An interesting discussion of a recent decision by the Ontario Superior Court in Trimmeliti v. Blue Mountain Resorts Limited highlights a significant difference when skiing outside the U.S. See When Can a Ski Resort Be Liable for a Skier’s Injuries?
In this case, Mr. Trimmeliti suffered a fractured clavicle when night skiing with two other friends at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort near Collingwood, Ontario. He turned to enter a run that had been closed with a high-visibility orange rope across the entrance of the run. He was “clothes-lined” by the rope and suffered the fractured clavicle.
The court found that the rope was visible at a distance of 120 feet, a distance which should have been sufficient for Trimmeliti to see the rope and realize the run was closed. This outcome is not particularly significant, but the interesting note is the continued reasoning by the court.
The judge notes that when Trimmeliti purchased his season pass, that the pass included a release in favor of Blue Mountain. The release language included a title in capital letters in an enclosed box at the top of a page signed by the plaintiff when he obtained his pass, in large bold type and highlighted in yellow.
According to the judge, “it would have been impossible for any literate person to have signed this document – even if they did no more than scan the heading – and remain ignorant of its general purpose and intent.”
Purchase of a season pass often requires such a release. But the evidence in the case highlighted that in the past, the plaintiff had skied at the Canadian resort using a day pass. Each person purchasing a day pass in at least the previous five years had been given a lift ticket to attach to their jacket with similar language. Whether such a release would be enforced in Colorado is unknown, currently our ski resorts have only provided the statutory language on the day lift tickets.