It has become all too common on the slopes, the “near miss” where a skier or snow boarder out of control narrowly avoids a collision, either with fellow skiers, lift lines or trees. If there is no accident, how to control this reckless behavior to reduce the likelihood of the eventual catastrophe? Or if a collision occurs, what duty is there for the colliding skier to stay at the scene of the accident?
The Park City Council, in Park City, Utah, today will consider a law that will make it a class B misdemeanor if someone is caught skiing or snowboarding recklessly, the same severity of crime as drunken driving. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The City Councilors also are expected to make a law barring skiers and snowboarders from going into sections of mountain resorts that are closed. The City Councilors have invested time over several months in considering the new laws.
The law as written defines reckless skiing or snowboarding as endangering “the life, limb, or property of any person,” and it says people must not “display a wanton disregard for other persons or property.” The law provides that skiers and snowboarders have the “primary duty” to avoid collisions with people or objects downhill from them, much like the language in the Colorado Ski Safety Act.
The law also requires skiers or snowboarders involved in collisions to stop and help injured people, and it makes people give their name, address and phone number to a ski patroller or other resort worker before leaving the scene.
Summit County and Wasatch County also plan to consider reckless-skiing laws this week. The laws in the counties would probably be similar to the one in Park City.
The law would apply to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. The Canyons is not within the city limits, and Summit County laws would regulate the Snyderville Basin resort. Summit County also plans to tighten an existing rule regulating reckless skiing.