My Story

By Hilary Cholhan, AvR Co-founder

 

Crystal clear sky on a crisp February morning. Another great day of skiing in Utah ahead of us. Or, so we thought…

Skiing with my three boys, in tandems of two. Criss-crossing, weaving. Turns in sync. Stop. Wait for a wave to go by. Coast is clear. Like birds swooping down, we take off in twos. The first pair careens toward the bottom of the run. My turn to take off - short tight turns just inside the left tree line. Just as I get into a nice rhythm, out of nowhere, I spot a gray shadow with speed heading directly toward my path of descent. What to do?

Trees to my left. Skier to my right. Little choice. 

We collided - helmets first. I was sent spiraling down the slope. I slammed my right shoulder into the packed powder, my left ski catching an edge and twisting my leg outward. All quiet.

Laying motionless for a few seconds with eyes still closed, I tried to get my bearings. Searing pain in my right shoulder – torn bicep; searing pain in my left knee – torn ACL. But, I was alive and conscious. Before I could even open my eyes, a calming voice asked me, “ski patrol?” It was my ski instructor son, Christian, who knows the resort well, knew exactly which run we were on, knew how to get a hold of ski patrol, and had a cell phone that worked. Finally, I opened my eyes. The first thing I see – the trunk of an evergreen tree a mere 2 feet away. That was a tremendously close call.

I was lucky that day. If it weren’t for my son’s know-how and immediate action, who knows how things would’ve ended with me laying in severe pain in the frigid snow. A most fortunate outcome to a close brush…

 
 

"I was lucky that day."

 
 
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Our AvR Story

Continued by Hilary

 

Later we reflected on the accident. Two of us are level III ski instructors in Park City. The other two are lifelong skiers since early childhood.  Even with our combined 125+ years of skiing, this particular experience left all four of us with an avalanche of unsettling questions:

What if I did hit that tree, or any other tree?

What if my ski instructor son wasn’t right there?

What if my son’s smartphone wasn’t working because of the cold and patchy coverage on mountains?

What if I had decided to evade the other skier? Where would I have ended up?

What if I had not been skiing with my boys? Who would have seen me and stopped to help?

On and on the questions came. No doubt the outcome might have been quite different.

With skiing and snowboarding, you never know when you might have an accident, where you’ll end up or how severe it will be. The questions surrounding my accident stoked us to seriously rethink the current alerting process on the front side of the mountain.

 

*In case you were wondering what happened to the other skier who collided with me – they brushed themselves off and skied away...

 

Our aim is to completely bypass the traditional human-to-human chain of communication and transmission of (mis)information as well as the hugely unreliable smartphone approach.

We set out to develop a much quicker, simpler and truly reliable way to get injured victims at ski resorts help faster than ever before. That’s exactly what the AvR Alert System™ will do. The wearable safety device will allow any skier or boarder to alert ski patrol simply and directly, through the push of a button or in cases of extreme accidents, automatically. Within seconds, ski patrol will receive each alert, the exact GPS location on the mountain and other valuable information to enact a speedy response.

Instant alert.
Precise location.
No guessing.
No time delay.
Ski patrol on the way!

In response to tremendous feedback from prospective users, including skiers, snowboarders, ski patrol and ski resort operations management teams, the AvR Alert System™ has been undergoing continuous refinement. Check out some of the milestones we’ve hit.

At AvR, we are totally committed to our mission of saving riders on the mountain.  We want you to join us, so together, we can bring TRUE peace of mind to the mountains!