PICTURED: Utah ski resort worker, 29, killed after fallen tree smashed into ski lift

A Utah ski resort employee who died in a chairlift accident Monday was a 29-year-old ski patrolman from Millcreek, Utah.

Christian Helger died after being ejected from a chairlift shaken by a tree that fell onto a lift cable, Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez said Wednesday.

“Our prayers are with the Helger family as they mourn the loss of Christian,” Martinez said in a statement Wednesday.

Park City Mountain representatives and the Summit County Sheriff believe Helger fell at least 25 feet from the Short Cut chairlift into a deep ravine around 11:25 a.m.

It took members of the ski patrol at least 20 minutes to reach Helger and pull him out of what officers called “chest-deep snow” before attempting to treat him.

Christian Helger, 29, a Park City Mountain employee, died Monday morning in Utah after he was ejected from a chairlift that was rocked by a tree that fell onto a lift cable.

Christian Helger, 29, a Park City Mountain employee, died Monday morning in Utah after he was ejected from a chairlift that was rocked by a tree that fell onto a lift cable.

Park City Mountain representatives and the Summit County Sheriff believe Helger fell at least 25 feet from the Short Cut chairlift into a deep ravine around 11:25 a.m. Monday.

Park City Mountain representatives and the Summit County Sheriff believe Helger fell at least 25 feet from the Short Cut chairlift into a deep ravine around 11:25 a.m. Monday.

Park City Mountain representatives and the Summit County Sheriff believe Helger fell at least 25 feet from the Short Cut chairlift into a deep ravine around 11:25 a.m. Monday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R–Zi1cFCxM

Helger was returning to his station after a morning of avalanche mitigation work when the accident occurred. according to a statement released by the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association on Wednesday.

Investigators said they believe a pine tree fell onto the chairlift cable behind the chair he was riding, causing nearby chairs to jump with such force that he fell.

Summit County Sheriff’s Capt. Andrew Wright said KSL-TV Tuesday that Helger fell into difficult-to-reach terrain.

“This wasn’t for one run,” Wright said Tuesday. ‘There was a ravine where she had fallen. From what we’ve been told, it took at least 20 minutes for the ski patrol to get there, pull him out of the snow, and begin taking life-saving measures.

Ski patrolmen worked for hours to remove Helger’s body from what they called avalanche-prone terrain, according to the statement. Other troopers safely evacuated 10 passengers from the elevator and escorted them out of the challenging area.

The ski patrol union declined to comment on the condition of the lift cable and surrounding trees, according to KPCW. The union said in its statement that any loss is incredibly difficult for patrolmen, but responding to a fatal accident involving one of their own was “truly unfathomable.”

The Office of the Medical Examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

Helger was returning to his station after a morning of avalanche mitigation work when the accident occurred, according to the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association on Wednesday.

Helger was returning to his station after a morning of avalanche mitigation work when the accident occurred, according to the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association on Wednesday.

Helger was returning to his station after a morning of avalanche mitigation work when the accident occurred, according to the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association on Wednesday.

Helger is described by loved ones as an 'incredible climber and human'

Helger is described by loved ones as an 'incredible climber and human'

Helger is described by loved ones as an ‘incredible climber and human’

There have been a plethora of messages of love and heartfelt messages on Helger's social media accounts featuring a host of photos of the adventurous skier and climber.  His Instagram account bio reads: 'I live to work and play outside'

There have been a plethora of messages of love and heartfelt messages on Helger's social media accounts featuring a host of photos of the adventurous skier and climber.  His Instagram account bio reads: 'I live to work and play outside'

There have been a plethora of messages of love and heartfelt messages on Helger’s social media accounts featuring a host of photos of the adventurous skier and climber. His Instagram account bio reads: ‘I live to work and play outside’

Wright said the department’s investigation may consider variables such as snowfall, tree health and the proximity of the trees to the lift.

‘There are certainly a lot of questions that will come into play about 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 those kinds of things,” Wright said.

For now, Park City Mountain Resort is keeping the Short Cut chairlift closed and working with their employees to help them with anything they need.

“Especially those ski patrolmen, they’re very close,” Wright said.

The investigation may consider variables such as snowfall, tree health, and proximity to the lift.

The investigation may consider variables such as snowfall, tree health, and proximity to the lift.

The investigation may consider variables such as snowfall, tree health, and proximity to the lift.

For now, Park City Mountain Resort is keeping the Short Cut chairlift closed and working with its employees to help them with whatever they need.

For now, Park City Mountain Resort is keeping the Short Cut chairlift closed and working with its employees to help them with whatever they need.

For now, Park City Mountain Resort is keeping the Short Cut chairlift closed and working with its employees to help them with whatever they need.

There have been a plethora of messages of love and heartfelt messages on Helger’s social media accounts featuring a host of photos of the adventurous skier and climber. The bio on his Instagram account reads, “I live to work and play outside.”

“I lost my nephew Christian this week in a horrific and tragic accident,” a family member wrote. Words cannot express the sadness we all feel, our hearts are broken. We love you Christian and we will never forget your amazing smile!

Another loved one described Helger as an “incredible climber and human” and shared photos of the worker scaling the sides of cliffs.

As record snowfall continues in Utah, Park City has received 56 inches in the past week.

Elevator maintenance crews have been in a labor dispute with the resort for the past year, demanding higher wages, safer working conditions and more efforts to retain experienced mechanics.

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