Friday, July 07, 2006
When you ski off a cliff, who do you sue?
photo from skigb.com
The AP reported today the case against Vail Resorts brought by a family of a man who died of head injuries while skiing at Breckenridge will go to the court of appeals.
(NO, that is not a photo of the incident; just a cool, obviously off-trail ski photo.)
At issue is whether the area where he was skiing was actually skiable, or whether his death was due to negligence in design and maintenance of its area, and of failing to mark a cliff.
Basically, the family is suing because the run was too hard.
Normally, as I understand it, the Colorado Skier Protection Act (created to protect ski areas, not skiers) absolves the resort from any liability for skier injury unless it was caused by a man-made object.
For example. If a ski patroller had parked a snow mobile in the middle of the slope, and a skier ran into it, the skier could probably recover damages. But if the skier hits a tree, he's out of luck.
In this case, the skier apparently was skiing off the trail when he hit something (sorry can't find info about exactly where he was) and the family's lawyer is arguing that since he was off the trail, the Colorado Skier Protection Act doesn't apply.
Should be interesting.
Let's hope this doesn't affect whether we're allowed to ski off-trail in the future. That's where the good snow is.
Posted by Dave Philipps at 7:30 AM