New idea in snow removal saves your back

Posted Dec. 02, 2010, at 10:13 a.m.

New Canaan, Conn. – The first significant first snow fall is right around the corner – where’s your trusty snow shovel?

You can’t forget last winter’s pain inducing exercise that left you nearly crippled after clearing natures’ latest deposits, can you?

Well there’s one company that promises to make that task a lot easier without the use of an internal combustion engine.

Product developer Mark Noonan of Structured Solutions II has produced the SNO WOVEL, purportedly the first and only commercially produced wheeled snow shovel.

According to a press release from the company, the SNO WOVEL “revolutionizes snow removal in the most basic way: while traditional shoveling involves dead lifting of snow at the end of a long stick — exaggerating its weight with pretty much the back doing all the work, the SNO WOVEL takes an ancient principle — the LEVER — and combines it with the WHEEL to reduce the process to 1, 2, 3: scoop, lift, throw. With vastly reduced effort, “wovelers” can throw snow without twisting or lifting.”

The SNO WOVEL is the brainchild of New Canaan, Conn., resident Mark Noonan, a former investment banker. Debilitating treatment for pancreatic cancer left him unable to lift even a shovelful of snow from the backyard ice rink he built for his children. He designed it to reduce physical strain and the risks of back and heart injuries associated with shoveling.

Noonan used the basic principles of the wheel and leverage to create a strange-looking shovel that utilized a bicycle wheel, electrical conduit, sheet metal and, of course, duct tape. The crude seesaw action — with Noonan at one end and a snow shovel at the other — allowed him to easily complete the snow removal job and gave him a patented new product idea. Thus the SNO WOVEL, and a new career for Noonan, was born.

In the few years it’s been on the market, The SNO WOVEL has been homeowner tested, doctor approved and award-winning. An independent study performed by University of Massachusetts Biomedical Engineering Professor Bryan Buchholz, PhD stated, “The most obvious conclusion from this study is that the SNO WOVEL significantly reduces the risk of low back pain and injury. Both the results from the biomechanical model and the subjective ratings support this finding.”

“The compressive forces estimated in this study for the SNO WOVEL were similar in magnitude to the compressive forces one would experience when simply walking,” Buchholz said

Osteopathic physician Steven J. Weiss said, “It appears to have made shoveling much more efficient, safer, less strenuous, easier; thus reducing the risks for either musculoskeletal or heart-related injuries … I have carefully reviewed the device and films of the SNO WOVEL in operation. … Because it uses leverage and mechanical advantage it, by virtue of this increased efficiency, will decrease strain upon the heart. It makes me wish that I had had one when I lived on the north coast of Maine and shoveled large amounts of snow every winter.”

Time Magazine named The SNO WOVEL one of its Best Inventions, won the Best New Product Award at the National Hardware Show, and garnered an Editor’s Choice Award from Popular Mechanics. Along the way, Noonan has added a few touches, like gavel wheels, a powder blade, a chipper plate and wear strip, but the basic principles and product remain.

The SNO WOVEL offers significant advantages over shovels and blowers. It’s cheaper than blowers, is silent, maintenance and pollution free. It tackles any snow bank and easily rolls over curbs. The folding frame allows owners to hang it on a garage or shed wall. It’s portable.

The SNO WOVEL sells for $119.95 and is available online at www.snowovel.com, toll-free by phone at 877-598-2599, through specialty catalogs and, and at Amazon.com. Retail roll out has progressed with Sno Wovel available from numerous retailers in Canada, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and all over Europe.

For more information check out: www.snowovel.com

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