skip navigation

Fatal Fall from Chair Lift


The Safety Site

Monica Palmer, Safety Administrator

Fatal Fall from a Chairlift


A 29-year-old ski patrol employee of Park City Mountain Resort fell at least 25 to 50 feet to his death on Monday, January 2.  He was killed after he was ejected from a chairlift into a ravine, police said.

Christian Helger, a ski patroller at Park City Mountain, was on duty when a pine tree fell onto the Short Cut chairlift cable just behind where he was seated, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office said.  The impact caused the chairs to “vertically move up and down significantly” enough to eject Helger into a “ravine of deep snow,” said police.

This was not over a run, Summit County Sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Wright said. Due to the difficulty of the terrain, as there was a ravine where he had fallen, it took at least 20 minutes for ski patrollers to get down there, dig him out of the snow, and start performing life-saving measures.  His own coworkers dug his unconscious body from the ravine’s “chest-deep snow” and worked to revive him, but to no avail, Wright said.

Courtesy of N Y and

I must admit that I am a skier who rarely puts the bar down while riding a chairlift, unless other riders want the bar down, or we are riding over a canyon. This story has made me realize that we never know what might go wrong at some point between the bottom and the top of the chairlift.