Guest opinion: Ski patrollers deserve more than just our thanks |

Guest opinion: Ski patrollers deserve more than just our thanks

When I read the article on the Park City Mountain Resort ski patrol picketing, I could not believe that their starting salary was $13.50 an hour with an average salary of $15 and no sick benefits until they worked 1,500 hours!

They are trained in EMT procedures, handle explosives and make our mountain safe and yet get paid like a high school summer hire flipping burgers.

My family has lived in Park City for 29 years, and we are a skiing family. It is good to know that when we are on the mountain, whether skiing the groomers or up in the bowls (which have been made safe by patrol), if something happens, they are there to take care of us and get us safely off the mountain.

Here are my family’s experiences with the PCMR patrol. I would hope others write in to tell their stories.

• The first was my wife tearing her ACL in the upper portion of Ozone off Jupiter Peak. One member of our party skied to get patrol, which showed up quickly. This was before there was a McConkeys lift. You had to get there from the peak, or traverse around the backside of the peak. There was no easy way out. They carefully loaded her onto the toboggan and skillfully took her down the bowl and through the trees at the bottom. The joke was when my wife looked up at the young patroller while being loaded on the toboggan, she asked “How old are you?” She said he had no facial hair at all. That young patroller later that year won an award for saving the life of a man who was having a heart attack on the mountain.

• My getting a ride off the mountain on a snowmobile after folding my ankle learning to snowboard through a mogul field (which was really dumb).

• Patrol was there when my son had been knocked unconscious after taking a bad fall off a jump in the Three Kings Terrain park. They brought him to the clinic at the bottom of the resort.

• Patrol evacuating me from the Silverlode Express lift when the lift had a permanent failure one afternoon. Yes, patrol is trained and in charge of that also. I remember looking down at the patrolwoman with the rope in her hands, me with the harness under my arms, thinking “Yeah, she’s got this” as I slid off the chair, into the air below. I was amazed how quickly they cleared that lift of people. Think about that the next time you are suspended over Thaynes Canyon on the Quicksilver Gondola.

So how about it Vail Resorts? Can you step up and treat these professionals with the respect they deserve in their pay and benefits. If you need to raise the price of my pass, so be it — but let’s get this done.

Again, thank you PCMR ski patrol for being there when we need you and making our mountain safe.

To everyone who skis and rides PCMR , perhaps when you see a patroller on the mountain, give them a shout out of thanks for their service, they deserve it.

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