In the past several years, case decisions in Colorado, Oregon, New York and California continued to develop the law under either the relevant ski statutes or the legal precedent. These cases provide some guidance in cases involving questions of duties of care of skiers, snowboarders, and ski area operators. The issues before courts now involve:

  • In-Area Avalanches - Duties of care in case of an in-area avalanche on open skiing terrain -The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that under Colorado’s Skier Safety Act, in-bounds avalanches are an inherent risk of skiing. Death of a thirteen-year-old at Vail Mountain resulted in claim of negligence against Vail, but the jury found that Vail was not liable. Legal precedent, not jury verdict, at heart of Conlin v. Vail;
  • Waivers and Releases - The extent to which blanket waivers in favor of ski area operators, particularly which appear in season passes or ski school enrollment forms, will provide blanket immunity from liability even from ski area duties set out in statutes;
  • State or Municipal Ski Areas - The liability of publicly owned ski areas;
  • Resort Employees Negligence - The liability of ski area operators for collisions caused by its own employees while they are skiing in the course and scope of their employment;
  • Resort Snowmobile Operators - The liability of ski area operators for injuries caused by its employees to ski area guests by the careless or reckless operation of ski area snow mobiles on open ski trails.

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