Skier collisions are not uncommon, but typically those involved can at least agree that a collision occurred. But a recent lawsuit illustrates how a single event can produce two completely different stories.
Thomas Waltner of Basalt is suing Chris Cote of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., for negligence and battery, alleging that he violated the Colorado Skier Safety Act by skiing out of control and colliding with Waltner on March 1. The lawsuit, filed in April, says Cote was skiing faster than Waltner and hit him from behind as Cote tried to pass. Waltner is seeking more than $100,000 for his damages.
But Cote, answering the lawsuit late last month, “adamantly denies skiing recklessly, carelessly or negligently …” Cote claims he wasn’t trying to overtake Waltner. And then there is the dispute over whether a collision, “violent or not,” took place. “Defendant does admit that contact occurred as plaintiff skied over the rear of [my] skis.”
Waltner claims that he broke his arm and suffered injuries to his face, leg, groin, pelvic, thoracic and other areas of his body. He was transported down the mountain via a ski patrol sled and hospitalized, according to the lawsuit.
Both sides agree that Cote stayed at the scene and spoke to Aspen Skiing Co. employees. But Cote neither admits nor denies the claim that he admitted he was at fault shortly after the accident.