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Need Feedback For A Potential Invention

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

As part of a business and management course in school, I'm tasked with creating a new product. I'm not actually going into a workshop and making it, but just coming up with an idea. I have a ski tuning related idea, and I'd love to hear what other skiers think.

 

The product is a waxing machine for skis. However, this waxing machine is installed on the slopes. Think of it as a car wash for skis. The skier scans his pass (which comes preloaded with a certain number of uses) and a gate opens. The skier then slides in and flips down a seat. After sitting down, the floor swings open and a block of wax attached to a motor rises. The motor spins while making one tip-to-tail pass. In order to ensure the right pressure is applied, the skis will be pushed up against metal bars, which flip down upon the skier sitting down. After the wax is applied, another motor comes up, this one with a large cork. The second motor also spins and makes a tip-to-tail pass, corking the wax in. Afterwards, the floor flips back up, allowing the skier to stand up. The front gate then opens, and the skier skis out.

 

This entire process should take about 30 seconds.

 

The main advantage of this product is that since it's situated on the slopes and it completely automated, it makes waxing a much quicker process. Placing about 5 machines in one area, and having a few areas per resort should minimize lines. Each day, the resort workers can place different waxes in the machine depending on the snow conditions.

 

Each use would probably cost around $8.

 

What do you guys think? Is there anything you would like to see in this product?

 

Thanks,

SoloBlizzard

post #2 of 10
I think the idea is both hysterical and brilliant. Purists will strongly disapprove of the waxing method; read a few threads here to see the kind of meticulous care many of us take to waxing alone. However, for the unknowing skier who may wax once or twice a year, if that, even a corked-in job that lasted a few runs would be a revelation.

Anyhow, here are my reactions:

First, of all, I've read that at least 80% of skiers don't wax their skis at all, ever, so the first job is to convince them that they need it. That means your market research is going to be speculative at best, and you'll need a ton of consumer education and probably a long period of free or discounted service to newbies. The waxing machine is going to be pricey, so you'd have to find highly risk-tolerant investors.

On a practical note, remember that there are skiers attached to those skis, so you need to figure out a way to support the ski without pushing or pulling on the legs. The amount of pressure it'd take to hold skis still for waxing and corking will be uncomfortable at best and perhaps dangerous for people with bad knees.

In the same vein, a lift chair carries people of various heights and ages, from fidgety three year olds to six foot tall adults, so the skis' height could differ by as much as a few feet. That'll be an interesting problem to solve. rolleyes.gif

Best of luck!
post #3 of 10

1st problem - You're infringing on SAM.  The Ski area already has tuning equipment and gets $10 to wax.  You want them to either give that income up or invest money to make less money.  Most ski areas are old school and feel that since they have a captive audience, they can charge what they want.

post #4 of 10
Well, I think he's trying to find some machine to sell to the ski area to scoop up the skiers who don't want to go inside. $8 is too cheap to recover the investment with that kind of upfront cost. After all, some areas set up tables outside, complete with waxing pot, run the skis across the roller, quick scrape, half-added brush, boom, done. $5 please. Low investment, same payoff.
post #5 of 10

There used to be something like that at the top of Aspen Mt. It didn't work very well.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Well, I think he's trying to find some machine to sell to the ski area to scoop up the skiers who don't want to go inside. $8 is too cheap to recover the investment with that kind of upfront cost. After all, some areas set up tables outside, complete with waxing pot, run the skis across the roller, quick scrape, half-added brush, boom, done. $5 please. Low investment, same payoff.

 

haha, scrape?   For the quick waxes, I see that they just run it over the hot wax roller; then run it through the power buffer/friction waxer, which arguably will do just as good of a job to remove the excess on cheap skis as compared to a hand scrape and brush.  

Plus the excess wax is now reused and on the bristles for the supercheap buff-wax only people.  Although, the buff-wax service is sometimes given away for free or with coupons/promos just for coming in.

 

But to the OP, I could swear i saw a video before of a ski waxers that the skier would just ski onto and ski off of.  So the idea has been floated around before, perhaps you can make an improvement on it.

 

Here's some ideas to think about:

As far as stabilizing, I would imagine the skier stays standing up, but has handrails to push themselves over the wax roller which shouldn't be that bad.  You need standing skier's weight  to have downward pressure onto your machine.  Not having moving parts will make your project easier but may not be possible.   The wax-off bristle part maybe trickier to just ski over.  .  Either you can stabilize them with 2 bars front and back of the boot; or Alternatively, they push themselves up to a stopbar and lean against some pads, like how some gates at lifts are designed, or race start gates.  The weight of a person against pads is more than enough to overcome the opposite force needed to wax/and brush.

 

As far as how many a resort needs, based on the person-staffed wax stations, I don't think you'd need more than 1; unless the service was somehow subsidized or included as part of the resort package; so people would use it.


Edited by raytseng - 12/1/13 at 9:20pm
post #7 of 10
What can I say? They scraped. Only used them two or three times. I'm sure some resorts do it differently than others.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

What can I say? They scraped. Only used them two or three times. I'm sure some resorts do it differently than others.

must have been the "deluxe" quick hot wax service  :).

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloBlizzard View Post
 

Hello all,

 

As part of a business and management course in school, I'm tasked with creating a new product. I'm not actually going into a workshop and making it, but just coming up with an idea. I have a ski tuning related idea, and I'd love to hear what other skiers think.

 

The product is a waxing machine for skis. However, this waxing machine is installed on the slopes. Think of it as a car wash for skis. The skier scans his pass (which comes preloaded with a certain number of uses) and a gate opens. The skier then slides in and flips down a seat. After sitting down, the floor swings open and a block of wax attached to a motor rises. The motor spins while making one tip-to-tail pass. In order to ensure the right pressure is applied, the skis will be pushed up against metal bars, which flip down upon the skier sitting down. After the wax is applied, another motor comes up, this one with a large cork. The second motor also spins and makes a tip-to-tail pass, corking the wax in. Afterwards, the floor flips back up, allowing the skier to stand up. The front gate then opens, and the skier skis out.

 

This entire process should take about 30 seconds.

 

The main advantage of this product is that since it's situated on the slopes and it completely automated, it makes waxing a much quicker process. Placing about 5 machines in one area, and having a few areas per resort should minimize lines. Each day, the resort workers can place different waxes in the machine depending on the snow conditions.

 

Each use would probably cost around $8.

 

What do you guys think? Is there anything you would like to see in this product?

 

Thanks,

SoloBlizzard

you're not going to convince the people here.  They are not your target customers.

 

You would have to develop business case the around the customers that don't know better and want the quick and easy method of waxing.

 

You have to weigh in the risks of the inherent nature of the durability of rub-on waxes.

post #10 of 10

They had something like this at Stevens Pass in the 70s.  You just stood on it.  It was cheap, and you got what you paid for.

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