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Thread: Using a power chair in the snow

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Minneapolis, MN

    Using a power chair in the snow

    I reside in Minnesota and I have used a Tilite ZRa with e-motion wheels for about eight years. In that time I have had to negotiate sidewalks and streets with varying amounts of snow or ice. I have actually been stuck in the snow such that I was unable to work my way out of the situation without the help of strangers. I need to be able to get across a large campus fairly regularly.

    I recently got a Permobil F5VS power chair. I am reluctant to use the chair in the snow because of the possibility of getting stuck and I'm not sure that AAA will help. Therefore I seek the collected wisdom to advise me on using a power chair in the snow. How likely am I to get stuck? What are the limitations to travel in inclement weather? Will the snow affect any of the mechanisms of the chair?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Did you get the optional snow tires? Those might help.
    "Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed." - Hunter Thompson
    T5/6 complete

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    No, I did not. My concern was that, although they might be useful in the snow, the ride would be routinely rougher than with normal tires and that might affect my spasms. I've already thrown myself in front of a train once because of spasms. I'm not interested in doing it again. Plus, the idea of swapping tires out seems to be something of a burden.

  4. #4
    That was my only semi intelligent idea to help. Can't think of any reason your bulldozer of a chair would be damaged from a few snowflakes. Plastic fenders and such will be very brittle in those temps. That weather is brutal enough to sink an ore freighter.
    "Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed." - Hunter Thompson
    T5/6 complete

  5. #5
    You should be fine using a powerchair in the snow, but be aware you can get stuck, especially on ice. The best practice is to use momentum to your advantage, and try to avoid situations that'll potentially get you stuck.

  6. #6
    Looks like this guy in Denver is having a similar issue.

  7. #7
    One thing that was suggested to me was putting simple plastic zip ties on the tires, need to be the thicker ones, almost like putting chains on a car tire. May name your inside ride a little rough, but they are easy to take off and then put new ones on when you need them again. Once when I was stuck in a parking lot I put my glove down to regain traction.

  8. #8
    Not trying to be funny. I lived 13 years in that awful stuff. My solution was to move to a warm climate. Best investment I ever made. I can enjoy life all year now.

  9. #9

    My recommendation is to get out in the snow with a couple friends (who can help if you stuck) and learn the best way to maneuver in the snow and learn the limitations of the chair.
    "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    I use a zx1 scooter. If you aren't familiar, it's an attachment to my rigid frame wheelchair that I can attach or detatch. During my first Winter with it I purchased snow tires from Monster tires (on line). They really helped a lot and I left them on - 3 years now - and don't notice any difference in the ride.
    You might want to try snow tires, keeping the original tires on hand, of course. You might find they help in snow as they did for me.

    P.S. Hope you don't EVER stop going out for concern about getting stuck. Just use caution that any non-disabled person would use. I have found that strangers LOVE to help when they have a chance to rescue someone. You would do the same if you were in reverse situation. Non-disabled persons are often terrified of icy paths that can lead to falls and broken bones. Broken wrists, hips, etc. Several times on my icy path to work in my wheelchair, a walkee would comment to me "Be careful there....". I'm afraid it usually produced a chuckle in me as I was more worried for them.

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