In fact, on Big Mountain in Whitefish, Montana.
In February 1994, David Levy and his family came from Seattle to teach
the kids to ski.
Only, David didn't ski. Or snowboard. (Fortunately, his wife did and
the youngsters quickly learned how.)
Not content just reading books in the lodge, he brought along a tiny,
second-hand sled. Before daybreak the next morning, he scouted the
right ski slope where he might steal a few, surreptitious runs.
The sledding was exhilarating.
The walk back up (at 5,000 feet) was demoralizing.
Just then, he spotted a small, solitary lift lurching to a start.
He nestled on the 21" center of the child-sized sled, and sped down to
greet the lift operator at the bottom.
"What in blazes are you doing here? Get the hell off this hill!" Ron
Shafer, the prickly liftee demanded.
"Aw, come on, I just want to ride up and take a few quick runs. It's
still dark. No one will see me. No one's even out here at 7:00!" David
But rules are rules. And ski safety laws are laws. And insurance
policies are policies.
"Heck, not even Bill Nelson, the head of the mountain, would let you
sled on this hill!"
So off David went to see Bill Nelson. And Bill listened.
"Let me get this straight, David." Bill said in his calm, deliberate
way. "You're a 40-something father of 3 and you want me to allow you
to ride Chair 6 so you can fly down on a kid's sled dressed like a
refuge from an Army-Navy surplus store wearing that silly
"Okay---just be off the hill by 9:00 before we open it to the public,"
And so began four years of the most delightful, carefree winter
holidays. Mrs. Levy and kids on skis, Mr. Levy on his early morning
Until that little sled broke. David had the world at his feet...an
empty hill, a free chairlift, and two hours of peerless sledding. He
just had to find a new sled.
Of course, you already know our story's next part.
He could find no sled made -- or ever made -- to safely descend
serious slopes at dangerous speeds.
So together with his sled engineer Paul Smith, and his sled designer
Lou Patnode, and 3-D artists Robert & Michael, and a dedicated team of
die-makers, roto-molders, aluminum extruders, foam cutters,
silk-screeners, anodizers, powder-coaters, and CNC machine operators,
David made a better sled.
In fact, it was so much better than any sled ever made, it was awarded
U.S. Patent #6,349,950.
write the rest of our story.
Will the hills be blanketed with brave sledders slicing slopes where
no runner sled has gone before?
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