If the Shoe Fits

November/December 1996

Reading time min

Snowshoeing may have been around for 6,000 years, but as a fad it has yet to catch fire. That may be about to change. The ultra-hip Atlas Snow-Shoe company, founded by Perry Klebahn, MS '91, expects to sell 100,000 pairs of the high-tech footgear this year.

Atlas was born during a 1990 Tahoe vacation when Klebahn's bum ankle kept him off the ski slopes. He decided to rent a pair of snowshoes instead."I was just slipping and sliding all over the place," he recalls. And so a dream was born. Klebahn adopted snowshoes as his master's project in product design. His innovations--spring-loaded bindings and heel cleats--won him the first patents issued for snowshoes in decades.

With specialized models for walking, hiking and even running, sales have doubled every year since 1991. But building a better snowshoe may not be enough. As a mainstream sport, snowshoeing faces, well, an uphill climb. Klebahn took the first step this fall. Working with Vail, the Colorado ski resort, Atlas just completed the first commercial snowshoeing course. Will the activity ever be as big as skiing? We'll get back to you in 6,000 years.

You May Also Like

© Stanford University. Stanford, California 94305.