On The Clock | SummitDaily.com

On The Clock

Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkToby Cruse

Copper Mountain ski patroller Toby Cruse gives the most pure reason he’s continued his career for more than 20 years: He simply loves skiing.A former patroller at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone Resort, Cruse was also a heli guide for Colorado Heli Ski in Summit County during the late 1980s and early ’90s. The heli company went out of business and Cruse returned to in-bounds patrolling.What do you like about your job?”I like to ski,” is Cruse’s primary answer, but as an avalanche technician he also likes to work with explosives and is keen on snow science.”I’m incredibly interested in looking at snow, digging in the snow and making sure the avalanche danger inside the ski area is zero.”

An Emergency Medical Technician for 22 years, Cruse also likes to work with people who need medial attention and feels good to know he’s saved lives in his work.What are the job’s challenges?”I like to work with people, but the more I patrol the more I recognize there are some people who don’t appreciate what’s out there (in the backcountry, outside ski area boundaries). There’s a lack of common sense that didn’t prevail 10 years ago. I see people that don’t have the right gear taking huge chances to the extreme.”Calling himself “old school,” Cruse also has a hard time relating to a new generation of skiers and riders.”My biggest challenge is relating to snowboarders and skiers who spend all their time in the parks. They’re interested less for the reason I started skiing – the outdoors, nature and enjoying the feeling of covering terrain on skis.”

What brought you to Summit? When Cruse was a child, his father worked as a wildlife biologist whose territory included Summit County.”His favorite thing was to come up here and watch the reservoir fill,” Cruse said, referring to the early 1960s, when the Dillon Dam was completed. It took about two years for the Dillon Reservoir to fill. While taking a break from college, Cruse decided to live in Summit.”When I realized I could actually get paid to go skiing, that totally raked me in.”

What do you do in the summers?Cruse is a former river guide but now spends summers working as a full-time carpenter.Tell us something your co-workers don’t know about you.”Every day I steal a moment for myself. Whether it’s a shot through the trees or a groomer, I turn my attention to skiing and get a moment for myself. I do this every single day.”- Kim Marquis

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