Canyons faces jury in wrongful death suit |

Canyons faces jury in wrongful death suit

Alan Maguire, The Park Record

On Dec. 23, 2007, Jesse Williams was killed by an in-bounds avalanche at The Canyons. Williams was 30 years old and visiting from Grand Junction, Colo.

Months later, Williams’ mother and wife, Kyle and Gina Williams, filed a wrongful death suit against a host of parties that has included Talisker, the American Skiing Company, Wolf Mountain Resorts and Canyons’ current general manager, Mike Goar.

Many of those parties have been dismissed along the way, and the lone remaining defendant is ASC Utah Inc., doing business as The Canyons.

That case is now being played out in an 8-day jury trial at the 3rd District Court in Silver Summit, over five years after the lawsuit was filed.

The incident took place near the Ninety-Nine 90 Express lift.

According to a Dec. 24, 2007, report in The Park Record, "the slide occurred at 11:17 a.m. south of the Square Top peak and was 175 feet wide and between three and five feet deep," according to a Utah Avalanche Center forecaster.

That report also indicated that Canyons ski patrol said at the time they detonated "around 170 pounds of explosives in the area" the day prior to the avalanche and that an 11-year-old boy was also buried in the avalanche for over a half hour before he was rescued.

Plaintiffs are represented by the Salt Lake City law firm Siegfried & Jensen while the defendants are represented by the Park City firm Strachan, Strachan & Simon.

Arguments are expected to conclude early next week, at which time the jury will retire to deliberate to decide the case.

Editor’s note: This story has been been amended to clarify that some of the parties originally named in the lawsuit were dismissed during the suit’s five-year-journey culminating in the present trial.

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