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Summit County Sheriff identifies ski patroller killed in chairlift accident

Park City Mountain Resort chairlift
Danny Moloshok
Park City Mountain Resort chairlift.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office has identified the 29-year-old ski patroller who lost his life Monday as Christian Helger of Millcreek.

The Park City Mountain Alert Twitter account reported Tuesday that Ninety-nine 90 and Super Condor Express were closed all day. The alert said the resort would open as much of the mountain as it could safely while some patrollers took time to process Monday’s tragedy.

Helger fell to his death Monday morning while riding the Short Cut lift. Investigators said they believe a pine tree fell onto the chair lift cable behind the chair he was riding in, causing nearby chairs to jump so severely he fell out. Helger fell somewhere around 50 feet, according to emergency crews, into a ravine of deep snow.

Ski patrollers attempted to save their colleague but they were unsuccessful. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office was requested to provide helicopter services to retrieve him and attempted to do so but the bad weather prevented it.

A man who said he was on the Short Cut lift and saw the accident praised the patrollers’ efforts, which included dropping into the ravine and facing a possible avalanche.

The Utah Department of Transportation oversees chairlifts and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is likely to investigate the event.

Michelle, who joined KPCW in 2021, arrived in Utah in 2018 by way of Massachusetts, where the skiing was icy and the mosquitoes formidable. A former daily newspaper reporter and editor (at the Visalia Times-Delta in CA) and columnist (at The Cohasset Mariner in MA), Michelle has been a writer and editor for decades. She holds a journalism degree from CSU Fresno and has worked as a journalist, freelance writer and web content creator, reporting extensively on education and youth along with general assignment and breaking news.
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