Ski area employee suspected of damaging wall, then skiing drunk to work

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Jeffrey Short

— A Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. employee remained in jail Tuesday after he reportedly punched a hole in a wall and skied drunk to work on the mountain Sunday morning.

Jeffrey Short, 26, is due back in court Wednesday, and his bond has been set at $750. He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor criminal mischief and skiing under the influence, a petty offense.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office was contacted about 9 a.m. Sunday by Ski Corp. security, who had detained Short.

According to an affidavit filed in Routt County Court, the deputy learned Short punched a hole in the wall near the employee locker room. Short got upset because he forgot his ski pass and was not allowed to load the gondola to go to work.

Short eventually was able to board the gondola and ski to work at the Rendezvous lodge.

“Jeffrey stated he had extreme difficulty and, in fact, fell twice,” the affidavit states.

Short also was contacted by ski patrollers, who suspected Short was under the influence of alcohol.

“The ski patrol staff notified supervisors, however, (they) allowed Jeffrey to respond to his work location,” the affidavit states.

Supervisors told Short he needed to go to the security office, and he was escorted off the mountain by Steamboat Ski Patrol. Short rode the gondola down the mountain.

According to the affidavit, Short admitted to drinking until midnight the previous night, but he did not believe he was drunk in the morning. The affidavit stated a breath test performed by Ski Corp. security showed Short had a blood alcohol content of .206, more than two times the legal limit to drive. Ski Corp. security also had Short take a drug test, which showed a presumptive positive for THC, the affidavit states.

Ski Corp. spokesman Mike Lane wrote in an email Tuesday that Steamboat Ski Area does not comment on personnel matters, but he did issue a statement regarding skiing under the influence.

“The majority of our guests understand their responsibility of skiing and riding in a safe manner. Skiing or snowboarding while impaired by any substance is a violation of the Ski Safety Act, and the resort will deal with those incidents swiftly. We urge everyone to be SlopeWise, ski and ride safely and remember you are responsible for your actions.”

Skiing under the influence is a Class 2 petty offense punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000. Sheriff’s Office Lt. Doug Scherar said people suspected only of skiing under the influence are given a summons to appear in court.

Scherar said skiing under the influence summonses are not issued very often. The Sheriff’s Office occasionally gets called to investigate accidents or collisions when it is suspected someone was drinking.

Scherar said alcohol consumption typically only becomes an issue when someone cannot stand or function or when someone is a danger to other people.

“It’s not illegal to ski and have a few beers,” Scherar said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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