Snowboarder, snowmobile collide at The Canyons
January 13, 2009
A Park City snowboarder was in intensive care Tuesday after he was struck Friday by a snowmobile a resort employee was operating at The Canyons, an attorney for the victim said.
The accident, which occurred near the bottom of the Golden Eagle chairlift, critically injured Snyderville Basin resident John Everett.
"I don’t think anybody plans on being hit by a 500-pound snowmobile as they are snowboarding down a run during normal business hours, in fair weather," said John Flynn, a lawyer in Arizona who may help represent Everett in a lawsuit against The Canyons. "I don’t think a snowboarder has a chance against a snowmobile."
But the snowmobile was nearly stopped when Everett collided with the machine, said Mike Goar, managing director at The Canyons.
"It was in an approved location and being operated consistent with our standard practices," Goar said. "We certainly are going to be very sensitive about trying to lay blame out of sensitivity to the family."
Still, Flynn described the collision as "catastrophic" and "unbelievable."
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Everett, who was taken to the hospital in a medical helicopter, works at 350 Main and is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys rock climbing and mountain biking.
"John was catastrophically injured," Flynn said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
When asked if Everett might be paralyzed: "They’re very serious injuries," Flynn replied.
"Right now, obviously our focus is tending to John," the attorney said.
But lawyers in Utah will consider filing a lawsuit against The Canyons, Flynn said.
"I’m engaging local counsel," Flynn said.
"I’m putting together the necessary team to make sure [the family is] taken care of, and to protect their interests."
A spokesman for The Canyons claimed that guests sometimes collide with snowmobiles at ski resorts.
"This kind of thing has happened at other resorts," said Tim Vetter, a vice president at The Canyons, in a telephone interview.
But rules govern how resort employees must operate snowmobiles on the hill, he said.
"There are real specific guidelines," Vetter said, adding that he did not know who was operating the snowmobile at the time of the crash.
Everett would likely have a strong case against the resort, however, should he choose to sue, Flynn said.
Park City resident Jason Crobarger, who is close friends with Everett, said injuries the man suffered are severe.
"I just spent three days in the hospital with Johnny," Crobarger said Tuesday. "He got crushed."
Calls placed to Talisker Corp., the parent company to The Canyons, were not immediately returned.