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Park City

Vail confirms $21 an hour wage bump applies to Park City’s unionized ski patrol

Park City Ski Patrol
Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association
PCMR ski patrollers were negotiating for a new contract for over 18 months before reaching a deal in January.

Members of the Park City Mountain Resort ski patrol union will be included in a wage increase announced by Vail Resorts last week.

After over 18 months of negotiations between PCMR parent company Vail Resorts and the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association, the two sides struck a deal for a new employment contract in January.

When the agreement was reached, union representatives told KPCW that the new contract set an entry-level wage of $16 an hour after bonuses, and bumps average pay for all of PCMR’s ski patrollers up to $19 an hour. Before the contract, entry-level patrollers had only been making $13.25 an hour

Then on March 14th, Vail Resorts announced a company-wide raise to a minimum of $20 an hour for all resort employees, and $21 for ski patrollers. PCMR Communications Manager Emily McDonald confirmed to KPCW that the starting wage for all of the resort’s unionized entry-level patrollers will also be $21 an hour.

Union member Mike Reilly says patrollers are encouraged to see the company make such a large commitment to wages.

“I think raising these wages [are] going to help a lot with that short staff that we’ve seen this year itself," says Reilly. "I’m really excited for the future, next season, and everything like that to see how many folks are hopefully going to be working instead with those wages. I think we all deserve a livable wage and so that’s something I’m really excited to move forward with.”

Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said during last week’s quarterly earnings call that the wage bump is part of a $175 million investment in the company’s workforce.

“Talent is our most important asset and our strategic priority at all levels of the company and we expect these investments will be an important step to enhance the experience for our employees through increased hiring, retention, and talent development,” she said. 

Details of the January deal shared with KPCW say the patrol contract includes wage parity with Vail’s Colorado resorts, meaning if wages go up for patrollers there, so do wages in Park City.

Union Business Manager Patrick Murphy says that parity clause guarantees that the union gets this wage increase too, but some details on wages for more senior members of the patrol are still being worked out.

“We know our entry-level patrollers will now be making $21 an hour, but what that means for everyone above that, we’re waiting on," Murphy says. "We do know that the incentive package that we secured for this contract, that all works on top of the base wage, so this base wage goes up and we retain that incentive package. All of our patrollers will be comfortably above that line.” 

Murphy says those details won’t require additional negotiations, but the union will be working with Vail to amend the contract to reflect the new wage rate.

The ski patrol’s current contract runs through April 2024.