Skis help those in wheelchairs glide over snow-packed pavement


By January, roadways and sidewalks can become dangerous in Minnesota.

Snow and ice buildup prove especially difficult for those whose main mode of transportation is by wheelchair.

Sam and Tracy Tabaka of Rogers, Minnesota are the first in the state to test out an invention that has drastically improved how they maneuver in the snow, WCCO reports.

Small skis that lock onto the front wheels of their wheelchairs prevent the Tabakas from getting stuck. The skis, called Wheelblades, allow their chairs to glide over ice and snow.

GizMag, an online technology magazine, says Wheelblades work like snowshoes. The skis spread weight over a greater surface, allowing the front wheels to float instead of slipping or sinking.

“It definitely allows me to be more independent,” Sam Tabaka told WCCO. “It’s definitely changed my outlook on what I can do in winter on my own.”

Swiss inventor Patrick Mayer, who became a quadriplegic after a snowboarding accident, developed WheelBlades. Mayer says he's always been a winter enthusiast, but getting around in the snow in his wheelchair was tough.

"I was surprised to find out that there was not a single, reasonably priced mobility aid on the market, one which could be attached and removed using basic manual skills," Mayer says on the Wheelblades' website.

WCCO says Wheelblades have been very popular overseas but are just emerging in the United States.

The skis also work with strollers, GizMag reported.

Wheelblades are available for order on the company's website [preserve]

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 5.14.36 PM

Mayor Carter announces COVID vaccine mandate for St. Paul city workers

It comes after Minneapolis announced the requirement for vaccines or regular testing for city workers in September.

two twelve medical center chaska GSV

Ridgeview cutting hours at 2 Minnesota urgent care locations

Hours of operation at a third location are also being shifted earlier.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Mpls. candidate tries to 'set the record straight' about where he lives

Questions about Ward 9 candidate Mickey Moore's residency are quickly piling up.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.49.16 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 51 of 87 Minnesota counties

Four of the 10 lowest case rates are metro-area counties.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

Allina mental health workers vote to unionize

Concerns over safety led the workers to unionize.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minnesota reports COVID deaths of teen student, 2 school staffers

Cases in schools rose again in the past week, though there are signs cases may have peaked.

Proctor football

Investigation of alleged misconduct on Proctor football team nears conclusion

The football team canceled its season and the coach subsequently resigned.

minnesota house of representatives

Minnesota House will continue hybrid operations, require masks in 2022

The Speaker of the House announced the plans in a memo to members and staff on Thursday.