A simple personal need led a local entrepreneur to create a company to help facilitate outdoor playtime between parents and their children.
It all started on the slopes.
When it came time to teach his toddler how to ski, Scott Coleman thought, "There has to be an easier way."
Yet, the Ogden resident stuck with it, instilling the lessons his parents passed to him on the slopes when he was young.
However, a few years later, when it came time to teach his daughter how to ski, the same frustrations returned.
Until recently, the options to teach youngsters how to ski were for the teacher to ski backwards and guide the student from the front, hold the skier or maybe rig up some ropes or leashes.
"I just said to myself, there has to be a better way to teach skiing to make it more enjoyable," Coleman said, "so I set out to solve my own problem."
Coleman, a medical device salesman by trade, went to his garage and welded a device to help guide the skis.
"I've been around product development a long time," Coleman said.
The device clamped onto his daughter's skis and was guided by hooks attached to Coleman's own ski poles. The device gave his daughter the feeling that she was skiing independently, which in turn helped her go on her own even quicker.
When Coleman tried out the product on the ski slopes, he found interest from other parents and decided he might have stumbled upon a great new product.
He gathered an advisory board and founded the Ogden-based company Launchpad. His wife, Aly Coleman, serves as president of the company.
Launchpad develops products to facilitate teaching activities to others. Through the company, he hopes he can help families get out and play together.
"I'm inspired by my kids, and I wanted to know if there is a better way to improve their skill sets," Coleman said.
He met with a patent attorney and began work on developing the company's first product, based on his ski training system called Hookease, which officially launched in November.
With Hookease, a person can teach the proper fundamentals of skiing while in a controlled environment on the slope.
"You can give the kids the sensation, look and feel that they are skiing," Coleman said. "We turned what can be a frustrating experience on the mountain into an enjoyable experience."
Stu Marsh, snowsports manager at Snowbasin Resort, sits on Launchpad's advisory board.
He was one of the first to see the product in action.
"One of the best teaching tools I've come across in my 45 years of skiing," Marsh said of Hookease.
Marsh helped Coleman with ideas and developing products, such as Launchpad's other product, called Wedgease, which is a tip connector that helps beginning skiers learn how to wedge their skis.
At Snowbasin, instructors keep sets of Hookease and Wedgease as teaching tools, replacing harnesses and straps.
The ski resort also uses the product to help people with disabilities and even adults.
"It's been truly gratifying to see other people enjoying this technology," Coleman said.
Olympic gold medal-winning skier Picabo Street agreed to endorse the product.
"I truly believe it's the most revolutionary product to hit the marketplace for the first-time skier ever," Street said.
She discovered Hookease while searching online for something to help her train her own children.
After familiarizing herself with the product on Laundpad's web site, she received a call from her agent asking if she would like to try a new product.
When she heard it was Hookease, she jumped on the opportunity. She now keeps the product in her pockets when she goes out skiing herself.
"I think a lot more families will recreate on the snow if it was easier and (they) could stay out there longer," Street said.
So far, the company has three employees and only the Hookease and Wedgease products, but Coleman hopes it grows.
Coleman said basing the company in Ogden has been a boon as well, as former Mayor Matthew Godfrey -- a member of the company's advisory board -- helped brand Ogden as an outdoor-recreation mecca.
As he travels the world with his products, Coleman finds that people know the city and the companies based here, such as Amer Sports and Goode Skis.
"I couldn't ask for a better city to put our roots in," Coleman said.
For more information about the company, visit http://launchpadgear.com.