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You cannot assume the risk of a recreational activity if the defendant alters the activity and adds risk that he does not inform the guest about.

If you run PVC pipe across the slope that blends in with the slope, a skier coming down the hill does not assume the risk of hitting PVC pipe. PVC does not fall from the sky, is not  natural, and in 50 years of skiing it not something I’ve ever seen on a slope.

Zhou, et al., v. Tuxedo Ridge, LLC, et al., 54 Misc. 3d 1213(A); 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 350; 2017 NY Slip Op 50128(U)

State: New York

Plaintiff: Judy Zhou, et al

Defendant: Tuxedo Ridge, LLC, et al.

Plaintiff Claims: negligence

Defendant Defenses: assumption of the risk and the mother should have watched her daughter more closely

Holding: for the defendant

Year: 2017

Summary

There are two defenses in this case. The first is assumption of the risk. The standard defense used for injuries arising from activities in outdoor recreational activities. The second is not discussed by the court but one we have all wanted to argue at least once. 

The defendant makes several arguments in support of summary judgment, including that the mother of the plaintiff should have supervised her daughter more closely and assumption of risk.

The defendant is not at risk because the mother let the child do what the child wanted and did not supervise the child. Ski areas are not baby sitters. If you buy a minor a lift ticket, the ski area knows the lift ticket allows access by the minor to whatever lift the minor wanted to ride and to come down any hill the minor wants to ride.

However, if that child is injured, the ski area should not have allowed that child on the lift because it was too dangerous.

That argument is a landmine to make in court. Mothers of injured children are liked by juries because they feel for the pain the mother is suffering. And who in their right mind would say that a mother is doing a bad job of raising their kids.

The other defense assumption of the risk would have won the case if the defendant had not laid down PVC pipe on the slope in a way that no one could see the pipe. The pipe was there to create a coral to lead skiers back to the lift. However, when you can’t see it, don’t know it’s there, and hit it, it is hard to argue that PVC is a natural risk of skiing.

Facts 

The facts are quite simple. 

…the defendants cut a portion of the Bunny Hill slope by installing white PVC plumbing pipes to create a corral line leading to the  chairlift. The PVC pipes were as hard as metal plumbing pipes and, at the same time, blended into the slope’s white snow and were not clearly visible to a skier in motion, let alone a novice skier such as the plaintiff infant. These obstructions blocked a portion of the snowy slope and were in the path of a skier’s descent. Although the defendants maintained nylon netting at the site, it did not place a fence or netting on the slope above the area to prevent and catch children and novice skiers from coming into contact with the corral line’s PVC posts. 

Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts. 

The court started its analysis of the case with the famous Cardozo quote that created the defense of assumption of the risk.

The plaintiff was not seeking a retreat for meditation. Visitors were tumbling about the belt to the merriment of onlookers when he made his choice to join them. He took the chance of a like fate, with whatever damage to his body might ensue from such a fall. The timorous may stay at home.” Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 NY 479, 483, 166 N.E. 173 (1929)

However, the court quickly shifted its analysis to whether the injured minor plaintiff could have assumed the risk.

A seven-year-old skier could not assume the risk of a risk she was not properly educated about. Unless the risk is inherent, part of skiing, or known, understood and accepted by the plaintiff, or part of the risk of the sport, the plaintiff cannot assume the risk. 

So Now What? 

If the PVC pipe were visible; fenced, painted red, behind warning signs, this case would have gone the other direction. However, when you hide a risk not only do you lose the assumption of risk defense, but you might also set yourself up for a reckless or willful charge that could lead to greater damages. 

Seriously, don’t be stupid is the bigger thing to learn from this case. 

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Zhou, et al., v.Tuxedo Ridge, LLC, et al., 54 Misc. 3d 1213(A); 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 350; 2017 NY Slip Op 50128(U)

Zhou, et al., v.Tuxedo Ridge, LLC, et al., 54 Misc. 3d 1213(A); 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 350; 2017 NY Slip Op 50128(U)

[**1] Judy Zhou, et al., Plaintiff, against Tuxedo Ridge, LLC, et al., Defendants.

1229/2014

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, QUEENS COUNTY

54 Misc. 3d 1213(A); 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 350; 2017 NY Slip Op 50128(U)

February 3, 2017, Decided

NOTICE: THIS OPINION IS UNCORRECTED AND WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED IN THE PRINTED OFFICIAL REPORTS.

CORE TERMS: summary judgment, skier’s, chairlift, slope, daughter, novice, pipes, assumption of risk, belt, ski, plumbing, netting, corral

HEADNOTES

Negligence–Assumption of Risk.

JUDGES: [*1] Honorable Salvatore J. Modica, J.S.C.

OPINION BY: Salvatore J. Modica

OPINION

SALVATORE J. MODICA, J.:

The defendant moves for summary judgment in this case where the plaintiff, a nine-year-old child, making her maiden ski trip was injured.

The defendant makes several arguments in support of summary judgment including that the mother of the plaintiff should have supervised her daughter more closely and assumption of risk. Almost ninety years ago, Chief Judge Cardozo stated: “The plaintiff was not seeking a retreat for meditation. Visitors were tumbling about the belt to the merriment of onlookers when he made his choice to join them. He took the chance of a like fate, with whatever damage to his body might ensue from such a fall. The timorous may stay at home.” Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 NY 479, 483, 166 N.E. 173 (1929) (one stepping on moving belt of amusement device accepts obvious and necessary dangers).

The law has moved from assumption of risk to comparative negligence. As plaintiff’s counsel, Souren A. Israelyan, Esq., cogently and aptly states in his affirmation in opposition to the defense motion, the defendants cut a portion of the Bunny Hill slope by installing white PVC plumbing pipes to create a corral line leading to the chairlift. The PVC pipes were as [*2] hard as metal plumbing pipes and, at the same time, blended into the slope’s white snow and were not clearly visible to a skier in motion, let alone a novice skier such as the plaintiff infant. These obstructions blocked a portion of the snowy slope and were in the path of a skier’s descent. Although the defendants maintained nylon netting at the site, it did not place a fence or netting on the slope above the area to prevent and catch children and novice skiers from coming into contact with the corral line’s PVC posts.

Under the foregoing facts, the provident course is to deny the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. See, De Lacy v. Catamount Dev. Corp., 302 AD2d 735, 755 N.Y.S.2d 484 (3rd Dept. 2003) (genuine issue of material facts existed as to whether seven-year-old novice skier with limited skiing ability was properly instructed regarding use of chairlift, whether owner/operator of ski facility violated its own policies, and whether chairlift’s design was faulty, precluding summary judgment for owner/operator in negligence action brought by mother and her daughter, seeking to recover damages for injury daughter sustained when she fell from chairlift); accord, Finn v. Barbone, 83 AD3d 1365, 921 N.Y.S.2d 704 (3rd Dept. 2011) (fact issues precluded summary judgment on issue of skier’s assumption of the risk).

This Court, [*3] therefore, denies the motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

The parties are required to appear in the Trial Scheduling Part on February 15, 2017, for trial.

The foregoing constitutes the decision, order, and opinion of the Court.

Dated: Jamaica, New York

February 3, 2017

Honorable Salvatore J. Modica

J.S.C.


Ohio Skier Safety Act

Ohio Skier Safety Act

Page’s Ohio Revised Code Annotated:

TITLE 41.  LABOR AND INDUSTRY 

CHAPTER 4169.  SKI TRAMWAY BOARD

Go to the Ohio Code Archive Directory

ORC Ann. 4169.01  (2013)

§ 4169.01. Definitions

   As used in this chapter:

   (A) “Skier” means any person who is using the facilities of a ski area, including, but not limited to, the ski slopes and ski trails, for the purpose of skiing, which includes, without limitation, sliding or jumping on snow or ice on skis, a snowboard, sled, tube, snowbike, toboggan, or any other device.

