Though it sounds like a ski production company specializing in ariel cinematography, Mountain Drones uses… well, drones… to aid in taking the danger out of avalanche mitigation. Currently based in Vail, Mountain Drones will be relocating to Telluride for the next 5 months.
“Living in Vail for a couple of years, we lost a few friends to avalanche incidents,” Brent Holbrook, one of the co-founders of Mountain Drones, said to Telluride Daily Planet. “We were wondering if there was any way we could use this new technology to address that danger.”
Mountain Drones was originally a company to seek out avalanche victims who were buried – an arial search team, if you will. But they have decided to shift their focus.
“Instead of starting with the problem, why don’t we start at the beginning and make the problem not happen as much?” Holbrook asked.
What their products do, and how, are still a bit of a mystery. Patents are still being secured, so until then, it is left up to our imagination.
In the past, TVA has been very deliberate in selecting startups. They seek projects with both sound ideas and tangible benefits to communities like Telluride. Some previous startups that fit this criteria have been PlanitMapper and LifeDojo. Cleary, Mountain Drones is relevant extremely relevant to the area. The Telluride back country, Bear Creek, is the most deadly off piste skiing in the San Miguel county. This makes Telluride a perfect home for the company, at least for the next 5 months.
“We are excited about the mentors that are a part of the TVA program,” Warren Linde said to Telluride Daily Planet. “There will be strong support on both the technical and business sides. We’ll have some mentors that are business-minded and some other mentors out there in the field mitigating avalanches as we speak.”
Earlier this season, Telluride implemented monitored radio channels for the back country. With these new channels, and the acceptance of Mountain Drones into the TVA program, it shows the town’s dedication to leveraging technology to keep people in the back country safe.