Bobsla electric snow drifter brings sled-like action to flat ground
Part snowmobile, part sled and part drift kart, the Bobsla gives non-skiers something much more exhilarating to do on ski trips than sip whiskey by the lodge fireplace. The all-electric Tyrolean motor sleigh treads, slides and spins its way around the snow. It's an easier, less tiring way of enjoying the snow-sprinkled peaks of the Alps and beyond.
The rear-driven Bobsla's giddy-up comes from a 12-kW dual-motor drive that sends its treads spinning and clawing their way over snow. The driver can accelerate up to the limited 30-km/h (18.6-mph) top speed and get things back to zero with a brake.
Unlike a snowmobile, the Bobsla doesn't have any steering. Instead, it slides and drifts around the snow with its sled-like plastic front-end, a ride we imagine as the realization of the motorized sled every snow lover has envisioned at some point during childhood (and maybe again during adulthood).
As much potential as the Bobsla has for local snow days, inventor Sergey Ignatyev sees more opportunity in tourism, where courses and races would serve as an alternative to traditional activity offerings at ski resorts, hotels and other destinations. Unlike skiing and snowboarding, Bobsla-ing doesn't require a hill and can be enjoyed on a relatively small patch of flat snow, somewhere between 50 to 100 m (164 to 328 feet) long. It doesn't have the steep learning curve of those other sports, as it's designed to be learned on the fly after a quick on-snow rundown of controls and operation.
Bobsla has its first customer in Austrian ski area Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, which purchased a fleet of e-sleighs to provide snow-drifting opportunities to visitors. A ticket costs €20 for 15 minutes of riding. Judging by the video clips we've seen, Bobsla-ing looks like a blast and we get the feeling we'd want to stay in the seat more than 15 minutes. Hopefully, they'll offer additional ticket options (an hour, all day, etc.) in the future, should the program prove successful.
Each Bobsla's battery is swappable so that the resort can keep the fleet running as smoothly as possible. Charging takes roughly two hours, according to Ignatyev, and Bobsla offers the additional batteries and charging hardware with the karts.
The Bobsla will be on show at next month's ISPO expo, where it will be recognized in the BrandNew Awards, alongside the ExoLung. From there, Ignatyev is hoping to get his vessel out to additional resorts around Europe and North America and is also planning a summer variation for 2020. In the meantime, the Bobsla is available for full-throttle drifting at Obergurgl.
Check out more in the video below.