   (B) “Passenger” means any person who is being transported or conveyed by a passenger tramway.

   (C) “Ski slopes” or “ski trails” means those sites that are reserved or maintained and are open for use, as designated by a ski area operator.

   (D) “Ski area” means all the ski slopes, ski trails, and passenger tramways that are administered or operated as a single enterprise within this state.

   (E) “Ski area operator” means a person or organization that is responsible for the operation of a ski area, including an agency of this state or of a political subdivision thereof.

   (F) “Passenger tramway” means a device used to transport passengers uphill, whether on skis or other devices or without skis or other devices, or in cars on tracks or suspended in the air, by the use of steel cables, chains, or belts or by ropes, and that is usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans. “Passenger tramway” includes all of the following:

      (1) Aerial passenger tramway, a device used to transport passengers in several open or enclosed cars attached to and suspended from a moving wire rope or attached to a moving wire rope and supported on a standing wire rope, or similar devices;

      (2) Skimobile, a device in which a passenger car running on steel or wooden tracks is attached to and pulled by a steel cable, or similar devices;

      (3) Chair lift, a device on which passengers are carried on chairs suspended in the air and attached to a moving cable, chain, or link belt supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans, or similar devices. Chair lifts need not include foot-rests or passenger restraint devices.

      (4) J bar, T bar, or platter pull, devices that pull skiers riding on skis or other devices by means of an attachment to a main overhead cable supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans, or similar devices;

      (5) Rope tow, a device with one span and no intermediate towers that pulls skiers riding on skis or other devices as they grasp a rope manually, or similar devices;

      (6) Wire rope tow, a device with one span and no intermediate towers by which skiers are pulled on skis or other devices while manually grasping a bar attached to a wire hauling cable.

      (7) Conveyor, a flexible moving element, including a belt, that transports passengers on one path and returns underneath the uphill portion.

      The operation of a passenger tramway shall not constitute the operation of a common carrier.

   (G) “Competitor” means a skier actually engaged in competition, a special event, or training or practicing for competition or a special event in any portion of the area made available by the ski area operator.

   (H) “Freestyler” means a skier utilizing freestyle terrain marked with signage approved by the national ski areas association.

   (I) “Freestyle terrain” means, but is not limited to, terrain parks and terrain park features, such as jumps, rails, fun boxes, other constructed or natural features, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, and freestyle-bump terrain.

   (J) “Tubing park” means a ski slope designated and maintained for the exclusive use of skiers utilizing tubes to slide to the bottom of the course and serviced by a dedicated passenger tramway.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96; 151 v S 61, § 1, eff. 9-26-05.

NOTES:

Section Notes

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

151 v S 61, effective September 26, 2005, rewrote (A); in the introductory language of (F), inserted “or without skis or other devices” and made related changes, and added “all of the following” to the end; and added the first paragraph of (F)(7) and (G) through (J).

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Standard renewal procedure defined, RC § 4745.01.

Tramway excepted from definition of amusement rides, RC § 1711.50.

OH Administrative Code

Department of commerce, ski tramway board —

Definitions in re new installations and modifications of existing passenger tramways. OAC 4101:14-1-03.

Case Notes

ANALYSIS Go to ReleaseRelease Go to SnowboarderSnowboarder

Return to Topic ListRELEASE.

The rental agreement and release of liability barred recovery for the ski lift injuries: Broome v. Ohio Ski Slopes, 108 Ohio App. 3d 86, 670 N.E.2d 262, 1995 Ohio App. LEXIS 5971 (1995).

Return to Topic ListSNOWBOARDER.

Trial court erred when it determined that, based on the language of the statute, R.C. 4169.08 was inapplicable to collisions between skiers because, by reading § 4169.08(C) in conjunction with R.C. 4169.09, it was evident that the legislature intended that skiers would be liable for injuries caused to others while skiing. Horvath v. Ish, 194 Ohio App. 3d 8, 954 N.E.2d 196, 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 1907, 2011 Ohio 2239, (2011), affirmed by, remanded by 2012 Ohio 5333, 2012 Ohio LEXIS 2872 (Ohio Nov. 20, 2012).

§ 4169.02. Ski tramway board established

   (A) For the purposes of regulating the construction, maintenance, mechanical operation, and inspection of passenger tramways that are associated with ski areas and of registering operators of passenger tramways in this state, there is hereby established in the division of industrial compliance in the department of commerce a ski tramway board to be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. The board shall consist of three members, one of whom shall be a public member who is an experienced skier and familiar with ski areas in this state, one of whom shall be a ski area operator actively engaged in the business of recreational skiing in this state, and one of whom shall be a professional engineer who is knowledgeable in the design or operation of passenger tramways.

Of the initial appointments, one member shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for a term of two years, and one for a term of three years. The member appointed to the term beginning on July 1, 1996, shall be appointed to a term ending on June 30, 1997; the member appointed to a term beginning on July 1, 1997, shall be appointed to a term ending on June 30, 1999; and the member appointed to a term beginning on July 1, 1998, shall be appointed to a term ending on June 30, 2001. Thereafter, each of the members shall be appointed for a term of six years. Each member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. In the event of a vacancy, the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint a successor who shall hold office for the remainder of the term for which the successor’s predecessor was appointed. A member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member’s term until the member’s successor takes office or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. The board shall elect a chairperson from its members.

The governor may remove any member of the board at any time for misfeasance, nonfeasance, or malfeasance in office after giving the member a copy of the charges against the member and an opportunity to be heard publicly in person or by counsel in the member’s defense. Any such act of removal by the governor is final. A statement of the findings of the governor, the reason for the governor’s action, and the answer, if any, of the member shall be filed by the governor with the secretary of state and shall be open to public inspection.

Members of the board shall be paid two hundred fifty dollars for each meeting that the member attends, except that no member shall be paid or receive more than seven hundred fifty dollars for attending meetings during any calendar year. Each member shall be reimbursed for the member’s actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official board duties. The chairperson shall be paid two hundred fifty dollars annually in addition to any compensation the chairperson receives under this division for attending meetings and any other compensation the chairperson receives for serving on the board.

The division shall provide the board with such offices and such clerical, professional, and other assistance as may be reasonably necessary for the board to carry on its work. The division shall maintain accurate copies of the board’s rules as promulgated in accordance with division (B) of this section and shall keep all of the board’s records, including business records, and inspection reports as well as its own records and reports. The cost of administering the board and conducting inspections shall be included in the budget of the division based on revenues generated by the registration fees established under section 4169.03 of the Revised Code.

(B) In accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, the board shall adopt and may amend or rescind rules relating to public safety in the construction, maintenance, mechanical operation, and inspection of passenger tramways. The rules shall be in accordance with established standards in the business of ski area operation, if any, and shall not discriminate in their application to ski area operators.

No person shall violate the rules of the board.

(C) The authority of the board shall not extend to any matter relative to the operation of a ski area other than the construction, maintenance, mechanical operation, and inspection of passenger tramways.

(D) A majority of the board constitutes a quorum and may perform and exercise all the duties and powers devolving upon the board.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v S 162 (Eff 10-29-95); 146 v S 293 (Eff 9-26-96); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96; 153 v H 1, § 101.01, eff. 10-16-09; 2012 HB 487, § 101.01, eff. Sept. 10, 2012.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by § 812.10 of 153 v H 1.

