Sledders, on Deer Valley slopes the day after tubing tragedy, told to leave | ParkRecord.com

Sledders, on Deer Valley slopes the day after tubing tragedy, told to leave

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

A group of teenagers found with a sled at the bottom of a ski run at Deer Valley Resort last week were told they were not allowed to sled there, an episode that occurred the day after a girl suffered fatal injuries in a tubing accident in the same vicinity.

The Park City Police Department received a report at 8:36 p.m. on Dec. 20 from a Deer Valley security guard. Police logs indicated the security guard wanted assistance in removing the people from the resort property. They were on the lower section of the mountain, the police were told, and the security guard requested an officer respond.

Coleen Reardon, the marketing director at Deer Valley, said the security guard found the group at the bottom of the Success ski run, which is a beginner-rated run that is a popular route for skiers headed to Snow Park Lodge. The people with the sled were found well after the slopes closed for the day.

"The guests were awesome, totally understood," Reardon said, adding that the security guard explained to them the dangers of sledding on the slopes.

She was not sure whether the teenagers had already sledded or whether they were preparing for their first run. She said there were adults in a car waiting to pick up the teenagers at the bottom of the run.

Deer Valley prohibits people from being on the slopes after normal operating hours. People are also prohibited from using sleds or tubes at Deer Valley. Resort officials say it is dangerous for people to be on the slopes when it is dark and that ski runs are not designed for people using sleds or tubes.

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There are specially designed tubing hills at places like Gorgoza Park in the Snyderville Basin and Solider Hollow in Wasatch County. The tubing hills are not as steep as a ski run and there are not obstacles like trees. There are numerous places in the Park City area, meanwhile, that are used for sledding that are not nearly as steep as even a beginner-rated ski run.

The day before the teenagers were found at Deer Valley, a girl from Ohio was badly injured in a tubing accident at the resort. She died two days later at a Salt Lake City hospital. Jessica Frankel, who was 16 years old and visiting from the Cleveland area, was tubing on the Success run when the tube she was on went off the ski run and struck a tree.

Another girl on the tube at the time of the accident was taken to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Janet Oliva, who is 17 years old and also from the Cleveland area, was discharged from the hospital Tuesday morning, a hospital spokesperson said. Oliva originally had been taken from the accident scene in critical condition with undisclosed injuries.

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