I can't remember the first time I put on a pair of skis, as my memories at 2 1/2 years old are vague at best. However, I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a ski patroller. Growing up in Grangeville Idaho, the mountain was my babysitter. My father used to drop me off at Snow Haven on his way to work. I would ski laps on the rope tow all day. When I got tired or cold, I would ski down to the ski patrol shack, knock on the window, and one of the patrollers would come out and help me out of my bear trap bindings. The patrollers were all like aunts and uncles to me and I always knew, one day, I would wear the red coat. For 24 years now, I've proudly worn the red coat on Mt. Hood.
I learned how to pull sleds with the Austrian "Akja". We loved them because they were lightweight, maneuverable and you could airlift your patient up through the flats. But with the advent of long spine boards, the Akja was not as practical as it once had been. We tried every other toboggan we could get our hands on, but they were either too heavy, or their flat bottoms would not slide in our maritime climate. About 16 years ago, a former patroller of ours told us about a great new toboggan being developed by a Canadian canoe company. It was lightweight, maneuverable, and could easily fit the long spine board. Calls were made, and soon they were demoing their prototypes for us on Mt. Hood. It was amazing! The actual thought and engineering that went into this toboggan was mind blowing. We made a few suggestions to make it more patrol-friendly and then promptly ordered the first toboggans to come off their production line. Soon the Akja's were all replaced by the toboggan called, The Clipper EDGE.
The EDGE was originally designed and produced by master canoe and kayak designer, James Van Nostrand. Sadly, James lost his battle with cancer, and since then, I was honored to take that original vision that started in a canoe shop in Canada and catapult it into what it is today. Five years ago, I founded EDGE Rescue and moved the toboggan company to the foot of Mt. Hood. We now service over 100 resorts throughout the US, Canada, and Iceland. We've grown the company based off three tenets:
1. Relationships: Build personal relationships with every resort and patroller we encounter.
2. Evolve: Don't get comfortable. Continue to commit to producing the best product possible. Our proximity to Mt. Hood gives us year-round research and development, so our products are constantly evolving.
3. Source locally: Every employee is a patroller (from our reps, to our production staff, to the girl that sews our straps). We make every effort to make sure that all the materials are sources as locally as possible.
I'm tremendously proud of the business we've built. Everyone that touches our products does it with love of the mountain and their fellow man.