Skiing or snowboarding down a snow-covered hill is fun. You know what’s not fun? Climbing back up to the top of that hill. That’s why they have ski lifts when you go to fancy winter resorts, ensuring your winter vacation is all about the thrills with none of the boring grind. If you do your winter sports in place without any of those ski lifts, the Zoa PL1 offers a way to get back up that hill a lot faster than you’ll usually do on a hike.
Billed as “a portable rope tow for the backcountry,” the device allows you to travel from one end of a rope to another, so you can simply create a rope line that runs from the bottom to the top of the hill, then use that rope line to get back up every single time. No longer do you have to hike, ride a snowmobile, or use that crazy device that pushes you uphill to get back up a slope – just lay down the line and use the device to ride it each time out.
The Zoa PL1 is a handheld machine that’s equipped with an electric motor and a series of pulleys. When using it, you simply thread the rope (they designed it for 550 paracord and similar size ropes) through the system’s opening, making sure it goes out through the rear. From there, you can simply twist the throttle to ride the length of the rope, allowing you to get back up the hill with a whole lot less effort than is normally required.
To set it up, you’ll need to make your way up the hill by yourself the first time around. Once you get there, you can secure one end of the rope by either tying it to a three or using a rope anchor in the snow. As soon as you get a secure hold at the top of the hill, you then start laying down your rope by skiing or snowboarding downhill.
When you get to the bottom of the hill, simply take out the Zoa PL1 and thread the other end of the rope through the device, twisting the throttle so you can quickly go through any loose rope. Once it’s taut, you simply let the device pull you through the length of the rope back up to where you secured the other end, adjusting the throttle to slow down or speed up, as well as letting the throttle go if you want to come to a full stop. When you get to the top, simply remove the rope from the device, secure it again to your tree (or anchor), and do your downhill run with the device on your backpack.
As you can tell, this allows you to more quickly get back up any uphill distance, provided you have enough rope to actually cover its length. Do note, this is battery-powered, so the heavier you are, the steeper the slope, and the further the climb, the more you’re going to drain the battery. As such, you best make sure you have a way to recharge the darn thing, unless you want to be stuck in the middle of an uphill climb because it drained out.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the Zoa PL1. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at CAD$1,300.