Disputed Facts Result in Settlement

A 2016 ski collision involving a Snowmass Village resident and a New Mexico man volunteering as a guide for disabled veterans resulted in a federal lawsuit. The case illustrates how complicated the dynamics of a ski collision can be. The controlling rule typically is that the uphill skier has the duty to avoid the downhill skier. But skiers also have a duty to not stop or position themselves in a blind spot. In the reported fact pattern, the downhill skier with the tethered disabled vet allegedly stopped below a ridge on the trail, not visible to uphill skiers. The uphill…

Continued Conglomeration of Major Ski Resorts

A joint 7/31/17 press release from KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Co. announced the completion of the acquisition of Intrawest Resorts Holdings and Mammoth Resorts. A new company has been formed, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, which now owns 12 mountain resorts: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain in California; Steamboat Ski & Resort and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Ontario; Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec; Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont; and Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. The Crown family also owns the Aspen…


Colorado Supreme Court Rules on In-Bounds Avalanche Risk

Today the Colorado Supreme Court issued the ruling in 2016 CO 41, 14SC224 - Fleury v. IntraWest, affirmed the decision of the lower courts and holding that in-bound avalanches are an inherent risk as defined by the Colorado Ski Safety Act. The headnote states: The Colorado Supreme Court holds that an avalanche that occurs within the bounds of a ski resort qualifies as an "inherent danger and risk of skiing" under the Ski Safety Act of 1979, §§ 33-44-101 to -114, C.R.S. (2015). The definition of “inherent dangers and risks of skiing” in section 33-44-103(3.5), C.R.S. (2015), specifically includes “snow…

Federal Appeal of Snowboard Ban

For more than 75 years, Alta Ski Area has promoted itself as a skier's paradise. Alta is also one of three resorts in the U.S. that does not allow snowboarding. But a group of snowboarders have taken their challenge to the skier-only policy to federal court. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court heard arguments in the challenge to Alta Ski Area's longstanding snowboarding ban and whether to revive a lawsuit over it. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard arguments in the case involving a group of snowboarders calling themselves "Wasatch Equality." The group has sued Alta…
Categories: Blog Posts, Ski Law News, Ski Safety News & Advice, Uncategorized
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Criminal Conviction for Lift Attendant

A 14-year-old Devon schoolboy, Kieran Brookes, died during a school trip to the Alps when the straps of his backpack became entangled in a mechanism of the ski lift in Chatel, on the French-Swiss border. Last Tuesday, the man who was supervising the ski lift at the time of the 2011 accident, 50-year-old Richard Cettour, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and handed a six month suspended jail term. But the company that operated the lift, SAEM Sports et Tourism a Chatel, was cleared of the same charge. Kieran’s parents, Cindy and Nick Brookes, of Bovey Tracey, Devon, said they…
Categories: Blog Posts, Ski Law News, Ski Safety News & Advice, Uncategorized
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Aspen Ski Instructor Sues Child Student

We regularly hear from hurt skiers who feel that their ski instructor caused or contributed to the accident which caused the injuries. But this is a first report of a ski instructor suing her own student. A former Aspen ski instructor has reached a settlement with the family of the boy she sued after the child, who was enrolled in her class, allegedly collided with her during a ski lesson in 2013. At the time, Kathryn Parkin was an employee of Aspen Ski Co. In March 2013, Parkin was on a ski hill with a class that included Michelle Menaker’s…
Categories: Blog Posts, Ski Law News, Ski Safety News & Advice, Uncategorized
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French Resort Faces Criminal Charges

The tragic death of a young skier at a French resort has led to a criminal trial for the resort owner, SAEM Sports and Tourism, and the lift operator. Kieran Brookes, 14, was strangled when the straps of his backpack became entangled as he tried to unload from a lift in the Alpine resort of Chatel in February 2011. Kieran, who went to Torquay Grammar School in England, was on a six-seat ski lift at Châtel when he tried to unload at the top of the slope. Kieran was suspended by his clothes for around four minutes before he was…

New York Venue Determined by Release

David Karlsberg was injured in 2011 while taking a beginner snowboarding lesson at Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl in Greene County, New York. Prior to the accident, Karlsberg signed a release stating that any disputes would be litigated exclusively in Greene County Supreme Court. But Karlsberg instead filed his suit, Karlsberg v. Hunter Mountain, 38816/11, in Suffolk County, where he resides, alleging that the resort had failed to provide him with proper ski instruction. In a 2014 order by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Joseph Pastoressa, the ski resort's request to switch the venue for the personal injury lawsuit from suburban…
Categories: Blog Posts, Ski Law News, Ski Safety News & Advice, Uncategorized
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Oregon Skier Wins Appeal

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last week that a Bend man who broke at least seven bones and punctured a lung while skiing at Mt. Bachelor can go forward with a lawsuit against the ski resort. Philip Emerson broke his femur, pelvis, clavicle, thumb and several ribs after crashing on a crafted terrain park feature called "the bomb drop." Emerson filed suit in April 2011 in Deschutes County Circuit Court. In January 2013, visiting Crook County Circuit Judge Gary Lee Williams ruled that a reasonable juror couldn't find that Mt. Bachelor "grossly negligent" for Emerson's injuries, and thus granted…
Categories: Blog Posts, Ski Law News, Ski Safety News & Advice, Uncategorized
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