‘Zero rescues and counting’: Meet the Saskatchewan Avalanche Rescue Team – Saskatoon

They’ve got no experience, zero training and they’ll rescue you from an avalanche — just as long as they can stop for a coffee at Tim Horton’s on the way.  

Luckily, no skier or snowboarder is likely to need the assistance of these rescuers.

They are the Saskatchewan Avalanche Rescue Team, a Saskatoon-based clothing company with a proud record of “zero rescues and counting.”  

From a hearty chuckle to genuine intrigue, the brand was getting a variety of reactions at the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

“Some people immediately understand that it’s just a joke and there’s actually no avalanches, and then other people will come with a very confused look upon their face and wonder why we’re here or what our purpose is,” said co-founder Sean Rutherford.

Cherie Rutherford, Mike Storey and Sean Rutherford selling Saskatchewan Avalanche Rescue Team clothing at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

The ‘mastermind’ 

The civil engineer started making T-shirts in his basement after leaving an unfulfilling job in Fort McMurray, Alta. and moving back to Saskatoon.

He said his friend Carson Hinther was the “mastermind” behind the idea for an avalanche rescue team based in a province famous for being flat.

Hinther asked Rutherford to print a custom order of T-shirts with the team name to be given away as Christmas presents.

Rutherford said the T-shirts proved to be a hit when Hinther and his family started wearing them on trips to real avalanche country.

“They do a ton of skiing and stuff like that, out in Alberta, in the mountains, and so they were wearing them when they were out snowboarding and they got a really good reaction,” said Rutherford.

“When he came back he was telling me about how much everybody loved them so I asked him if he would be interested in making something out of it.”

Rutherford has recently started selling the clothing with the rest of the team, made up of Cherie Rutherford and Mike Storey.

Prairie pride

He said the brand was partly a nod to his pride in Saskatchewan and the community here, and also an acknowledgement that the province has produced stars on the slopes, such as professional snowboarder Mark McMorris.

Cherie Rutherford said the shirts had also been popular with ski patrol members in more mountainous provinces like Alberta.

The group also has plans to sell membership cards and plan meetings, with the possibility of doing community work in the future.  

“The more people we have…

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