Off-duty ski patrollers gathered outside Park City Mountain Resort on Sunday to demand higher wages amid the rising cost of living in Ski Town.
The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association represents nearly 200 of them and the mountain safety personnel who are employed by Vail Resorts. The PCPSPA said it has had 42 negotiation sessions with the company since August 2020, regarding the starting hourly wage for new patrollers.
This summer, the resorts of Vail and Deer Valley announced that they increase their starting salary for no-tip employees at $ 15 amid the labor shortages that are plaguing Utah.
Patrick Murphy, the association’s business manager and ski patroller at Park City Mountain Resort, said they have skills that make their pay rise worth it.
He said their job ranges from providing an advanced medical response on the mountain management of avalanche mitigation with explosives accident investigation and elevator evacuations.
“All of these different skills, it takes years of work to develop expertise in all of these facets,” Murphy said. “It’s not something where you can just hook someone up and make them become a mountain expert. “
He said ski patrollers are asking for higher wages because they are currently not “livable” and most employees cannot afford to live in cities because of housing prices. The Park Record reported that affordable housing for the workforce in ski towns like Park City is a critical issue that has only worsened over the years.
“We would all love to live in Park City, work in the city,” Murphy said, “but at the moment, as it is, we don’t make enough money to pay reasonable rent in this city. people to live elsewhere and [for] a lot of people, it forces them to find other job opportunities because they can be better paid.
In a statement sent to KUER, a representative from Park City Mountain Resort said they were continuing to negotiate with the union and felt they were getting closer to a deal.
“We have listened carefully and addressed the key points that our patrollers and the union have expressed over the past year, including salaries, job training opportunities, equipment reimbursements and sick leave,” said the Minister. complex.
Officials said they had “offered them a comprehensive, multi-year proposal that includes salary increases for all returning patrollers and increased salary caps to leave more room for our more experienced patrollers to earn merit increases. before reaching a salary cap “.
Resort officials said the deal also provides parity at their locations in Colorado – if patrol salaries increase there, they will automatically match those salaries in Utah without having to negotiate.
But nothing is finalized.
For now, returning trackers will continue to operate under the terms of their old contract until a new agreement is reached.