Telluride Ski Patrol Threatens to Strike if Contract Negotiations Not Finalized Before Season Starts

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Telluride Ski Patrol.
Telluride Ski Patrol will strike if a contract is not in place before the season begins.

Telluride ski patrol has threatened to strike if they don’t come to an agreement with the Telluride Ski Resort, CO, before the season starts.

In a recent radio interview, Graham Hoffman, a ski patroller and the president of the ski patrol union in Telluride, said, “we’re not going to be willing to work without a contract.”

Since unionizing in 2015, Telluride ski patrol has negotiated contracts a year in advance, so they’ve never gone into a season without an agreed contract. However, this year is different. In 2021 Telluride Ski Resort said it was unwilling to negotiate a new contract with an entire ski season to go. The union spent most of August negotiating but did not reach a finalized agreement before the contract ended on August 31st.

According to Hoffman, the majority of the contract is finished, with two outstanding issues: 

1: an “in the weeds ski patrol matter.”

2: money – without saying what salary they’re looking for, the union wants to keep pay in line with the rising cost of living.

“We’re just looking for an agreement that keeps our highly skilled and highly experienced patrol here and continues to attract patrollers from other mountains who want to live and work here.”

– Graham Hoffman

Telluride ski patrol has already lost two experienced patrollers for the upcoming season due to “housing and financial hardships,” and they’re trying to avoid these considerable losses to their skilled workforce.

The union is willing to continue negotiations daily to thrash out the contract, but if there isn’t one finalized before the start of the season, they won’t be working.

“We look forward to continuing our amicable and respectful relationship through a mutual acceptable agreement.”

– Telluride Ski Resort owner Chuck Horning

Park City Mountain Resort patrollers worked for two years without a contract while they negotiated with Vail Resorts and Hoffman said they’re not prepared to go down that route.

The two parties are due to meet again at the end of October. The patrollers are expected to return to work on and off the mountain in November, with the ski resort opening on November 24th.

Last week Vail Resorts and Telluride Ski & Golf jointly announced a multi-year extension of their partnership that began in 2018.

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Telluride Ski Resort trail map.

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