The provisions of 815.10 of 153 v H 1 read as follows:

SECTION 815.10. The General Assembly, applying the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that amendments are to be harmonized if reasonably capable of simultaneous operation, finds that the following sections, presented in this act as composites of the sections as amended by the acts indicated, are the resulting versions of the sections in effect prior to the effective date of the sections as presented in this act:

* * *

Section 4169.02 of the Revised Code as amended by both Am. Sub. S.B. 293 and Sub. H.B. 535 of the 121st General Assembly.

* * *

The provisions of § 3 of HB 535 (146 v –) read as follows:

SECTION 3. The Ski Tramway Board is the successor to and a continuation of the Safety in Skiing Board.

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

The 2012 amendment substituted “division of industrial compliance” for “division of labor” in the first sentence of the first paragraph of (A).

153 v H 1, effective October 16, 2009, substituted “labor” for “industrial compliance” in the first sentence of the first paragraph of (A).

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ohio Constitution

Appointments subject to advice and consent of Senate, Ohio Const. art III, § 21.

OH Administrative Code

Department of commerce, ski tramway board —

General provisions. OAC ch. 4101:14-1.

Introduction and scope of rules. OAC 4101:14-1-01 et seq.

Notice in the event of a serious accident. OAC 4101:14-1-09.

Notice of public hearings and public meetings. OAC 4101:14-1-08.

Comparative Legislation

SAFETY IN SKIING:

NY–NY CLS Labor § 865 et seq

§ 4169.03. Registration of passenger tramway operators

   (A) Before a passenger tramway operator may operate any passenger tramway in the state, the operator shall apply to the ski tramway board, on forms prepared by it, for registration by the board. The application shall contain an inventory of the passenger tramways that the applicant intends to operate and other information as the board may reasonably require and shall be accompanied by the following annual fees:

   (1) Each aerial passenger tramway, five hundred dollars;

   (2) Each skimobile, two hundred dollars;

   (3) Each chair lift, two hundred dollars;

   (4) Each J bar, T bar, or platter pull, one hundred dollars;

   (5) Each rope tow, fifty dollars;

   (6) Each wire rope tow, seventy-five dollars;

   (7) Each conveyor, one hundred dollars.

   When an operator operates an aerial passenger tramway, a skimobile, or a chair lift during both a winter and summer season, the annual fee shall be one and one-half the above amount for the respective passenger tramway.

(B) Upon payment of the appropriate annual fees in accordance with division (A) of this section, the board shall issue a registration certificate to the operator. Each certificate shall remain in force until the thirtieth day of September next ensuing. The board shall renew an operator’s certificate in accordance with the standard renewal procedure in Chapter 4745. of the Revised Code upon payment of the appropriate annual fees.

(C) Money received from the registration fees and from the fines collected pursuant to section 4169.99 of the Revised Code shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the industrial compliance operating fund created in section 121.084 of the Revised Code.

(D) No person shall operate a passenger tramway in this state unless the person has been registered by the board.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 139 v S 550 (Eff 11-26-82); 141 v H 201 (Eff 7-1-85); 146 v S 162 (Eff 10-29-95); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96; 151 v S 61, § 1, eff. 9-26-05; 153 v H 1, § 101.01, eff. 10-16-09; 2012 HB 487, § 101.01, eff. Sept. 10, 2012.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by § 812.10 of 153 v H 1.

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

The 2012 amendment substituted “industrial compliance” for “labor” in (C).

153 v H 1, effective October 16, 2009, substituted “labor” for “industrial compliance” in (C).

151 v S 61, effective September 26, 2005, in the introductory language of (A), deleted “such” preceding “other information”; and added (A)(7).

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Industrial compliance operating fund, RC § 121.084.

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ski tramway board established, RC § 4169.02.

Standard renewal procedure defined, RC § 4745.01.

OH Administrative Code

Fees; renewals. OAC 4101:14-1-06.

Registration and inspections. OAC 4101:14-1-05.

§ 4169.04. Inspections; report of violation

   (A) The division of industrial compliance in the department of commerce shall make such inspection of the construction, maintenance, and mechanical operation of passenger tramways as the ski tramway board may reasonably require. The division may contract with other qualified engineers to make such inspection or may accept the inspection report by any qualified inspector of an insurance company authorized to insure passenger tramways in this state.

(B) If, as the result of an inspection, an employee of the division or other agent with whom the division has contracted finds that a violation of the board’s rules exists or a condition in passenger tramway construction, maintenance, or mechanical operation exists that endangers public safety, the employee or agent shall make an immediate report to the board for appropriate investigation and order.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 145 v H 152 (Eff 7-1-93); 146 v S 162 (Eff 10-29-95); 146 v S 293 (Eff 9-26-96); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96; 153 v H 1, § 101.01, eff. 10-16-09; 2012 HB 487, § 101.01, eff. Sept. 10, 2012.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by § 812.10 of 153 v H 1.

The provisions of 815.10 of 153 v H 1 read as follows:

SECTION 815.10. The General Assembly, applying the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that amendments are to be harmonized if reasonably capable of simultaneous operation, finds that the following sections, presented in this act as composites of the sections as amended by the acts indicated, are the resulting versions of the sections in effect prior to the effective date of the sections as presented in this act:

* * *

Section 4169.04 of the Revised Code as amended by both Am. Sub. S.B. 293 and Sub. H.B. 535 of the 121st General Assembly.

* * *

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

The 2012 amendment substituted “The division of industrial compliance” for “The division of labor” in the first sentence of (A).

153 v H 1, effective October 16, 2009, substituted “labor” for “industrial compliance” in the first sentence of (A).

OH Administrative Code

Acceptance tests. OAC 4101:14-1-04.

Registration and inspections. OAC 4101:14-1-05.

§ 4169.05. Written complaint alleging violation

   Any person may make a written complaint to the ski tramway board setting forth an alleged violation of the board’s rules by a registered passenger tramway operator or a condition in passenger tramway construction, maintenance, or mechanical operation that allegedly endangers public safety. The board shall forward a copy of the complaint to the operator named in it and may accompany it with an order that requires the operator to answer the complaint in writing within a specified period of time. The board may investigate the complaint if it determines that there are reasonable grounds for such an investigation.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96.

§ 4169.06. Emergency order; investigation and order; suspension of certificate

   (A) When facts are presented to any member of the ski tramway board that indicate that immediate danger exists in the continued operation of a passenger tramway, any member of the board, after such verification of the facts as is practical under the circumstances and consistent with immediate public safety, may by an emergency written order require the operator of the tramway to cease using the tramway immediately for the transportation of passengers. Any person may serve notice on the operator or the operator’s agent who is in immediate control of the tramway by delivering a true and attested copy of the order, and the operator or the operator’s agent shall furnish proof of receipt of such notice by signing an affidavit on the back of the copy of the order. The emergency order shall be effective for a period not to exceed forty-eight hours from the time of notification.

(B) Immediately after the issuance of an emergency order pursuant to this section, the board shall investigate the facts of the case. If the board finds that a violation of any of its rules exists or that a condition in passenger tramway construction, maintenance, or mechanical operation exists that endangers public safety, it shall issue a written order setting forth its findings and the corrective action to be taken and fixing a reasonable time for compliance.

(C) After an investigation pursuant to division (B) of this section, if the board determines that danger to public safety exists in the continued operation of a passenger tramway, it shall so state in the order, describe in detail the basis for its findings, and in the order may require the operator not to operate the tramway until the operator has taken the corrective action ordered pursuant to this section. If the operator continues to use the tramway following receipt of such order, the board may request the court of common pleas having jurisdiction in the county where the tramway is located to issue an injunction forbidding operation of the tramway.

