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It just takes a storm: Aussie couple find their lives changed in the Mountain Kingdom

It all started back in 2000 with a ski holiday road trip from Calgary to Vancouver, and a highway closure near Revelstoke. Australians Kim Pegg and Peter Stuart’s original route west was supposed to have taken them along the Trans-Canada Highway until the weather intervened and they needed to take a detour. They’d heard of “that Red place” and decided to give it a go. Fate, it seemed, had intervened that wintry day and brought them to Rossland, starting an intense love affair with the Mountain Kingdom that would eventually have them uprooting themselves from Sydney and planting new roots here in the shadow of Red Mountain.

Their first impressions of Rossland were more than favourable.

“We loved the mountain, we loved the downtown, and the restaurants were amazing. Everything was just amazing,” said Kim Pegg.

That one road trip led to a series of others and the purchasing of a property on Washington Street where they renovated part of it to live in themselves and fixed up the rest to rent out. Those digs were meant to only be a place to stay during ski holidays, but Kim wound up having an epiphany on the ski hill one day that changed their minds.

“We were up skiing, and one particular time I was up there and I just stopped there on Reno’s Run and just had this feeling that this is where we should be. So I came down to the bottom and said to Peter, ‘We’re moving to Rossland.’ And he said, ‘Oh no, we’re not’, and I said, ‘Oh yes, we are.’”

It took them four years to make the move; both had businesses in Oz: Peter was in real estate, renovating old buildings, and Kim as well had her hands a bit in real estate but also in the retail and e-commerce fields, too.

In 2005, they purchased the old Mater Misericordiae Hospital building with the goal of renovating it and selling it, and in 2006 they made their move to Rossland permanent and attained residency status.

Once their project with the hospital was finished, it was time to find other work, and another fateful accident turned them onto their current business venture, the importing and distribution of the Scenar (pronounced SKEN-ar) pain-relieving device. During one ski session, Kim met fellow Australian Helen Gracie, owner of Rossland’s Avalon Guest House, at Paradise Lodge. Gracie’s daughter, Amy, had scoliosis and doctors in Oz predicted she’d be in a wheelchair by the age of 18 if she didn’t have some radical surgery.

This led Gracie to finding the Scenar device in Russia, where it had been used in the Russian space program for 30 years. With the help of Scenar expert Chris Mortensen, Amy’s scoliosis was treated with the device and now her back is straight and she’s a level one ski instructor--and she’s 18.

In 2008, Peter was out skiing and got whiplash. Instead of going and getting a brace for his neck, Chris Mortensen, who just happened to be in town here skiing, treated the whiplash with the Scenar, and Peter was sold after previously dismissing the device.

“Within two days I could ski again,” he told me. “My neck was fine. Then he [Mortensen] fixed up a bad back I’d had for nine years. I had to go into the chiropractor every two weeks for nine years, sometimes more than that, and I haven’t been to the chiropractor since. I’ve hurt my back again, but I use the Scenar now. And at that stage I said I’ve got to know more about this.”

He credits the device for changing his life. In 2008, once the hospital renovations were complete, their friend Helen Gracie suggested they come on board with the sales, marketing, and distribution of Scenar.

The hand-held device, approximately the size of a remote control, which has just been approved by Health Canada, is used to treat acute chronic and post-operative pain and utilizes electrical impulses that communicate with the body’s nervous system. It’s non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive. Scenar literature says the device “interactively locates, measures, and prompts problem areas in the body...through the skin to help relieve pain and restore function. It is a bio-feedback device that aids the body in the self-healing process.

Peter says, “For many years it was a military secret in Russia. It was scientists who developed it and took it over [after it was declassified]. It was still very much a secret in the 2000 Olympics. All the Russian sports people were using it and they’d fall over one day and limp off the field and the next day they’d win a gold medal. They were testing them and testing them for drugs, but they were using the Scenar.”

The device has been successful in Rossland because there are so many athletes here. Several local therapists, including two physio therapists, some RMTs, and other pain relief specialists use the device. Even I had my own Scenar experience while I was having physio therapy at the Infinity clinic for shoulder tendonitis.

The device was officially licensed in Canada May 18 of this year, and that’s the day Kim and Peter started their new business, renovating part of their Washington Street building as a sales, information, and educational centre for Scenar. With the help of the Nelson & District Credit Union and the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology (KAST), who aided the couple during the process of setting up the business since neither had experience starting a business in Canada before, the world looks like Kim and Peter’s proverbial oyster.

In fact, they are already looking to expand, and one idea on the horizon is a residency program where people can come to Rossland to have Scenar practitioners work on themand have some R&R in our lovely town, all with the goal of enhancing well-being and focusing on healing.

This entrepreneurial couple are on their way to becoming card-carrying Canucks. When asked if they ever get homesick for Oz, both of them say no; both firmly consider Rossland home now. Citing the climate, the friendliness, the clean air, the wildlife, the creativity of the people here, both say that they get homesick for Rossland when they go away.

Both enthusiastically declare, “We love living here!”