Positivity radiates from Julie Hygon, a homegrown skier, who’s worked at Deer Valley since the age of 19. The former freestyle mogul and half-pipe skier is now in her third season on ski patrol.
“She’s tiny, but she’s so tough,” says fellow patroller Sue Anderson. Not only does she perform her ski patrol duties with a smile, but she’ll likely jump in and help whatever department is in need—whether that means driving a snowcat or pulling snowmaking hoses.
Hygon initially entered the Deer Valley fold when she was hired to help with Freestyle World Cup setup. Since then, she’s been a ski instructor, a snowmaker, and a groomer. She popped over to Perisher Ski Resort in Australia for a few seasons, where she earned her nursing degree while teaching skiing. When she started her first nursing job in Bozeman, Montana, she took vacation time to return home to Park City and work with Deer Valley’s snowmaking crew. Now a Salt Lake City dweller, she relishes her ski patrol time, even starting with her carpool up the canyon with fellow patrollers and occasionally an avalanche dog. “That gets the stoke up,” she laughs.
As a full-time RN at the University of Utah’s Emergency Department and the medical ICU, Hygon sees her on-mountain gig as a good balance to her often intense nursing career.
“With Covid-19, there’s a lot of burnout in health care right now,” she says. “Ski patrol can have its stressful moments, but it’s a brief period.” She finds patient care in a recreational environment versus a hospital refreshing, but what she loves most about ski patrol is the teamwork. “The best part of it is enjoying the people around me,” she says.
Off the clock, Hygon loves to ride mountain bikes, go rafting, and spend time with her firefighter husband, Ryan—formerly a ski patrol colleague whom she met at Deer Valley—and her dog, Tuffy.