(D) An operator of a passenger tramway may request a hearing by the board on any order issued pursuant to this chapter and may appeal the results of such a hearing in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. An operator may appeal an order suspending the operation of the operator’s tramway without first requesting a hearing.

(E) If an operator fails to comply with an order of the board issued pursuant to this chapter within the specified time, the board may suspend the registration certificate of the operator for such time as it considers necessary to gain compliance with its order.

No operator shall operate a passenger tramway while the operator’s registration certificate is under suspension by the board.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96.

NOTES:

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ohio Rules

Injunctions, CivR 65.

OH Administrative Code

Registration and inspections; fine for violation. OAC 4101:14-1-05.

§ 4169.07. Responsibilities of ski area operator and tramway passengers

   (A) A ski area operator shall be responsible for any construction that the operator actually performs or has actually performed and for the maintenance and operation of any passenger tramway in the operator’s ski area.

(B) A passenger shall be responsible for: not embarking upon or disembarking from a passenger tramway except at an area that is designated for such purpose; not throwing or expelling any object from a passenger tramway; not performing any action that interferes with the running or operation of a passenger tramway; learning how to use a passenger tramway safely before the time that the passenger desires to embark upon it; not using such a tramway unless the passenger has the ability to use it safely without any on-the-spot instruction from the ski area operator; not engaging willfully or negligently in any type of conduct that contributes to or causes injury to another person; and not embarking upon a passenger tramway without the authority of the ski area operator.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by section 4 of HB 775.

OH Administrative Code

Mechanical operation and maintenance. OAC 4101:14-1-05.

Case Notes

LIABILITY.

Where there was no evidence to establish whether a ramp was man-made or a natural incline, there were disputed facts from which reasonable minds could conclude that an injury occurred on a ramp which was a part of the passenger tramway constructed for the transport of passengers, and thus, that the owner had violated its responsibility pursuant to R.C. 4169.07(A) to maintain the passenger tramway in its ski area: Graham v. Ohio Ski Slopes, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 1283 (1998).

§ 4169.08. Risks assumed by skier; responsibilities of operator and skier

   (A) (1) The general assembly recognizes that skiing as a recreational sport is hazardous to skiers regardless of all feasible safety measures that can be taken. It further recognizes that a skier expressly assumes the risk of and legal responsibility for injury, death, or loss to person or property that results from the inherent risks of skiing, which include, but are not limited to, injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by changing weather conditions; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up snow, and machine-made snow; bare spots, rocks, trees, stumps, and other forms of forest growth or debris; lift towers or other forms of towers and their components, either above or below the snow surface; variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or as the result of snowmaking, slope design, freestyle terrain, jumps, catwalks, or other terrain modifications; any other objects and structures, including, but not limited to, passenger tramways and related structures and equipment, competition equipment, utility poles, fences, posts, ski equipment, slalom poles, ropes, out-of-bounds barriers and their supports, signs, ski racks, walls, buildings, and sheds; and plainly marked or otherwise visible snowmaking and snow-grooming equipment, snowmobiles, snow cats, and over-snow vehicles.

   (2) Provided that the ski area operator complies with division (B)(4) of this section, no liability shall attach to a ski area operator for injury, death, or loss to person or property suffered by any competitor or freestyler using a freestyle terrain, which injury, death, or loss to person or property is caused by course, venue, or area conditions that visual inspection should have revealed or by collision with a spectator, competition official, ski area personnel, or another competitor or freestyler.

   (3) Provided the ski area operator complies with division (B)(5) of this section, no liability shall attach to a ski area operator for injury, death, or loss to person or property suffered by any skier using a tubing park, which injury, death, or loss to person or property is caused by course design or maintenance or conditions that visual inspection should have revealed or by collision with another skier.

(B) The legal responsibilities of a ski area operator to a skier with respect to any injury, death, or loss to person or property resulting in any way from an inherent risk of the sport shall not be those of the common law duty of premises owners to business invitees. A ski area operator shall have, however, the following responsibilities:

   (1) To mark all trail maintenance vehicles and to furnish such vehicles with flashing or rotating lights that shall be in operation whenever the vehicles are working or are moving in the ski area;

   (2) To mark with a visible sign or other warning implement the location of any hydrant or similar equipment that is used in snowmaking operations and located anywhere in the ski area;

   (3) To mark, at the base of a slope or hill where skiers embark on a passenger tramway serving the slope or hill or at the top of a trail or slope, such slopes, trails, and hills with signs indicating their relative degree of difficulty. The signs must be the type that have been approved by the national ski areas association and are in current use by the industry;

   (4) Prior to the use of any portion of a freestyle terrain area made available by the ski area operator, to allow each freestyler or competitor a reasonable opportunity to visually inspect the course, venue, or area of the freestyle terrain;

   (5) To allow skiers using a tubing park visible access to the course.

(C) A skier shall have the following responsibilities:

   (1) To know the range of the skier’s ability to negotiate any slope or trail or to use any passenger tramway that is associated with a slope or trail, to ski within the limits of the skier’s ability, to ski only on designated slopes and trails, to maintain control of speed and course at all times while skiing, to heed all posted warnings, and to not cross the track of a passenger tramway except at a designated area;

   (2) To refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute to the injury of another person, to refrain from causing collision with any person or object while skiing, and to not place any object in a ski area that may cause another skier or a passenger to fall;

   (3) When involved in a skiing accident in which another person is involved who needs medical or other assistance, to obtain assistance for the person, to notify the proper authorities, and to not depart from the scene of the accident without leaving personal identification;

   (4) If the skier is a competitor, freestyler, or user of freestyle terrain, to assume the risk of all course, venue, or area conditions, including, but not limited to, weather and snow conditions; obstacles; course or feature location, construction, or layout; freestyle terrain configuration and conditions; and other courses, layouts, or configurations of the area to be used;

   (5) If the skier is utilizing a tubing park, to assume the risk of collision with others on the course.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775 (Eff 7-1-81); 146 v H 535. Eff 11-20-96; 151 v S 61, § 1, eff. 9-26-05.

NOTES:

Section Notes

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

151 v S 61, effective September 26, 2005, rewrote (A); in the introductory language of (B), deleted “Therefore” from the beginning, and inserted “or loss to person or property” and made related changes; and added (B)(4) and (5) and (C)(4) and (5).

OH Administrative Code

Notice in the event of serious accident. OAC 4101:14-1-09.

Case Notes

ANALYSIS Go to Collisions between skiersCollisions between skiers Go to Common law dutiesCommon law duties Go to Maintenance of rampMaintenance of ramp Go to Renting defective equipmentRenting defective equipment

Return to Topic ListCOLLISIONS BETWEEN SKIERS.

Trial court erred when it determined that, based on the language of the statute, R.C. 4169.08 was inapplicable to collisions between skiers because, by reading § 4169.08(C) in conjunction with R.C. 4169.09, it was evident that the legislature intended that skiers would be liable for injuries caused to others while skiing. Horvath v. Ish, 194 Ohio App. 3d 8, 954 N.E.2d 196, 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 1907, 2011 Ohio 2239, (2011), affirmed by, remanded by 2012 Ohio 5333, 2012 Ohio LEXIS 2872 (Ohio Nov. 20, 2012).

Return to Topic ListCOMMON LAW DUTIES.

Former R.C. 4169.08 included fences and precluded claims based on common law principles of premises liability: Stone v. Alpine Valley Ski Area, 135 Ohio App. 3d 540, 734 N.E.2d 888, 1999 Ohio App. LEXIS 5926 (1999).

R.C. 4169.08 does not abrogate the common law duty of ski resort owners to their business invitees, skiers: Shaheen v. Boston Mills Ski Resort, 85 Ohio App. 3d 285, 619 N.E.2d 1037, 1992 Ohio App. LEXIS 6080 (1992).

