Wheelblades: When You Need To Use Your Wheelchair In The Snow

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Snow-covered, icy streets can get the best of even the heartiest Minnesotan. Almost all of us have stumbled or had a hard time trudging through fresh snowfall.

But winter weather poses an especially difficult challenge for people who use wheelchairs. The snow makes it difficult to maneuver and steer, and it can be so limiting that many people lower their activity level, dramatically.

A new product called, Wheelblades, is designed to improve winter mobility for wheelchair users.

Sam and Tracy Tabaka, of Rogers, Minn., have never allowed their wheelchairs to hold them back.

“We both enjoy marathons and triathlons and all sorts of fun, outdoor stuff,” said Tracy Tabaka.

But every winter, the everyday becomes a challenge.

Front wheels on a wheelchair have a tendency to sink in the snow, making moving or even staying in the chair difficult.

“There’s a lot of tipping yourself back and jumping over piles of snow,” Tracy Tabaka said.

“I’ve taken many spills,” Sam Tabaka added.

Now, Wheelblades help eliminate the seasonal obstacle. The Takabas are the first Minnesotans to try them out.

“It’s a huge difference, just for comfort and feeling secure,” Tracy Tabaka said.

The Wheelblades are small skis that attach to the front wheels, allowing the wheelchair user to glide easily through the snow.

It functions the same way as snow shoes, spreading weight over a greater surface, allowing wheels to glide more easily.

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Maurice Smith