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Stayin' Alive

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  • Posted on 23rd Sep, 2022 03:41 AM
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This story appears in the October 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Forget those designated trails--back-country terrain is wherereal sports enthusiasts are trekking. And with natural occurrencessuch as avalanches, hail storms and bear attacks common on theseuntrodden paths, products and services geared toward safety andsurvival are in great demand. Safety courses, first-aid kits andavalanche safety equipment prove attractive to the"out-of-bounds" skiers, riders and climbers of theworld.

Such demand has also enticed entrepreneurs to turn their roughdrafts into realities. For instance, David Weiss, 60, a projectdirector for Salinas, 's Monterey Bay RegionalPartnership, a federally funded group providing work experience forstudents, designed and markets the Sierra Survival Scarf for SantaCruz, California-based Pacific Venture Outdoor Products. The scarflists life-saving information such as patterns andwater-procurement techniques directly on the cloth. And TomCrowley, 62, a psychiatry professor at the University of Coloradoin and a back-country skier, invented the AvaLung,distributed by Salt Lake City's Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., avest equipped with a filtration device that draws fresh airdirectly from suffocating avalanche-caused snowpacks. "Mystate has the [country's] highest mortality rate fromavalanches," says Crowley. "All of us here are concernedabout it, so I [thought] of a way to help reduce therisk."

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