Fleury v. IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corporation — P.3d —- 2014 WL 554237 13CA0517 (Colo. App. February 13, 2014) cert. granted 2014 WL 6883934 (Colo., Dec. 08, 2014). The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Fleury noting that on cert., the issue would be:
Whether, for the purposes of the Ski Safety Act of 1979, codified at sections 33–44–101 to –114, C.R.S. (2014), the term inherent dangers and risks of skiing, as defined in section 33–44–103(3.5), C.R.S. (2014), encompasses avalanches that occur within the bounds of a ski resort, in areas open to skiers at the time in question.
The review by the Colorado Supreme Court will consider the Court of Appeals determination that under C.R.S. § 33–44–103(3.5) an in-bounds avalanche is within the statutory definition of inherent dangers and risks of skiing. Court of Appeals Judge Jones wrote a dissent to the majority opinion in the Court of Appeals. He wrote that:
[T]he grant of immunity in section 33–44–112, C.R.S.2013, for injuries resulting from the inherent dangers and risks of skiing does not apply to injuries resulting from [in-bounds avalanches on trails marked as open for skiing]. Because Mr. Norris was killed as a result of an avalanche on an open, designated trail within the ski area—an event for which IntraWest does not have immunity—I would reverse the district court’s judgment and allow his family members’ claims to proceed.
The Supreme Court will need to see if in-bounds avalanches, which are not expressly referred to within the otherwise broad definition of inherent dangers of skiing, are nonetheless within the statutory immunity of the ski area operator. Moreover, the case will allow the court to attempt to square the statutory immunity for this particular hazard can square with the legislative purpose of the statute to “establish reasonable safety standards” in skiing.