An uphill battle

An uphill battle

If you’re still getting over the arrival of the e-bike, you may want to hang onto your beanie. Just when you thought it was safe to head into the mountains for some peaceful recreation, there’s a new gravity-defying power apparatus buzzing onto the scene: the Skizee Woodsrunner.

As its name would suggest, the Skizee is meant to bring “the thrill of downhill skiing to flat ground” by offering skiers their own personal propulsion device. The contraption is the brilliance of Canadian inventor Jim Maidment, who swears he is an avid skier and came up with the idea after suffering one-too-many broken-down T-bars on his home ski hill as a child.

“‘If only I could go all the way to the top of the mountain and anywhere I wanted on skis,’”he recalled thinking.

Resembling a mutant backwards lawnmower, the Skizee is the result of this dream (and quite possibly your worst nightmare). It employs a four-stroke gas engine and handheld throttles to help skiers reach speeds of up to 25 mph (going down, the unit is meant to “coast” behind you.) And not to worry – there is an emergency stop wristband in the event of an unfortunate tomahawk or yard sale. The Skizee is equipped with a one-gallon tank and, depending on weather and terrain, can travel up to 30 miles between fill ups.

Maidment sees it as the birth not just of his brainchild but a whole new form of outdoor recreation, something he calls “power skiing.”

“Power skiing is the ultimate crossover between power and human sport with its own unique space in the winter snow sports sector, it is definitely a trail breaker,” he told Sledworthy magazine last November. “Power sport enthusiasts and skiers alike now have the freedom to enjoy access to back country and off-trail skiing in ways not possible until now.”

He is currently scheming ways to market his device to a wider audience via demo events at ski areas, where folks, presumably, would be allowed to zoom around the base area like Segway drivers, but on skis.

What could possibly go wrong?

But before you hole up in a cave and await the end times, know that the Skizee, for which orders are currently being taken at Skizee.ca, retails for $4,990 CAD (about $3,800 U.S.) Or, roughly the price of six seasons of riding the good, old-fashioned chairlift.

Better yet, fuel up your own tank, throw on some skins and just ski hard.