FAQs – Rescue Toboggans

Does Cascade Rescue Company publish a manual on how to use their litters and toboggans?

No. In the case of litters, use of these products is dictated by unit management and rope rescue/work at height principles. In the case of rescue toboggans, protocol is most often dictated by area management and divisional and regional specialists from the NSP. The NSP also publishes and Outdoor Emergency Transportation manual. Where mechanical or safety issues are specifically related to our products, we will often publish articles related to those topics. Examples include maintenance, belay instructions or use of Slide Arrest Anchors. All of which can be found below.

What is the proper way to use a Sled Loader?

Proper use and installation of Sled Loader components may be found at: Using a Sled Loader

Why should I use a Sled Loader?

Use of a Sled Loader is likely one of the safest methods of transporting a rescue toboggan up-hill. Many other options exist for this task including “lap carrying” and towing via a snowmobile. We consider towing with a snowmobile, when done properly an extremely safe method. Lap carrying is not recommended and can be very dangerous given the risk of dropping the sled or having it blown out of the patrollers hands from unexpected wind gusts or lift stoppage.

What is the proper way to accomplish a low or high incline belay with a Cascade Rescue Toboggan?

The attached article was written by Cascade Rescue Company and published in Ski Patrol Magazine. Toboggan Belay 

I have a new Cascade Rescue "Cruiser SS"? It handles differently than our other Cascades - What's up with that?

YES! The Cruiser SS is the result of many years of R&D and testing with patrollers at many areas. A key difference is that of "subtlety". This means that control inputs such as braking, turning and traversing can be accomplished with much less pressure and input by the patroller. The thinking here is that we wanted a toboggan that was easier to run and required less physical effort to control. One of the ways we accomplished this was by increasing the distance from the point that the handles attach to the sled to the point and angle of inclination that the handle lock is positioned. Essentially we created a larger fulcrum (that whole Atlas and a lever thing). As such, more pressure can be exerted in a variety of ways on the sled to make it do what you want - hence, subtlety. The Cruiser is also designed to be faster and carve harder due to its Snow Slick, laterally and longitudinally concave bottom and canted fins. Canted fins allow the fins to be set in a more vertical position relative to the surface of the snow when the sled is tipped downhill. See the article below on doing the twist. There are many other differences between the Cruiser and a Legend or Extreme toboggan, but in the end it is a premium, next generation sled designed to help patrollers work smarter, not harder. Any questions on technique or differences can be directed to Tech Support at Cascade Rescue Company. 844-414-RESQ.

What are the differences between the Model 100 Legend and Model 350 Extreme toboggans?

The 100 and 350 are completely different sleds. While the 350 can accomplish the same functions as the 100, the reverse is not true. The Model 100 Legend toboggan is designed to be an all-purpose, mostly in-bounds rescue toboggan. It handles groomers, crud, powder (unless it is super deep), ice, etc. All the conditions you would normally find at a ski area. It is also easy for most patrollers to use with a relatively minimal amount of training. It is primarily a “fall line” toboggan – meaning you run it straight down the fall line. It can also be used to traverse steeper sections, but that does require a bit more finesse and training.

The Model 350 Extreme on the other hand is designed to be used in more difficult situations. While it can be run like a Legend with a single patroller up front and a tail roper, and does well on those same conditions the Legend does, it was primarily designed for more difficult situations requiring the skills of a two man team. It’s at home on extremely steep slopes and out of bounds areas that may have very deep powder, often amidst tight tree sections. It is the preferred unit of Heli and cat ski operators and areas like Alpental, the high peaks of Whistler/Blackcomb and mountain rescue teams that operate on places like Mt. Rainier. Because it is a two person sled with fixed handles in the front and the rear, it requires more training and a higher level of teamwork. A properly and experienced team can run an Extreme virtually anywhere.

Why do you offer 30 inch and 50 inch fin options on the Model 100 Toboggan?

Toboggans fitted with 50 inch fins are most commonly used in areas that have a predominance of hard packed or icy slopes. 50 inch fins only extend about 1.5” deep and include an “ice point” that can be utilized in steep icy terrain to stop the sled from washing out. Because of their length, they also tend to do better for those areas where they are most often towed behind snowmobiles as they track better.Conversely, 30 inch fins perform better in areas that more often than not have deeper, potentially ungroomed snow and deeper packed powder. The fins extend 2.5” deep and tend to hold a traverse line in those conditions much better.

What is the proper height of a Model 100 Legend toboggan handles?

From the bottom of the arch at the end of the handles (just before they bend downward) we measure the handles at 38 inches to the ground. There is about 3 inches of play in the handles creating a range of motion of 38 inches to 40 inches. The toboggan was on a solid, level surface.

How does a Chain Brake Release work?

Generally speaking the ring for the release should be slid over the welded ring on the handle on the right side (as you are standing in the handles). The release mechanism should have enough tension that it holds the chain up tightly and cannot be released unless you lift the ring up and forward to release. The ring should then slide down the right handle until it meets the crossbar where it should rest until you need to pull the brake back up. Disengaging the brake is accomplished by sliding the ring back up the handle and snapping it up over the crossover ring – where it should rest in place. The brake may still be engaged at that point, but by simply lifting the front of the toboggan allows the bungee to pull the chain out from underneath.

