PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — An employee at a Utah ski resort died Monday after being ejected from a chairlift shaken by a tree that fell onto a lift cable, resort officials and police said.
Representatives of Park City Mountain and the Summit County Sheriff said a 29-year-old resort employee fell at least 25 feet (7.6 meters) from the Short Cut chairlift into a deep ravine around 11:25 a.m.
The Park City ski patrol attempted to treat his injuries and evacuated ten others on the chairlift.
“We are all deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and we will support our employees as we grieve this devastating loss,” said Deirdra Walsh, the resort’s vice president and chief operating officer.
Park City declined to identify the employee. The Summit County Sheriff planned on Wednesday to release the name of the accident victim, a Millcreek resident, following his family’s wishes.
Summit County Sheriff Captain Andrew Wright told KSL-TV that the man was a ski patroller who fell into terrain that was difficult to access. Ski patrol members took at least 20 minutes to reach the victim and dig him out of what deputies called “chest-deep snow” before attempting to treat him.
“This wasn’t over a run,” Wright said, noting that the department’s investigation may consider variables including snow, tree health, and tree proximity to the lift.
The Short Cut chairlift remained closed while the investigation continued Tuesday.
As record snowfall continues in Utah, Park City has received 56 inches (1.4 meters) in the past week. Lift maintenance crews have been in a labor dispute with the resort over the past year, demanding higher wages, safer working conditions, and more efforts to retain experienced mechanics.