Trio cre­ate ‘se­ri­ously cool’ adult pas­time


Two Cen­tral Otago ex-po­lice of­fi­cers, a cur­rently serv­ing cop and a Queen­stown de­sign firm have cre­ated an award-win­ning, high­per­for­mance snow sled, which will soon have its global launch. In De­cem­ber the Stealth-X high­per­for­mance sled, the flag­ship prod­uct of Snolo Sleds, will hit the mar­ket af­ter six years of mar­ket re­search, pro­to­type cre­at­ing and test­ing. This month the car­bon fi­bre sled won the sil­ver medal for the con­cept and ex­per­i­men­tal sec­tion in the New Best awards – New Zealand’s top in­dus­trial de­sign awards. The sled is de­signed to be used on both hard, com­pact snow and soft, pow­dered snow, and is a far cry from the wooden sleds of old that were de­signed to run down a gen­tle slope laden with chil­dren. Snolo Sleds di­rec­tor and mar­ket­ing man­ager Sean Boyd said the sled was no small child’s toy. ‘‘I’m not an avid skier or snow­boarder but I like to go fast. I wanted to cre­ate a sled that took me to speeds that would ex­cite me,’’ Mr Boyd said. Early test runs on an av­er­age gra­di­ent slope showed the StealthX was ca­pa­ble of speeds in ex­cess of 65km. In a de­sign first, the sled can also steer and stop in much the same way as a snow­board. ‘‘That’s the mar­ket this sled is set to com­pete with. It’s taken the oldfashioned fac­tor away from a child’s play­thing, and made sled­ding into a se­ri­ously cool adult pas­time that wants to rub along­side the tra­di­tional sports of ski­ing and board­ing.’’ It com­prises three main parts; a seat­ing shell, a sin­gle front ski with foot pegs, and an arm, which con­nects the two. It could also be pulled apart in one ac­tion, and be worn as a back pack. Mr Boyd en­gaged Queen­stown de­sign firm 4De­sign in 2010 to take his ‘‘raw but well­func­tion­ing’’ pro­to­type and at his re­quest ‘‘made it look good’’. He funded the early stages of pro­duc­tion him­self, then af­ter re­al­is­ing he needed help with the last push, re­cruited friends Mike and Liz Wil­liams to join the cause. The trio then set about cre­at­ing Snolo as a com­pany and mar­ket­ing the prod­uct. ‘‘The re­sult is now the most re­cent new ad­di­tion to the snow­board­ing and ski­ing fra­ter­nity,’’ Mr Boyd said. The Stealth-X will be launched for the North­ern Hemi­sphere win­ter and should be avail­able in New Zealand in time for the 2013 win­ter.


In­no­va­tive bunch: Snolo sled mak­ers, from left, Sean Boyd, Liz Wil­liams and hus­band Mike with the Stealth-X sled pro­to­type. The Cen­tral Otago team will soon launch the sled world­wide to co­in­cide with the North­ern Hemi­sphere win­ter.



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