The evolution of Trackers Skishoes
Engineering to meet a need
The idea for Trackers Skishoes came from the fertile mind of Tom Gibson, an experienced skier, mechanical engineer, and inventor. He works as a consulting engineer specializing in machine design and green building, and he publishes Progressive Engineer, an online magazine.
Many times, while cross-country skiing, Gibson would encounter deep powder and crusty snow as well as narrow, steep trails. With cross-country skis, he would either have to snowplow and edge with all the strength he could muster or take his skis off and walk. In the East, where Gibson lives, freezing rain and sleet often coat a dump of snow, making for treacherous conditions. And when Gibson skied in two feet of fresh powder, he found himself slogging through it in a gait more like walking through a swamp than kick-and-gliding. There had to be a better way. After several years of development, testing many prototypes on myriad snow surfaces, and finetuning designs, Trackers Skishoes resulted.
Another angle enters into the development of Trackers. Gibson also has expertise in recycling and sustainability. In addition to promoting human-powered recreation, Trackers can be made of recycled plastic, in particular HDPE (number 2), readily available from milk jugs and other household containers. Skishoes were designed to be easy to disassemble so they can be recycled. And they’re assembled in central Pennsylvania from parts made locally, minimizing transportation costs. SUNCOM Industries, a nonprofit human services agency in Northumberland, PA that helps people with developmental and physical disabilities improve the quality of their lives, assembles our skishoes.