Investigation continues after Park City ski patrol employee falls to death off lift
Jan 3, 2023, 5:44 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 9:47 am
PARK CITY, Utah — The investigation into the death of a Park City Mountain Resort ski patrol worker continued Tuesday.
The 29-year-old man — identified Wednesday as Christian Helger of Millcreek, Utah — died Monday after he fell off a chair on the Short Cut chairlift.
“There was a very large pine tree that tipped over and hit the cable line,” said Capt. Andrew Wright with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.
Helger was sitting in a lift chair right in front of where that tree hit. The impact caused the chairs to move up and down, throwing him out of the chair.
Investigators say he fell 25-to-50-feet into terrain that was difficult to access.
“This wasn’t over a run,” Wright said. “There was a ravine where he had fallen. It took at least 20 minutes from what we’ve been told for ski patrol to get down there, dig him out of the snow, and start performing life-saving measures.”
The man who lost his life in the tragic ski chair lift accident @PCski has been identified as 29yo Millcreek resident Christian Helger. Our prayers are with the Helger family as they grieve the loss of Christian. Hug your loved ones often and tell them you love them.#summitcounty pic.twitter.com/teZrKshGzZ
— Sheriff Justin (@SummitCountySO) January 4, 2023
Ski patrol worked on Helger for nearly 40 minutes. Investigators and other emergency medical workers arrived soon after.
“One of our deputies, he described it as chest-deep snow to get down to this individual,” Wright said.
The sheriff’s office is looking into what caused the tree to fall.
“Certainly, there are a lot of questions that will come into play as to what caused that to happen. Yes, there was a lot of snow. There could be other factors — the health of the tree, the proximity of the tree, all of those types of things,” Wright said.
The Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the exact cause of death.
In the meantime, Park City Mountain Resort is keeping the Short Cut chairlift closed and working with its employees to help them with anything they need.
“Especially those ski patrollers, they are really tight knit,” Wright said.