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Updated: Park City Mountain Resort to Keep Backcountry Access Closed For Rest of Season

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Utah Avalanche Center
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Update: Park City Mountain Resort responded to the petition with the following statement, making clear that backcountry access from the resort will remain closed through the end of this ski season. The original article follows this quote.

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire Park City Mountain team, we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends and all those affected by the avalanche tragedies across Utah’s backcountry this season. These events are truly heartbreaking for the impacted families, our community and for many of us personally. 

 

We appreciate the community’s patience, understanding and input as we’ve evaluated the backcountry exit points at Park City Mountain following the tragedies outside of our resort boundaries. We have been and are taking this time to carefully analyze the situation and have discussions with our resort partners including the U.S. Forest Service. With the winter season coming to an end, we will keep the resort exits to the backcountry closed through the remainder of this season. We understand the public’s desire to have backcountry access via the resort and are committed to resolving this issue, and we will announce more specific details of what that will look like prior to the start of next season.

 

A new petition is collecting signatures to ask Vail Resorts to reinstate access to backcountry skiing in United States Forest Service lands from the top of the 9990 chairlift at Park City Mountain Resort.

 

The Change.org petition was started by a handful of backcountry skiers, including Megan McKenna, Matt Lindon, Roy Crandall and Brendan Mooney.

 

The petition is directed to Vail Resorts, which just put next winter’s season passes on sale this week.

 

The petitioners say they have written letters and made phone calls to no avail. With next year’s passes on sale and no formal announcement regarding the future of the backcountry gates, they say they’re being left in the dark to make their future plans.

 

The petition askes Vail Resorts to reinstate access to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest land from the Park City ridgeline immediately and for the remainder of this ski season. Since Feb. 2, season pass holders have not only been denied access to their public lands, the petition says but denied a voice in the decision-making process.

 

They also request that Vail Resorts include all stakeholders in the decision-making process moving forward. 

 

“We have a voice,” the petition says, “and we deserve to be heard.”

 

The gate has been closed since Feb. 2 after a skier and a snowboarder have died this winter in two separate avalanches in the backcountry accessed through the gate.

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