What maintenance should I perform on my Cascade Toboggans?

A complete maintenance outline may be reviewed at: Toboggan Maintenance

Do you recommend any specific training for use of the Cascade Toboggan?

Generally speaking, each ski area will require patrollers to conform to specific techniques and practices regarding use of rescue equipment. As such, Cascade Rescue does not provide training or use materials. We do however refer to the National Ski Patrol’s (NSP’s) Outdoor Emergency Transportation Manual (OET) and those trainers within the NSP.  An excellent article may also be viewed at:  Do the Twist

What is the proper way to use a Chain Brake on a toboggan?

The Chain Brake on a toboggan is a simple device to slow or stop the downward progression of a toboggan while moving downhill with a toboggan loaded with a patient. Generally speaking, the chain brake should be deployed when traveling downhill when the toboggan is loaded. When deployed, the amount of braking power can be controlled by increasing or decreasing the amount of downward force placed on the toboggan handles. A word of caution: The primary control surface for managing a toboggan – loaded or otherwise are your skis or snowboard. If the hill is steep, deploy the brake to take some of the heat off of your legs. Cranking down on the handles or putting more of your weight on the handles to increase your braking power only does bad things. First it takes weight off of your primary control surfaces making it more difficult to manage the toboggan, second, it puts unnecessary strain on the pivot point of the toboggan and the handles. If you are on a hill where you can’t control the toboggan in the fall line (Model 100), then get out of the fall line! Properly run, a Model 100 will easily traverse just about anything and does not always have to be pointed straight down the hill.

When should the handles on my toboggan be locked or unlocked?

There is a very easy way to remember the proper method. Locked when loaded, unlocked – unloaded.Running an empty toboggan with the handles in the locked position is potentially dangerous. Downward pressure applied to the handles may raise the rear of the toboggan off the snow and create a situation where the toboggan may wash out and slide downhill of the patroller.  It is critical to ensure that when the sled is loaded, the handles are locked.  On the Model 100 Legend, this is accomplished by ensuring the handles are fully inserted into the handle lock and the "pincers" are pushed down and fully encircle the handles.  On the Cruiser SS toboggan, both handle lock studs must be fully inserted into the handle lock/spray guard and that the backup "titan" strap has been secured.  The Model 350 Extreme does not have handle locks and the handles lock in place when installed.

What is the rope for on the end of the handles on my Model 100 Legend (Crossover Rope)?

The Crossover Rope is used for one purpose only. Many ski areas have level (flat) terrain at the bottom of their hill. This can require the patroller to drag their toboggan across these flat areas on their way to the aid station or lift for uploading. In such cases, the Crossover Rope may be fastened in front of the patroller. This allows a “hands free” position whereby the patroller may use their poles and skis to propel themselves and the toboggan across these flat areas. Any use of the Crossover Rope for any other purpose is at the sole risk of the person using it. Use of the Crossover Rope as a safety device while descending a hill with a loaded patient or as a towing device could be dangerous and is not recommended.

Why do Cascade Toboggans come with a Tail Rope?

All rescue toboggans manufactured by Cascade Rescue come with a rope attached at the rear of the toboggan. This is most commonly referred to as a Tail Rope. The purpose of the Tail Rope is to prevent any sled from running down (runaway) the mountainside unattended should the person who is operating the toboggan from the front handles fall or otherwise loose control of the toboggan. If this were to happen, the person operating the Tail Rope would be able to, and should always be prepared to, execute an emergency stop of the toboggan. Cascade Rescue strongly recommends the use of a Tail Rope whenever transporting a patient.

What are Cascade Toboggans made of?

Depending upon which model you have they may be made of all fiberglass materials or a combination or solely of fiberglass, Kevlar or Carbon Fiber.

What is the benefit of having a Bow Guard on my Cascade Toboggan?

Bow Guards serve to protect your Model 100 Legend from abrasion and wear due to Chain Brake use. They can significantly extend the life of your Cascade Toboggan. Bow Guards can be ordered installed at the factory or as a kit to retrofit your existing toboggans. Bow Guard kits will fit all Model 100 Legend Toboggans.

How do I repair my Cascade Toboggan?

We recommend that you contact Cascade Rescue directly. We will then be able to help assess the nature of the damage and appropriate steps for repair.

My Slide Arrest Anchors sometimes stick in their stowed position - What do I do?

The Cascade Rescue Slide Arrest Anchors (SAA) can sometimes be difficult to extract from their stored position and make-ready to deploy. This is especially true when they are brand new as the devices have been machined with relatively tight tolerances. Over time and use, the SAA will become increasingly easier to deploy. Until then, it is completely acceptable to apply a small quantity of WD-40 or light oil or grease. This will also help to reduce the accumulation of ice.

Does Cascade Rescue make storage units for toboggans on the hill?

We have seen lots of variations on this. The easiest and probably most economical is to acquire a section of large drainage pipe. Drag it up on the hill and anchor it securely so that there is no chance that anyone could maliciously roll it down the hill. Build hinged doors on both ends. When you need the toboggan, pull it out the downhill end, when you put it back, just slide it in the back door.

Does Cascade Rescue have a position regarding running a toboggan inside or outside the handles?

Please go to:  Position Paper