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Utah Ski Resort Employee Dies After Being Ejected From Chairlift

On Monday, Jan. 2, a 29-year-old ski patrol employee at a Utah ski resort died after falling at least 25 feet. The deadly event occurred at Park City Mountain Resort after a tree fell on a chairlift line, according to NBC station KSL-TV. Christian Helger has been identified as the dead.

According to a news release from the Summit County Sheriff, Helger fell off the Short Cut chairlift into a deep valley with poor access on Monday around 11:25 a.m. Summit County Sheriff Captain Andrew Wright told KSL-TV that it took about 20 minutes for ski patrol members to reach Helger and extract him from “chest-deep snow.”

By 1:06 p.m., 10 others had been evacuated from the chairlift following Helger’s fall. Other chairlifts in the region were closed to aid with the reaction. “Certainly, there will be many questions about what led that to happen.

There was a lot of snow, to be sure. “There could be other variables,” Wright noted, adding that the department will investigate numerous aspects of his death, such as snow conditions, tree health, and tree proximity.

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A restaurant company in Los Angeles has been ordered to pay $1.6 million in back wages to 83 employees. The resort’s vice president and chief operating officer, Deirdra Walsh, issued a press release in response to the incident.

“The Park City Mountain team, as well as the entire Vail Resorts team, express our heartfelt condolences and support to our team member’s family and friends,” Walsh stated. “We are all very grieved by this awful tragedy, and we will provide our staff support as they grieve this devastating loss.” Park City Mountain Resort will keep the Short Cut chairlift closed in the meantime.

According to the Associated Press, Utah has had record snowfall this season. In the last week, Park City has received 56 inches of rain. Lift maintenance staff have been in a labor dispute with the resort for the past year, requesting higher compensation, safer working conditions, and increased efforts to retain skilled mechanics, according to the outlet.

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