January Update

In this Update:

  1. How to complete your 2024 New Year Resolutions
  2. Shipping update - All orders for 2023 have been shipped
  3. Be a Part of the ZOA team - seeking members.
  4. Technical Update - continuous improvement, shorter processing time



  1. How to complete your 2024 New Year Resolution

Did you know, the three most common resolutions according to a Forbes survey are:

  • Improves Fitness (48%)
  • Improved Finances (38%)
  • Improved Mental Health (36%)

This was running through my head as I headed out with my PL1 for a ski tour over the holidays. Life is busy, how am I going to pull off these resolutions? While setting my rope line anchor it all clicked. What if there was a way I could pull off all three and have a lot of fun with friends in the process? Now hear me out as my wandering ski-touring mind puts this all together, but what if the PL1 is one key to unlocking all three resolutions?

  • Improved Fitness.
    • When using the PL1, you put it in your pack (10 pounds) and skin up to your desired zone and to the top of your run,  increasing your resistance, cardio and strength training.  You get more downhill runs than you normally would on a backcountry day working your quads, hams, calves and core skiing downhill.
  • Improved Mental Health.
    • Ski touring with the PL1 gets us away from everyday life, screens, stress and lift lines and helps us reconnect with nature. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and physical exertion all help to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
  • Improved Finances
    • Forget kicking a habit for your health’s sake, do it for your skiing. Whether it’s cutting back on alcohol, cannabis, junk food or others - a pizza, bottle of wine and a couple of joints will run you $50 plus a week. Over the course of a year that’s over $2,500
    • Pick up a PL1 for  ~$1,500 US ($2,000 Canadian) and you’re already $1,000 ahead, with improved Fitness, improved Mental health and winning on the fourth most popular resolution…HAVE MORE FUN

OK, maybe, the PL1 won’t solve all of our challenges, but it will definitely make your 2024 a whole lot more fun, and that’s something we can all use a little more of.

2. Shipping update - All orders for 2023 have been shipped

We have delivered all the orders from 2023 and have a few units in stock, which can ship right away.

  • Parts are all in stock now and we’re working to build up more inventory
  • Lead times are down significantly, getting your PL1 to you faster.

3. Be a Part of the ZOA team - seeking members of all ability levels.

Already own a PL1? We want you! We're looking to build a team of everyday backcountry skiers and boarders like yourself taking photos and videos of yourselves using the PL1 to showcase it on channels. In exchange for content, we've got some insider deals, discounts and more. Intrigued? Reach out to Andrew at azwicker@zoaeng.com to learn more.

You can also post your pics and videos with #rideZoa

4. Technical Update - continuous improvement, shorter processing time

Deflection Plate

The new deflection plate design is the most visible change. We went from hand poured urethane to a 3d printed nylon. This greatly improves the part consistency and allows for tighter tolerances. As an added benefit the new plates are stronger and more resilient. 

The design of the plates has also been updated. We opened up the gap between the pulleys and the deflection plate. This makes it much easier to reset the rope if it falls behind a drive pulley and reduces the chances of a rope grabbing and wrapping on the pulley if it does. 

We’ve also added a small stripper arm. This was a feature we tested on earlier prototypes and then removed as it was deemed unnecessary and complicated our moulds for the original design. The stripper arm adds some protection from the rope not ejecting properly and falling back into the pulleys.

Unless you’re experiencing an issue, we don’t recommend upgrading the deflection plate. Replacing it involves removing the gearbox from the front plate, and could lead to issues if anything is reinstalled improperly.



For the first batch of production drive pulleys we cut all the grooves for the grip ourselves after receiving blank pulleys from an outside manufacturer. As mentioned in past updates, we had tried numerous methods of adding texture to the pulleys to increase grip, and many of those processes would require us to provide the blanks to another shop for them to finish. The process we used in-house is a bit unorthodox, and initial quotes for cutting the grooves outside were very high. After spending way too much time on our small manual lathe, I realized doing this in-house wouldn’t be sustainable for another round of production. Working more closely with our suppliers we were able to find the right tooling for the job and get the parts made without adding huge costs. As an added benefit we were able to shave a little bit of weight off the pulleys and get a much cleaner and more consistent finish on the parts.


For the new gearbox housings we have shaved off some excess weight while increasing the outside surface area to improve heat transfer.

There are a couple changes inside the gearbox as well. We’ve machined some small features into all the shafts that allows us to eliminate another part and achieve tighter tolerances at the same time. We’ve also upgraded some of the bearings being used, which means less resistance in the gearbox and a bit more efficiency overall.


This was not a change we planned to make but it’s a familiar story. We needed to update the battery management board that’s built into our batteries due to availability. The new boards don’t change the performance or specs, but the new batteries did show up with slightly longer leads than the older models. On new units we have adjusted the mating leads to accommodate this. Thankfully the new batteries are still compatible with older units, but you should be aware that it will be a tighter fit than what you might be used to. Similarly, new units are still compatible with old batteries, but you may find you need to arrange the leads differently for a proper fit.


Thanks for keeping up with our progress!

Let it snow,

Zoa Engineering Team



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