Osguthorpe recovering after snowmobile accident at The Canyons
April 23, 2010
There were conflicting reports this week about what happened when a well-known rancher in the Snyderville Basin had his teeth and jaw injured by a cable while riding a snowmobile on land he owns at The Canyons.
Basin resident Stephen Osguthorpe, 61, claimed he did not see what knocked him off his snowmobile on April 15.
Osguthorpe was struck in the face by a cable connected to two snow cats on a ski run at The Canyons, said David Scofield, an attorney for Osguthorpe.
Scofield said he does not know exactly where on the mountain the accident occurred. The attorney compared the impact of the snowmobile crash to someone "taking a baseball bat and hitting you in the mouth."
"The first thing we are going to do is contact the Osguthorpes’ health insurer and advise that health insurance company that we view The Canyons as responsible for all of the medical expenses for the Osguthorpes," Scofield said.
Osguthorpe was traveling about 10 mph when he struck the cable, Scofield said.
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Osguthorpe’s injuries were not life threatening, a spokesman for the Park City Fire District said.
Osguthorpe was home from the hospital this week. He could not be reached on Friday.
Meanwhile, officials at The Canyon said they have completed their investigation into the incident.
"There were operators in both snow cats, who called ski patrol and encouraged Mr. Osguthorpe to stay at the scene. But Mr. Osguthorpe drove away on his snowmobile before they arrived," Libby Dowd, a spokeswoman for The Canyons, said in a statement e-mailed this week to The Park Record. "Ski patrol was on the scene within minutes, even though the resort was closed. We have completed a thorough investigation, and all resort protocols were being followed at the time of the incident."
According to Scofield, policies at The Canyons state that cables must be on the ground when there are no operators inside the snow cats. But the cable was in the air when it knocked Osguthorpe off his snow machine, Scofield claimed.
"There was a gathering of [Canyons] employees next to one of the snow cats," Scofield said in a telephone interview Friday. "They were all standing around outside one of the snow cats. I can understand why they maybe wouldn’t want to report to their superiors that they had violated the policy."
Osguthorpe owns property at The Canyons, which the resort leases as ski terrain. According to the lease, "during the spring months [The Canyons is] not supposed to be conducting any operations that would interfere with the Osguthorpes ranching on their own property," Scofield said.
The response to the accident from The Canyons this week is "par for the course," Scofield said.
"I’m not surprised," he said. "It’s like they just ignore whatever happens to the Osguthorpes. Whatever the Osguthorpes have to say, whatever the Osguthopes rights are, The Canyons just ignores them."
When he hit the cable, Osguthorpe was snowmobiling on his property at The Canyons with an appraiser. The appraiser was riding a separate snowmobile.
The response from the resort this week was "inconsistent with the statements of both [Osguthorpe] and the appraiser," Scofield said.