Park City Mountain employee killed in Utah lift accident

A tree fell onto the Short Cut lift around 10:45 a.m. on Monday

Toria Barnhart
Park Record
A Park City Mountain employee died Monday morning following a fall from a chair on the Short Cut lift that occurred after a tree fell on the lift line.
David Jackson/Park Record

A Park City Mountain employee died Monday morning following a fall from a chairlift after a tree fell on the lift line. He was 29.

Around 10:45 a.m., a tree fell on the resort’s Short Cut chairlift line. An on-duty ski patroller who was riding at the time became unseated. He fell from at least 25 feet up, according to Sara Huey, senior manager of communications. 

Park City Mountain Ski Patrol immediately responded to the area and performed life saving efforts, but the employee did not survive.

“The Park City Mountain team — as well as the entire Vail Resorts team — extend our deepest sympathy and support to the family and friends of our team member,” said Deirdra Walsh, Park City Mountain vice president and chief operating officer. “We are all deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and we will be providing support for our employees as we grieve this devastating loss.” 

Ski Patrol safely evacuated 10 other people on the chairlift. The lift evacuation was completed by 1:06 p.m., according to Huey. Several other chairlifts in the area were closed to support the response. The Short Cut chairlift will remain closed pending an investigation into the incident. 

Summit County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Andrew Wright said the tree likely hit the line behind the chair the man was riding, causing it to oscillate and unseat him. Wright estimates the ski patroller fell closer to 50 feet, or more, into deep snow.

A deputy hiked down to the area to assist with the investigation. Wright said there are many questions about why the tree fell that officials hope to answer, and that a medical examiner will determine a cause of death. The Sheriff’s Office has also been in contact with the deceased’s family out of state, he said. It’s possible the employee’s name will be released later this week.

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