Jeff Scott emerged as a leader in outdoor recreation for people with disabilities following a snowboarding accident in 2010.
Scott lives in Victoria but was recently in the Burn Lake area visiting family — he grew up here — after a fundraising event in Smithers.
The Lake District News caught up with Scott at his family home on Decker Lake to learn about his latest initiatives.
The one-day fundraising event — called the Extreme Everest Challenge, which took place on April 14-15 — simulated the toil of climbing Mount Everest.
Participants ascended Hudson Bay Mountain 18 times, a combined elevation gain of 8,850 vertical metres — equivalent to the height of the infamous Himalayan mountain.
About 60 people were registered for the event, and they clambered up the Hudson Bay Mountain on cross-country skis and snowshoes, Scott said.
One difference from the actual Mount Everest slog is that participants get to ski back down the mountain after each lap — or descend by snowshoe or GT snow racer.
Laps can also be split among several participants on a team, and there was a barbecue on the mountaintop.
“We had a barbecue at the top of the hill, there were prizes to give away,” said Scott. “It was just a great event this year.”
Backcountry ski camp
Registration fees and a raffle at the event — which is organized by the Extreme Everest Challenge Society — raise $4,000 annually for Live It! Love It!, the foundation that Scott co-founded with friends after a 2010 snowboarding accident that damaged his spinal cord, leaving him wheelchair-bound.
His accomplishments following that accident have demonstrated the resilience of the human spirit.
The foundation organizes advanced adaptive ski camps for people with mobility issues, with participants from across the country. This year, for the first time ever, they put on a backcountry ski camp, following a research and development trip in April 2017.
The trip involved travelling in a snowcat — an impressive piece of machinery resembling a tank —which towed a trailer called a Lunchbox.
The device, dreamed up by Scott and developed under his leadership, allowed several adaptive chairs known as sit skis to be towed behind the snowcat during the two-day, two-night trip.
“The cat pulls the trailer up the hill, you get to the top, everyone comes out, we ski — and then do it all over again,” said Scott.
Scott was in the news in 2013 after winning an adaptive van worth about $75,000 — a Dodge Caravan with adaptions by Braun Ability — which he demonstrated to the Lakes District News during his visit to the Burns Lake area.
Using a remote control on his key fob, Scott opened the automatic sliding door and lowered the ramp, before lifting himself onto a rotating chair.
The accelerator and brake are controlled using a hand-lever, and Scott steers using a special handle mounted onto the steering-wheel — a set-up that allows him to ply the highways across B.C.
“Throttle down for gas, forward for brake,” said Scott as he fired up the engine. “Away we go.”