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Realtor injured on slopes

Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

A Park City realtor was badly injured when he struck a tree at Deer Valley Resort on Sunday but showed some progress on Monday, friends of the man said.

Paul Zgraggen was at the University of Utah Hospital on Monday and responding to verbal commands, according to Marc Coulam, another real-estate agent who was in contact with Zgraggen’s ex-wife. Sunday night, Zgraggen was not responsive, he said.

Coulam said Zgraggen, responding to people with him, squeezed their hands and moved his legs. The hospital on Tuesday morning listed Zgraggen in critical condition but did not provide details.

Restaurateur Adolph Imboden said Tuesday Zgraggen is "pretty much in a semi-coma" but that he improved since the accident.

"It’s more positive than negative," he said.

Coulam agreed that Zgraggen improved.

"They felt pretty good about that," Coulam said.

Imboden, who was skiing with Zgraggen on Sunday when the accident occurred, said a medical helicopter took Zgraggen to the hospital.

A Deer Valley spokeswoman said the ski accident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on the resort’s Birdseye run, which is rated intermediate.

Imboden said the skiers were on their final run of the ski season when the accident occurred, above Silver Lake Lodge. Deer Valley closed for the season on Sunday.

"It was one of those last famous runs you take," Imboden said.

He said Zgraggen is an excellent skier but the snow, softened by the warm temperatures, was "quite tricky."

"That time of day, the snow got a little soft," he said.

Imboden said Zgraggen’s skis became tangled, one of his skis released from the boot, rendering him unable to turn. He then hit the tree on the right side of his head, Imboden said.

Zgraggen was not wearing a helmet, he said.

Imboden said Zgraggen was "half conscious" and in shock afterward and was struggling not to be put on a ski patrol sled to be taken off the mountain. He repeatedly told the patrollers to let him stand up, Imboden said.

Zgraggen, who lives in Thaynes Canyon, is described as a person who enjoys Park City’s lifestyle. Coulam said he is a "big skier" and "skiing’s a big part of his life."

He often takes his real-estate clients on the slopes, Coulam said. He said Zgraggen generally sells real estate to people who are looking for vacation homes and are not from Utah.

Coulam said Zgraggen is Swiss and arrived in the U.S. about 20 years ago.

"All of us can benefit from this tragedy, how important it is to wear helmets," Coulam said.


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