PCMR ski patrol union ratifies deal with Vail Resorts, ending possibility of a strike

Park City Mountain Resort ski patrollers Brian Spieker, Alex Wilson and Alex Quintana demonstrate outside the resort in January of 2021.
Park Record file photo

The membership of the union that represents ski patrollers at Park City Mountain Resort ratified an agreement with PCMR owner Vail Resorts that averts the possibility of a strike during a core stretch of the winter.

The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association announced the ratification in an online posting on Saturday. The union did not post the results of the balloting but said the ongoing vote closed on Friday.

The posting said the union “secured wage incentives and tenure recognition that we strongly feel reflect the technical and hazardous nature of our job.”

According to the union, the negotiations resulted in an average hourly wage of $19. The dollar figure gives “us wage parity with Colorado resorts, meaning when the state raises minimum wages we will receive that wage bump.”

The wage was a key point in the negotiations. The union saw a starting wage of $15 an hour — the number included in an earlier Vail Resorts proposal rejected by the patrollers — as too low. The union argued patrollers are trained to perform specialized duties like lift evacuations, treating accident victims and avalanche control.

The minimum starting wage for ski patrollers and other specifics outlined in the deal were not immediately available.

The length of the contract is three years, according to a prepared statement provided to The Park Record by a PCMR spokesperson.

“A lot of time, energy and effort went into reaching this new agreement, which is very consistent with our compensation approach for patrol across all of our resorts, with specific skills-based opportunities that acknowledge the unique aspects of Park City Mountain,” the statement said. “We appreciate the engagement from the union’s bargaining team and want to reiterate our tremendous respect and admiration for our patrollers and all of our employees at Park City Mountain.”

A union representative declined further comment on Saturday afternoon.

The online posting, though, said, “while this may not be the resolution we envisioned originally, this is a huge step towards fair and livable wages.”

The association also said it is “now on the same contract timeline as other unionized Vail resorts, allowing us to bargain in tandem in the future.”

“This will strengthen our position as we all continue to push for better patrol and and ski industry wages nationwide. This contract is not the end of the fight, and we will move forward with resolute passion for workers’ rights,” the posting said.

The union and Vail Resorts during the workweek announced the sides reached an agreement in principle, just after the membership of the association overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike should the negotiations fail.

A strike in coming days or weeks could have proven crippling for PCMR with crowds expected to be heavy, especially in February.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a statement from PCMR.

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