Return to Topic ListMAINTENANCE OF RAMP.

Where a variation in terrain occurs on a ski ramp approximately two feet from the disembarkation point and the skier must encounter the trouble spot in order to successfully disembark, the maintenance of such ramp is part of the ski operator’s responsibility for the maintenance of his passenger tramway: Graham v. Ohio Ski Slopes, 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 1283 (1998).

Return to Topic ListRENTING DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT.

Renting defective equipment is not an inherent risk of skiing. Anticipatory release was valid to absolve defendant for negligence in renting ski equipment, but evidence was sufficient to support finding of willful and wanton misconduct: Otterbacher v. Brandywine Ski Center, Inc., 1990 Ohio App. LEXIS 4582 (9th Dist. 1990).

§ 4169.09. Liability of operator, tramway passenger, freestyler, competitor, or skier

   A ski area operator, a tramway passenger, freestyler, competitor, or skier is liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the operator’s, passenger’s, freestyler’s, competitor’s, or skier’s failure to fulfill any of the responsibilities required by this chapter. A ski area operator, a tramway passenger, freestyler, competitor, or skier is not liable for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by another’s failure to fulfill any of the responsibilities required of another by this chapter. A ski area operator, a tramway passenger, freestyler, competitor, or skier is not entitled to recover for injury, death, or loss to person or property caused by the operator’s, passenger’s, freestyler’s, competitor’s, or skier’s failure to fulfill any of the responsibilities required by this chapter.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775. Eff 7-1-81; 151 v S 61, § 1, eff. 9-26-05.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by section 4 of HB 775.

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

151 v S 61, effective September 26, 2005, rewrote the section.

Case Notes

ANALYSIS Go to Liability of skiersLiability of skiers Go to Release of liabilityRelease of liability

Return to Topic ListLIABILITY OF SKIERS.

Trial court erred when it determined that, based on the language of the statute, R.C. 4169.08 was inapplicable to collisions between skiers because, by reading § 4169.08(C) in conjunction with R.C. 4169.09, it was evident that the legislature intended that skiers would be liable for injuries caused to others while skiing. Horvath v. Ish, 194 Ohio App. 3d 8, 954 N.E.2d 196, 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 1907, 2011 Ohio 2239, (2011), affirmed by, remanded by 2012 Ohio 5333, 2012 Ohio LEXIS 2872 (Ohio Nov. 20, 2012).

Return to Topic ListRELEASE OF LIABILITY.

The rental agreement and release of liability barred recovery for the ski lift injuries: Broome v. Ohio Ski Slopes, 108 Ohio App. 3d 86, 670 N.E.2d 262, 1995 Ohio App. LEXIS 5971 (1995).

§ 4169.10. Operator’s liability to violators of theft statute

   A ski area operator is not liable for any losses or damages suffered by a person who was in violation of section 2913.02 of the Revised Code at the time that the losses or damages occurred.

HISTORY:

138 v H 775. Eff 7-1-81.

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

The effective date is set by section 4 of HB 775.

 


Tone v. Song Mountain Ski Center, et al., 37 Misc. 3d 1217A; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5136; 2012 NY Slip Op 52069U

Tone v. Song Mountain Ski Center, et al., 37 Misc. 3d 1217A; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5136; 2012 NY Slip Op 52069U

Christina J. Tone and Steven Tone, Plaintiffs, against Song Mountain Ski Center and South Slope Development Corp. and their Agents, Servants and Employees, and Peter Harris, Individually and d/b/a Song Mountain Ski Center, and Individually as a member, officer, shareholder and director of South Slope Development Corp. and Song Mountain Ski Center, Defendants.

2009-7913

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, ONONDAGA COUNTY

37 Misc. 3d 1217A; 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5136; 2012 NY Slip Op 52069U

November 2, 2012, Decided

NOTICE: THIS OPINION IS UNCORRECTED AND WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED IN THE PRINTED OFFICIAL REPORTS.

CORE TERMS: lift, chair lift, attendant, skis, skier, mountain, chairlift, skiing, triple, gate, inspection, ski lift, ski area, training, riding, slowed, feet, ramp, snow, speed, deposition testimony, issue of fact, deposition, ex-husband, passenger, downhill, tramway, sport, safe, top

HEADNOTES

[*1217A] Negligence–Assumption of Risk–Skier Injured on Chair Lift.

COUNSEL: [**1] For Plaintiffs: MICHELLE RUDDEROW, ESQ., OF WILLIAMS & RUDDEROW, PLLC.

For Defendants: MATTHEW J. KELLY, ESQ., OF ROEMER, WALLENS, GOLD & MINEAUX, LLP.

JUDGES: Donald A. Greenwood, Supreme Court Justice.

OPINION BY: Donald A. Greenwood

OPINION

The defendants have moved for summary judgment dismissal of the complaint against them, which alleges that the plaintiff suffered a fractured hip at Song Mountain on February 25, 2007 while attempting to exit a chair lift. The defendants move for dismissal on the grounds that all of the evidence shows that the ski lift was properly designed and operated and that the plaintiff assumed the risk of her injury.

As the proponent of the motion, the defendants are required to establish their entitlement to dismissal as a matter of law through the tender of admissible evidence. See, Hunt v. Kostarellis, 27 AD3d 1178, 810 N.Y.S.2d 765 (4th Dept. 2006). The defendants have done so here through their [***2] reliance, inter alia, on the plaintiff’s deposition testimony. The plaintiff testified that she was skiing with her nine year old son at the time and that she was an intermediate level skier with approximately fifteen years of experience. She owned her own skis and boots and had skied more than fifty times. [**2] On the date of the accident, she took two runs down the mountain and on both occasions rode the triple chair lift without incident. On her third occasion up the mountain she again rode the triple chair lift. Her son was with her, as was her ex-husband. Plaintiff testified that she sat on the right side of the chair, her son sat in the middle and the ex-husband sat on the left side. According to plaintiff, while riding up the chair lift she noticed that her skis were crossed with her son’s skis, so she let her son get off the chair lift first. Her ex-husband also got off the chair lift, but plaintiff waited. During her deposition, the plaintiff was shown the “Incident Report Form” completed at the time, which she signed. The form indicates that plaintiff said that she let her son get off first because their skis were crossed and that “I waited too late, and when I jumped approximately 6 feet, landed on my left hip.” When asked at her deposition what she did after her son got off, she responded that she did not remember, that she did not recall trying to get off, but that it happened so quickly that when the chairlift made its turn she “just flew off.”

The defendants also rely upon an [**3] inspection report completed by the Department of Labor on December 12, 2006, two months before the accident. An inspection of the chairlift was conducted by the Industry Inspection Bureau. Two violations unrelated to the design of the lift or exit ramp were found at that time and two unrelated violations were subsequently determined. Defendants note, however, that no deficiencies were found with respect to the design of the lift or exit ramp, the speed of the lift, or the location of the safety gate on the lift.

In addition, the defendants rely upon New York State regulations referenced in the Department of Labor inspections and standards promulgated by the American National Standards Institute which address industry wide safety standards for a variety of products and industries. Those regulations provide that the maximum relative carrier speed in feet per minute for chair lifts states that a triple chairlift carrying skiers may travel at a maximum speed of five hundred feet per minute. Defendants also provide an affidavit of Peter Harris, the President of South Slope Development Corporation, the operator of Song Mountain. Harris indicates that the chairlift traveled at a maximum speed [**4] of four hundred to five hundred feet per minute, which is equal to less than five miles per hour. He also claims that plaintiff failed to depart from the chairlift at the appropriate time, despite being warned by the unload signs. In addition, he indicates that the lift has certain safety mechanisms and if the plaintiff was to stay on the lift as it turned around the bull wheel heading downhill, her skis would hit the safety gate, which would stop the lift and allow for a safe evacuation of the lift. Plaintiff instead jumped from the lift before the safety gate, resulting in her being injured. He notes that the design of the lift specifically would have prevented the injury if she had remained on it, and the fact that the lift operated property is demonstrated by the fact that of the three people on the lift, two of them exited the lift in accordance with proper procedure and were not injured.

