Young skiers and snowboarders tend to get hung up when the going gets flat. Sometimes all that’s needed is a few seconds of propulsion to get the stranded party moving downhill once again.
The Snowmule is a pack with two retractable tow ropes in the bottom. Designed for children or beginners, it allows a parent or more experienced teacher to provide a hands-free tow across flat sections that sometimes stymie beginners and slow up the party.
I checked out the Snowmule packs at the recent SIA Snow Show in Denver and the design seems simple and functional. The tow lines have solid handles and pull easily out of the pack. When released, they zip right back into the bottom of the pack.
A basic design of the pack was released a couple years ago, but the new, refined product that won the ISPO Gold award in Ski Products for 2014-2015 won’t be available until fall.
The new versions of the Snowmule will hit US retailers in Fall 2014 in two sizes: The 25-liter version can carry two pairs of skis and three pairs of poles and has a goggle pocket on top and will retail for $140. The 15-liter, which carries two pairs of skis and two pairs of poles, will cost $115.
The retractable tow lines can pull up to 45 kilograms each, which should be enough force to move even moderately heavy skiers on the flats and even help on uphill sections.
We haven’t had the chance to test it out yet, but the idea seems useful for introducing young skiers and riders to the mountain. —Sean McCoy