Solitude ski patrol makes union vote official

Solitude Ski Patrollers Association becomes the first to organize at an Alterra Mountain Resorts-owned ski area.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Skiers at Solitude Mountain Resort on Jan. 7, 2024. On Sunday, Solitude ski patrollers voted to unionize.

Solitude Mountain Resort’s ski patrol officially voted to unionize Sunday.

The effort to become the second unionized ski patrol in Utah earned the approval of 70% of the patrol’s 37 members, according to an Instagram post on the Solitude Ski Patrollers Association account. They are also the first patrollers to organize at a ski area owned by Alterra Mountain Resorts.

Solitude’s patrollers submitted a petition for unionization to the National Labor Relations Board in February and asked the Big Cottonwood Canyon resort to voluntarily recognize it as a union. The resort refused to take that step, triggering a vote by the patrollers.

Both Solitude and the union have five days to file an objection before the vote is certified, Solitude patrol hill captain Robbie Kosinki told The Tribune in a text. Once certified, Kosinki said the union will begin working with Solitude on a contract.

“The Solitude Ski Patrollers Association is very proud of the strong support shown for unionizing in our vote,” Kosinki wrote. “We are excited to be able to work with our patrollers and Solitude management to build a contract that benefits patrol, Solitude, and our guests.”

Over the past two years, Solitude has offered ski patrollers a 42% increase in starting salary, an equipment stipend and transportation to and from the resort. The patrollers previously said they want a transparent salary structure, incentives for further training and education and health care benefits, as well as a voice in those decisions.

“We respect the decision made by Solitude Mountain Resort ski patrollers to have the Communication Workers of America (CWA)union represent them,” Solitude officials said in a statement to The Tribune. “Our focus remains on supporting all employees at Solitude, including our patrol team.”

The SSPA will become part of CWA Local 7781, also known as the United Professional Ski Patrols of America. That local also includes the patrol and the lift maintenance crew at Park City Mountain. The patrol there unionized nearly a decade ago.

The Solitude patrollers’ unionization is part of a growing number of ski workers organizing around the country. Patrollers at Colorado’s Eldora Mountain Ski Resort, which is owned by Utah-based POWDR, also voted to unionize over the weekend. That vote passed 29-3 on Saturday. Patrollers at Whitefish in Montana approved unionization in March. In addition, patrollers at both the Vail Resorts-owned Keystone in Colorado and the Alterra-owned Palisades in California sent union petitions to the NLRB earlier this year.