Defendants have also established in the first instance that any argument that the lift attendants were not properly trained is without merit, since Harris testified at his deposition that Song Mountain uses an industry standard lift operating training program designed by the National Ski Areas [**5] Association and that the program includes an in depth training DVD, training [***3] manuals and tests. The defendants also rely upon the deposition testimony of Carl Blaney, a long time attendant, who testified that the lift attendants took annual quizzes prior to the start of the season in order to demonstrate that they understood their duties in operating the lifts. It is also argued that plaintiff’s contention that the lift should have been slowed because plaintiff’s nine year old son was riding is incorrect. Blaney testified that the lift would not have been slowed for that reason, nor is there any evidence that simply because a child is riding the lift that it should be slowed. Defendants also point to the lift attendant’s daily log for the date of the accident, which demonstrates that the triple chair lift was fully checked on that date to ensure that all systems were working properly. The stops switches and safety gate were working, the ramps were snow covered and at a proper grade, the phones were working properly and the counter weight on the lift was clear and within normal limits. It is argued that since all of the evidence demonstrates that the lift was operating properly, the [**6] cause of the accident was solely plaintiff’s failure to disembark at the appropriate location, followed by her failure to remain seated once she missed the off load ramp. The defendants have met their burden in establishing that since there is no evidence that they improperly maintained the ski lift or that it was negligently designed, plaintiff cannot make a showing that the risks to her were increased or hidden. See, Sontag v. Holiday Valley, Inc., 38 AD3d 1350, 832 N.Y.S.2d 705 (4th Dept. 2007); see also, Painter v. Peek’n Peak Recreation, Inc., 2 AD3d 1289, 769 N.Y.S.2d 678 (4th Dept. 2003).

The defendants have also met their burden in the first instance of establishing that the plaintiff assumed the risk of her injury. Defendants point to the General Obligations Law, which addresses safety in skiing. The triple chair lift is identified as a “passenger tramway”, a mechanical device intended to transport skiers for the purpose of providing access to ski slopes and trails as defined by the Commissioner of Labor… See, GOL §18-102. Under “duties of passengers” the following are listed: to familiarize themselves with the safe use of any tramway prior to its use and…to board or disembark from passenger tramways only at [**7] points or areas designated by the ski area operator. See, GOL §18-104; see also, 12 NYCRR 54.4(a). A ski area operator is relieved from liability for risks inherent in the sport of downhill skiing, including the risks associated with the use of a chair lift when the participant is aware of, appreciates and voluntarily assumes the risk. See, DeLacy v. Catamount Development Corp., 302 AD2d 735, 755 N.Y.S.2d 484 (3rd Dept. 2003). In assessing whether one injured in the course of participating in a sporting or recreational event has assumed the risk posed by an assuredly dangerous condition, the critical inquiry is whether that condition is unique, constituting a hazard over and above the usual dangers that are inherent in the sport. See, Simoneau v. State of New York, 248 AD2d 865, 669 N.Y.S.2d 972 (3rd Dept. 1998), citing, Morgan v. State of New York, 90 NY2d 471, 685 N.E.2d 202, 662 N.Y.S.2d 421 (1997). Defendants have established that plaintiff was an experienced skier and had skied extensively at Song Mountain. It is further argued that the plaintiff assumed the risk of her injury by failing to comply with the requirements of the safety and skiing code by disembarking at the appropriate location. Plaintiff testified that she failed to get off the lift [**8] at the dismount area and had she stayed on she would have tripped the safety gate, which would have stopped the lift automatically. Inasmuch as the defendants have met their burden in the first instance, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to raise an [***4] issue of fact. See, Hunt, supra.

The plaintiff points to a recent Fourth Department case where the plaintiff skier was riding a chair lift with her son, a snow boarder. Plaintiff’s skis became entangled with the snow board and her son panicked and began yelling that he could not untangle the skis, despite frantic attempts. See, Miller v. Holiday Valley, Inc., 85 AD3d 1706, 925 N.Y.S.2d 785 (4th Dept. 2011). Plaintiff’s son exited the lift, but he pulled the plaintiff out of the lift chair in the process and she was injured. See, id. Plaintiff alleged that the top lift attendant should have slowed or stopped the lift because she and her son reached the unloading area. See, id. The court found that a question of fact existed as to whether the alleged failure to operate the ski lift in a safe manner was a proximate cause of the accident. See, id. In so finding, the court noted plaintiff’s deposition testimony that her son was yelling and making frantic attempts [**9] to untangle the skis and snow board and that plaintiff’s expert relied on that testimony in concluding that “the top lift attendant had sufficient time to observe plaintiff’s distress and to engage in what defendant’s night lift operation supervisor characterized as the exercise of judgment to slow or stop the lift.” Id. Defendants correctly argue that there is no evidence in the present case that plaintiff and her son caused any type of commotion prior to reaching the unloading area or tried to alert the attendant in any way for the top lift attendant to have noticed they were having any difficulty. The plaintiff has failed to come forward with proof in admissible form as in Miller, supra. that either the ski lift operator saw or should have seen that the plaintiff was in distress. Nor does plaintiff provide an expert opinion that based upon the facts here, the operator had time to take an action that would have prevented plaintiff’s fall. Plaintiff has likewise failed to raise an issue of fact as to whether she assumed the risk of her injury. Plaintiff does not dispute her experience as a skier or that she was familiar with the subject lift, as required by law. See, GOL §18-104; see [**10] also, 12 NYCRR §54.4. Nor has she submitted evidence to raise an issue of fact as to whether the defendants “created a dangerous condition over and above the usual dangers inherent in the sport of [downhill skiing]” Bennett v. Kissing Bridge Corporation, 17 AD3d 990, 794 N.Y.S.2d 538 (4th Dept. 2005), quoting, Owen v. RJS Safety Equip., 79 NY2d 967, 591 N.E.2d 1184, 582 N.Y.S.2d 998 (1992); see also, Miller, supra, quoting, Sontag, supra.

The plaintiff has also failed in her burden with respect to whether the lift attendants were properly trained, and in fact points to the National Ski Area’s Association Training completed by defendant’s employees. Nor has the plaintiff raised an issue as to whether the lift was properly operating on the day of the accident. Plaintiff has not disputed the inspection reports or the defendants’ compliance with the requisite regulations.

NOW, therefore, for the foregoing reasons, it is

ORDERED, that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment dismissal is granted.

