HeatTrak in The Wall Street Journal: Skiing 2.0: Warmer, Easier, Pricier
From snow-melting door mats and driveways to oxygen-controlled ski lodges, the latest technology for the snow is designed to make ski days more comfortable, though it won't do anything to help you make it down that black-diamond run. Here's a rundown of the latest out there:
Oxygen On-Demand: Guests staying at Scarp Ridge Lodge, a deluxe ski lodge at 9,000 feet in Crested Butte, Colo., can control the oxygen levels in their rooms. Touch panels (made by home-automation company Crestron Electronics) allow residents to choose a lower altitude they'd like the room to simulate. The system is built by Oxygen Co. of Glenwood Springs, Colo., whose chief executive, H.P. Reilly, says his technology is in use in hundreds of homes across Colorado, Montana and Nevada.
Rather than using tanks, an oxygen generator takes air from one area, condenses it and then pushes it into a room through slats in the wall or, for immediate use, through headsets.
The system is not cheap. The cost of equipping a 13-by-15-foot room with a 10-foot ceiling starts around $9,000, says Mr. Reilly.
Snow-Melting Driveways: Driveways can now be programmed to melt ice and snow when the temperature sinks below a preset level, preventing snow from ever forming. Heavy-duty rubberlike half-inch tubes slightly below the surface of the carport pump antifreeze-like fluids; the system can be turned on either via equipment like tablets or smartphones or via snow-sensing thermostats. "It's being used everywhere," says Adina Barnes of Viega, a company which makes plumbing technology used to melt snow on driveways. "Anywhere where there's snow…They're using this in Chihuahua, Mexico." One custom installer in the suburbs of Buffalo, N.Y., estimates it costs upward of $25,000.
Snow-Melting Warming Mats: Companies like HeatTrak of Paterson, N.J., make rubber snow-melting mats for door-fronts, stairs and pathways. The company's 5-foot-by-20-inch pathways sell for $130; doormats start at $110. HeatTrak also sells a $412 snow-sensing thermostat, which automatically melts snow before it sets.
Electric Boot and Glove dryers:Several companies produce wall-mounted or portable vertical racks. Williams Direct uses hot air and sells a wall-mounted rack that dries eight pairs of gloves and eight pairs of boots for $1,795. Torre uses cold air and makes an aluminum rack capable of drying 10 pairs of boots or gloves for $1,190.