Skiing or snowboarding downhill is fun but hiking up to repeat the downhill journey is not. If you are at a ski resort, all are good because there are ski lifts to take the legwork out of scaling the mountain. But outside of that, such as in the backcountry, you are pretty much on your own. This is where Zoa PL1 Portable Rope Tow System comes in.
Weighing in at just 10.51 lbs (4.8 kilograms) excluding the line weight, the Zoa PL1 Portable Rope Tow System may be small but it is mighty. It slips into the daypack and has enough power to lift skiers and snowboarders uphill.
And it is super easy to operate too. You start by making your ascent using touring skis, split board, or the good old snowshoes.
When you get to the desired spot at the top of the hill, secure the included paracord to the included snow picket anchor, or natural anchors like a sturdy tree, a snow bollard, or a rock.
Once that is done, double-check it is properly secured and if it is, you are good to go.
Next, you just ride downhill, dropping the paracord along the way using a rope bag. When you reach the bottom, rig the PL1 anywhere along the paracord and hit the “go” button to propel yourself up the mountain.
Once at the top, you do your downhill run again. After that, it is a matter of rinse and repeat. Well, that’s until the battery conks out. Speaking of which, depending on the skier’s weight, PL1 is capable of hauling a person up to 4,020 feet (1,220 meters) on a single charge.
The battery has an operating temperature of as low as minus 40 Fahrenheit and it is user-swappable without tools, so more laps can be achieved by swapping out the rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
A few other notables include a removable handle for easy storage, adjustable throttle, and a steel lanyard for clipping to a harness for long and steep ascents.
If you are keen, you can learn more about the Zoa PL1 Portable Rope Tow System over at its Kickstarter campaign page where you can also secure a unit by pledging for a product for 1,350 Canadian dollars (or about US$1,072, according to Kickstarter).
Yes, it is not cheap. But consider how much legwork you will save and how many more downhill run you get out of a backcountry skiing or snowboarding adventure, it is may just worth the dough.
Images: Zoa Engineering.