Quasi Xtreme Innovations has soft-launched Trackers, a combination cross-country ski and snowshoe that can grip the snow like a snowshoe but also glide like a ski. “We call it a skishoe, essentially a fat, short ski with crampon-like teeth on the bottom,” says Tom Gibson, president. In normal mode, you kick-and-glide like you would with cross-country skis on normal snow surfaces and occasionally step like you would with snowshoes on treacherous terrain.
Made for the backcountry, Trackers technology allows cross-country skiers to climb uphill easier and faster and ski a broader range of conditions and terrain than they can with conventional skis. Because the skishoe has a wide platform, it has flotation in deep powder snow. The concept also allows snowshoers to add a gliding component to their sport, increasing their speed and adding to their fun. It also lends itself to beginners who don’t do either sport but want more speed and thrill than snowshoeing offers but not as much as skiing imposes on them.
The key to Trackers Skishoes is the aluminum tracking fins that run lengthwise along the bottom, acting like sliding crampons. They give fore-and-aft traction for climbing on snow and ice when you step. At the same time, they slide through snow when you glide on the surface. But whether the ski is gliding, stepping, or stationary, the fins also keep the ski on its track and minimize its lateral slide. This keeps you from sliding down the hill as you try to traverse across it, giving you more control and stability. Two accessories are available for Trackers: lateral crampons and climbing skins. Each is carried in a pocket or pack, so the user can easily install them in the field when needed. With the lateral crampons attached, the ski acts like a snowshoe.
“Such modular design is the name of the game with Trackers,” Gibson says. The skier’s foot attaches to the ski in free-heel fashion by means of either a standard cross-country ski binding or a snowshoe binding mounted to the ski. For skiers, the ski is available equipped with an NNN, NNNBC (backcountry), or SNS (Salomon) binding or a three-pin binding. For snowshoers, the company offers a Redfeather binding that works by way of a specially designed hinge adapter. Or you can purchase a blank ski without a binding and mount the binding of your choice.
Based in Milton, PA, Quasi Xtreme Innovations will sell Trackers online through its website and through ski and outdoor shops throughout the U.S. and Canada. They plan to set up dealerships this coming season and then have product available for the 2014-15 season. Retail prices for Trackers Skishoes will range from around 122.00 for a pair of blank skis with no bindings to about 250.00/pair for skis with snowshoe or NNN/SNS cross-country ski bindings. For more information, visit www.TrackerSkishoes.com.