said, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution when patronizing crowd-funding campaigns on Indiegogo and other platforms. Make sure to do some digging before pledging, and remember that there’s always a risk when it comes to backing projects like this.