ENTER

Dated: November 2, 2012

Syracuse, New York

DONALD A. GREENWOOD

Supreme Court Justice [***5]

WordPress Tags: Song,Mountain,Center,Misc,LEXIS,Slip,Christina,Steven,Plaintiffs,South,Slope,Development,Corp,Agents,Servants,Employees,Peter,Harris,member,officer,shareholder,director,Defendants,SUPREME,COURT,YORK,ONONDAGA,November,NOTICE,OPINION,OFFICIAL,REPORTS,TERMS,gate,inspection,area,feet,ramp,testimony,fact,husband,HEADNOTES,Negligence,Assumption,Risk,Skier,Chair,Lift,COUNSEL,MICHELLE,WILLIAMS,PLLC,MATTHEW,ROEMER,WALLENS,GOLD,MINEAUX,JUDGES,Donald,Greenwood,Justice,judgment,dismissal,complaint,plaintiff,February,injury,proponent,entitlement,Hunt,Kostarellis,Dept,reliance,accident,incident,Report,Form,Department,Labor,December,Industry,Bureau,violations,deficiencies,location,addition,State,inspections,American,National,Standards,Institute,products,industries,carrier,affidavit,President,Corporation,operator,hour,mechanisms,bull,evacuation,accordance,procedure,instance,argument,attendants,Areas,Association,depth,manuals,Carl,Blaney,duties,contention,systems,ramps,failure,Sontag,Valley,Painter,Peek,Peak,Recreation,General,Obligations,device,purpose,Commissioner,Under,passengers,NYCRR,participant,DeLacy,Catamount,event,dangers,Simoneau,Morgan,requirements,Fourth,boarder,Miller,manner,defendant,supervisor,commotion,action,Bennett,Bridge,Owen,Equip,compliance,ENTER,Syracuse,skis,chairlift,tramway,nine,upon,skiers,five,whether,supra


New Mexico Skier Safety Act

New Mexico Skier Safety Act

Chapter 24.  Health and Safety

Article 15.  Ski Safety

Go to the New Mexico Code Archive Directory

Contents

§ 24-15-1.  Short title. 1

§ 24-15-2.  Purpose of act1

§ 24-15-3.  Definitions. 2

§ 24-15-4.  Insurance. 2

§ 24-15-5.  Penalty. 3

§ 24-15-6.  Provisions in lieu of others. 4

§ 24-15-7.  Duties of ski area operators with respect to skiing areas. 4

§ 24-15-8.  Duties of ski area operators with respect to ski lifts. 5

§ 24-15-9.  Duties of passengers. 5

§ 24-15-10.  Duties of the skiers. 5

§ 24-15-11.  Liability of ski area operators. 7

§ 24-15-12.  Liability of passengers. 7

§ 24-15-13.  Liability of skiers. 7

§ 24-15-14.  Limitation of actions; notice of claim.. 7

§ 24-15-1.  Short title

Chapter 24, Article 15 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the “Ski Safety Act”.

§ 24-15-2.  Purpose of act

A. In order to safeguard life, health, property and the welfare of this state, it is the policy of New Mexico to protect its citizens and visitors from unnecessary hazards in the operation of ski lifts and passenger aerial tramways and to require liability insurance to be carried by operators of ski lifts and tramways. The primary responsibility for the safety of operation, maintenance, repair and inspection of ski lifts and tramways rests with the operators of such devices. The primary responsibility for the safety of the individual skier while engaging in the sport of skiing rests with the skier himself. The state, through the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978], recognizes these responsibilities and duties on the part of the ski area operator and the skier.

B. It is recognized that there are inherent risks in the sport of skiing, which should be understood by each skier and which are essentially impossible to eliminate by the ski area operator. It is the purpose of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978] to define those areas of responsibility and affirmative acts for which ski area operators shall be liable for loss, damage or injury and those risks which the skier or passenger expressly assumes and for which there can be no recovery.

§ 24-15-3.  Definitions

As used in the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978]:

A.  “ski lift” means any device operated by a ski area operator used to transport passengers by single or double reversible tramway, chair lift or gondola lift, T-bar lift, J-bar lift, platter lift or similar device or a fiber rope tow;

B.  “passenger” means any person, at any time in the year, who is lawfully using a ski lift or is waiting to embark or has recently disembarked from a ski lift and is in its immediate vicinity;

C.  “ski area” means the property owned, permitted, leased or under the control of the ski area operator and administered as a single enterprise within the state;

D.  “ski area operator” means any person, partnership, corporation or other commercial entity and its agents, officers, employees or representatives who has operational responsibility for any ski area or ski lift;

E.  “skiing” means participating in the sport in which a person slides on snow, ice or a combination of snow and ice while using skis;

F.   “skiing area” means all slopes, trails, terrain parks and competition areas, not including any ski lift;

G.  “skier” means any person, including a person enrolled in ski school or other class for instruction, who is on skis and present at a skiing area under the control of a ski area operator for the purpose of engaging in the sport of skiing by utilizing the ski slopes and trails and does not include a passenger;

H.  “ski slopes and trails” means those areas designated by the ski area operator to be used by skiers for the purpose of participating in the sport of skiing;

I.    “ski retention device” means a device designed to help prevent runaway skis; and

J.   “skis” means any device used for skiing, including alpine skis, telemark skis, cross-country skis, mono-skis, snowboards, bladerunners, adaptive devices used by disabled skiers, or tubes, sleds or any other device used to accomplish the same or a similar purpose to participate in the sport of skiing.

§ 24-15-4.  Insurance

A. Every operator shall file with the state corporation commission [public regulation commission] and keep on file therewith proof of financial responsibility in the form of a current insurance policy in a form approved by the commission, issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in the state, conditioned to pay, within the limits of liability herein prescribed, all final judgments for personal injury or property damage proximately caused or resulting from negligence of the operator covered thereby, as such negligence is defined and limited by the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978]. The minimum limits of liability insurance to be provided by operators shall be as follows:

SKI SAFETY ACT

Liability insurance

Limits of Liability

Required Minimum Coverage’s

For Injuries, Death or Damages

Kind and Number of Lifts Operated

Limits for Bodily Injury to or Death of Property One Person Damage

Limits for Bodily Injury to or Death of All Persons Injured or Killed in Any One Accident

Property Damage

Not more than three surface lifts

$ 100,000

$ 300,000

$ 5,000

Not more than three ski lifts, including one or more chair lifts

250,000

500,000

25,000

More than three ski lifts or one or more tramways

500,000

1,000,000

50,000.

B. No ski lift or tramway shall be operated in this state after the effective date of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978] unless a current insurance policy as required herein is in effect and properly filed with the state corporation commission [public regulation commission]. Each policy shall contain a provision that it cannot be canceled prior to its expiration date without thirty days’ written notice of intent to cancel served by registered mail on the insured and on the commission.

§ 24-15-5.  Penalty

Any operator convicted of operating a ski lift or aerial passenger tramway without having obtained and kept in force an insurance policy as required by the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978] is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($ 500) for each day of illegal operation. The attorney general or the district attorney of the county where the ski area is located has the power to bring proceedings in the district court of the county in which the ski area is located to enjoin the operation of any ski lift or tramway being operated without a current insurance policy, in the amounts prescribed herein, being obtained and kept in force and covering the operator concerned.

§ 24-15-6.  Provisions in lieu of others

Provisions of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978] are in lieu of all other regulations, registration or licensing requirements for ski areas, ski lifts and tramways. Ski lifts and tramways shall not be construed to be common carriers within the meaning of the laws of New Mexico.

