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PCMR patrol union to vote on new contract until 10pm Friday

 Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association patrollers hold signs and attract honks from drivers on Highway 224
Ben Lasseter
Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association members hold signs and attract honks from drivers on Highway 224.

The membership of the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association will be voting on a new contract with Vail Resorts throughout the day today.

After a Wednesday bargaining session that lasted until the wee hours of the next morning, Vail Resorts and the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association announced they had reached an agreement “in principle” for a new contract Thursday.

No details of the agreement were announced, and union leadership told KPCW they would not be discussing the contract until a vote by union members. Voting on the contract closes at 10pm Friday.

If approved by the union, the agreement would close over a year and a half of tense negotiations between Vail and the union for a new contract. The union had been holding out for a $17/hr base wage for first-year patrollers, with regular raises for each year of service. The union was also seeking to secure expanded access to sick pay and increased safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vail was holding steady at a $15/hr starting wage, which is equal to base pay for Vail employees in Utah, Colorado, California, and Washington.

Park City Mountain Resort’s first-year patrollers are currently paid at $13.25/hr, and union leadership has maintained that the $17/hr wage is competitive with patroller pay at other western resorts.

Many patrollers hold outdoor emergency medical certifications and are trained avalanche professionals – especially in the avalanche-prone west. Some patrollers can also hold higher medical certifications, like being an EMT.

In November 2020, the union agreed to an indefinite extension of its last contract with Vail, which was negotiated in 2018. The union chose to terminate that contract at the end of 2020, and the patrollers have been working without a contract, but still getting paid, for over a year.

Results of the union vote are expected to be announced Saturday morning. Union Business Manager Patrick Murphy will also be joining Leslie Thatcher on the Local News Hour Monday at 8:15 am.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.