TSL (Thones Sport Loisir) was set up in 1981 and in 30 years the French company has developed more than 60 patents and built an international business. TSL’s composite snowshoes are manufactured in France while the aluminum snowshoes are built in Williston, Vermont – using crampons and binding parts produced in the Green Mountain State and decks made in Ohio.
Now in its fifth year of operation in U.S., TSL’s snowshoes are more widely available in North America and can be found at well-known outdoor retailers such as Eastern Mountain Sports and L.L. Bean. Cautious dealers who don’t want to bet on snow to move their inventory can call TSL as a winter storm is brewing and order snowshoes to be received the following day.
The company has 17 aluminum snowshoe models for categories such as mountain, hiking, expert, women and juniors. There are step-in model snowshoes for a Nordic ski boot and another model (called Alpine step-in) for an integrated snow hiking boot made for TSL.
TSL has 19 composite snowshoe models imported from the mother company in France, where the brand was developed in the Alps. The Vermont manufacturing facility has a close association with its French operation. Some of the brand innovations include a binding sound and shock absorbing system, which allows a quieter experience in the outdoors and “Anti-Shin Bang Articulation” to prevent over-rotating and hitting shins. TSL’s snowshoe frame is tapered at the back and the “Up and Down System” is intended to reduce slope effect. The binding heel wrap has a four-point adjustment for more stability and control.
The mother company also produces trekking poles, Nordic walking poles, gaiters, headlamps, backpacks and other products. TSL proudly touts its Eco Trace snowshoe made of recycled materials and the fact that it offers many models for women and junior snowshoers.
Ted McGuinness, head of the Williston operation, said that more than 95 percent of the snowshoes in France, Switzerland and Scandinavia are manufactured by TSL. The company states that the quality and technical sophistication of TSL products is the reason why it is a world leader in the snowshoe market. McGuinness commented that a sales rep from a competing snowshoe company came to the Williston manufacturing plan to get some snowshoes for one of his customers. Simply, the customer needed a more durable pair of snowshoes, which says a lot for the TSL brand.
TSL Snowshoes are also readily available via online retailers and range in price from $139 to $199 per pair for the composites, while the aluminum models cost $149 to $219. For more information on TSL Snowshoes, visit www.tslsnowshoes.com or visit the TSL blog at www.tslsnowshoes.blogspot.com.