§ 24-15-7.  Duties of ski area operators with respect to skiing areas

Every ski area operator shall have the following duties with respect to the operation of a skiing area:

A.  to mark all snow-maintenance vehicles and to furnish such vehicles with flashing or rotating lights, which shall be in operation whenever the vehicles are working or are in movement in the skiing area;

B.  to mark with a visible sign or other warning implement the location of any hydrant or similar equipment used in snow-making operations and located on ski slopes and trails;

C.  to mark in a plainly visible manner the top or entrance to each slope, trail or area with the appropriate symbol for its relative degree of difficulty, using the symbols established or approved by the national ski areas association; and those slopes, trails or areas which are closed, or portions of which present an unusual obstacle or hazard, shall be marked at the top or entrance or at the point of the obstacle or hazard with the appropriate symbols as are established or approved by the national ski areas association or by the New Mexico ski area operators association;

D.  to maintain one or more trail boards at prominent locations at each ski area displaying that area’s network of ski trails and slopes with each trail and slope rated in accordance with the symbols and containing a key to the symbols;

E.  to designate by trail board or otherwise at the top of or entrance to the subject trail or slope which trails or slopes are open or closed;

F.   to place or cause to be placed, whenever snow-maintenance vehicles or snow-making operations are being undertaken upon any trail or slope while such trail or slope is open to the public, a conspicuous notice to that effect at or near the top or entrance of such trail or slope;

G.  to provide ski patrol personnel trained in first aid, which training meets at least the requirements of the national ski patrol outdoor emergency care course, and also trained in winter rescue and toboggan handling to serve the anticipated number of injured skiers and to provide personnel trained for the evacuation of passengers from stalled aerial ski lifts. A first aid room or building shall be provided with adequate first aid supplies, and properly equipped rescue toboggans shall be made available at all reasonable times at the top of ski slopes and trails to transport injured skiers from the ski slopes and trails to the first aid room;

H.  to post notice of the requirements of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978] concerning the use of ski retention devices;

I.    to warn of or correct particular hazards or dangers known to the operator where feasible to do so; and

J.   to warn of snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) operated on the ski slopes or trails with at least one lighted headlamp, one lighted red tail lamp, a brake system and a fluorescent flag that is at least forty square inches and is mounted at least six feet above the bottom of the tracks or tires.

§ 24-15-8.  Duties of ski area operators with respect to ski lifts

Every ski area operator shall have the duty to operate, repair and maintain all ski lifts in safe condition. The ski area operator, prior to December 1 of each year, shall certify to the state corporation commission [public regulation commission] the policy number and name of the company providing liability insurance for the ski area and the date of the ski lift inspections and the name of the person making such inspections.

§ 24-15-9.  Duties of passengers

Every passenger shall have the duty to conduct himself carefully and not to:

A.  board or embark upon or disembark from a ski lift except at an area designated for such purpose;

B.  drop, throw or expel any object from a ski lift;

C.  do any act which shall interfere with the running or operation of a ski lift;

D.  use any ski lift unless the passenger has the ability to use it safely without any instruction on its use by the ski area operator or requests and receives instruction before boarding the ski lift;

E.  willfully or negligently engage in any type of conduct which contributes to or causes injury to any person;

F.   embark on a ski lift without the authority of the ski area operator;

G.  use any ski lift without engaging such safety or restraining devices as may be provided; or

H.  wear skis without properly securing ski retention devices; or

I.    use a ski lift while intoxicated or under the influence of any controlled substance.

§ 24-15-10.  Duties of the skiers

A. It is recognized that skiing as a recreational sport is inherently hazardous to skiers, and it is the duty of each skier to conduct himself carefully.

B.  A person who takes part in the sport of skiing accepts as a matter of law the dangers inherent in that sport insofar as they are obvious and necessary. Each skier expressly assumes the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury to person or property which results from participation in the sport of skiing, in the skiing area, including any injury caused by the following: variations in terrain; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; bare spots; rocks, trees or other forms of forest growth or debris; lift towers and components thereof, pole lines and snow-making equipment which are plainly visible or are plainly marked in accordance with the provisions of Section 24-15-7 NMSA 1978; except for any injuries to persons or property resulting from any breach of duty imposed upon ski area operators under the provisions of Sections 24-15-7 and 24-15-8 NMSA 1978. Therefore, each skier shall have the sole individual responsibility for knowing the range of his own ability to negotiate any slope or trail, and it shall be the duty of each skier to ski within the limits of the skier’s own ability, to maintain reasonable control of speed and course at all times while skiing, to heed all posted warnings, to ski only on a skiing area designated by the ski area operator and to refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to the injury of anyone.

C.  Responsibility for collisions by any skier while actually skiing, with any person or object, shall be solely that of each individual involved in the collision, except where an employee, agent or officer of the ski area operator is personally involved in a collision while in the course and scope of his employment or where a collision resulted from any breach of duty imposed upon a ski area operator under the provisions of Sections 24-15-7 or 24-15-8 NMSA 1978. Each skier has the duty to stay clear of and avoid collisions with snow-maintenance equipment, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles marked in compliance with the provisions of Subsections A and J of Section 24-15-7 NMSA 1978, all other vehicles, lift towers, signs and any other structures, amenities or equipment on the ski slopes and trails or in the skiing area.

D.  No person shall:

(1)place any object in the skiing area or on the uphill track of any ski lift which may cause a passenger or skier to fall;

(2)cross the track of any T-bar lift, J-bar lift, platter lift or similar device or a fiber rope tow, except at a designated location;

(3)when injured while skiing or using a ski lift or, while skiing, when involved in a collision with any skier or object in which an injury results, leave the ski area before giving his name and current address to the ski area operator, or representative or employee of the ski area operator, and the location where the injury or collision occurred and the circumstances thereof; provided, however, in the event a skier fails to give the notice required by this paragraph, a court, in determining whether or not such failure constitutes a violation of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978], may consider the reasonableness or feasibility of giving such notice; or

(4)use a ski lift, skiing area, slopes or trails while intoxicated or under the influence of any controlled substance.

E.  No skier shall fail to wear retention straps or other ski retention devices to help prevent runaway skis.

F.   Any skier upon being injured shall indicate, to the ski patrol personnel offering first aid treatment or emergency removal to a first aid room, his acceptance or rejection of such services as provided by the ski area operator. If such service is not refused or if the skier is unable to indicate his acceptance or rejection of such service, the acceptance of the service is presumed to have been accepted by the skier. Such acceptance shall not constitute a waiver of any action for negligent provision of the service by the ski patrol personnel.

§ 24-15-11.  Liability of ski area operators

Any ski area operator shall be liable for loss or damages caused by the failure to follow the duties set forth in Sections 24-15-7 and 24-15-8 NMSA 1978 where the violation of duty is causally related to the loss or damage suffered, and shall continue to be subject to liability in accordance with common-law principles of vicarious liability for the willful or negligent actions of its principals, agents or employees which cause injury to a passenger, skier or other person. The ski area operator shall not be liable to any passenger or skier acting in violation of his duties as set forth in Sections 24-15-9 and 24-15-10 NMSA 1978 where the violation of duty is causally related to the loss or damage suffered.

§ 24-15-12.  Liability of passengers

Any passenger shall be liable for loss or damages resulting from violations of the duties set forth in Section 24-15-9 NMSA 1978, and shall not be able to recover from the ski area operator for any losses or damages where the violation of duty is causally related to the loss or damage suffered.

§ 24-15-13.  Liability of skiers

Any skier shall be liable for loss or damages resulting from violations of the duties set forth in Section 24-15-10 NMSA 1978, and shall not be able to recover from the ski area operator for any losses or damages where the violation of duty is causally related to the loss or damage suffered.

§ 24-15-14.  Limitation of actions; notice of claim

A. Unless a ski area operator is in violation of the Ski Safety Act [24-15-1 NMSA 1978], with respect to the skiing area and ski lifts, and the violation is a proximate cause of the injury complained of, no action shall lie against such ski area operator by any skier or passenger or any representative of a skier or passenger. This prohibition shall not prevent the bringing of an action against a ski area operator for damages arising from injuries caused by negligent operation, maintenance or repair of the ski lift.

B. No suit or action shall be maintained against any ski area operator for injuries incurred as a result of the use of a ski lift or ski area unless the same is commenced within three years of the time of the occurrence of the injuries complained of.

Created January 9, 2012

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