The nitty gritty: Toko: tokous.com/thermo_bag.htm This is a classic, and many World Cup teams use this bag thanks to its superb breakdown and packing capabilities for travel, as well as its durable and reliable heating system. It holds a dozen nordic skis or four pairs of alpine skis. But according to Ian Harvey, the Toko U.S. brand manager, it costs too much for the company to bring to the U.S., so you’ll have to find it in Europe.
Thinking of investing in a hot box
for your personal use, or your
club or team’s use? Here’s a brief
rundown of what’s available, the
designs and the benefits.
In the North American market
today, you’ll find four hot box
systems. Units from Toko and
RB Technical Services use
thermostatically controlled heating
elements and fans, creating an
even, warm environment that is
programmable. Units from Swix
and Ski Sauna use a radiant heating
element: think car-seat warmers
that are also thermostatically
controlled and programmable for
time and temperature.
The Ski Sauna ($895 and $1195) is also a radiant heat unit, and one that was born out of a unique
set of circumstances. According to company president James Hill, all of the pieces just fell into
place. “I help coach a local high school cross country ski team and our wax technician asked me
if I could use my contacts in the industry to get a decent price on a hot box,” says Hill. “I was really surprised to find out how much the competition was selling them for and realized that we could
build a better product for a lot less money with a patented heat technology, a local sewing shop
and a local metal shop. The first one we built, almost four years ago, is still running smoothly at
Berg’s Ski Shop in Eugene. It’s been an absolute blast to build these in Eugene and have them
ship out all over the country and the world.” The semi-portable model holds eight pairs of alpine
skis, and the fully portable model holds one pair of alpine skis or two pairs of nordic skis.
With a recent design change from forced hot air to radiant heat, the
Swix box ($3500) is also highly portable. Slightly larger than the Toko,
it handles six pairs of alpine skis or 20 pairs of nordic skis.
RB Technical Services:
Also known as Bob Bever’s Hot Box ($3500), this has been in use since
2005 at the Start Haus in Truckee, Calif. It’s a fixed installation unit,
designed for ski shops, clubs, or home use. It mounts on the wall, sav-
ing precious floor space, and uses a fully programmable forced hot air
system. What’s unique: the four fully customizable programs that allow
for total control of the ramp-up, holding temp, and ramp-down temps, as
well as maximum temp safety settings.