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Skier assumes the risk on a run he had never skied before because his prior experience.

Assumption of the risk is a bar to claims of negligence in New York for injuries a skier receives at the ski area because of his experience as an expert skier.

Schorpp et al., Respondents, v Oak Mountain, LLC, et al., 143 A.D.3d 1136; 39 N.Y.S.3d 296; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6784; 2016 NY Slip Op 06932

State: New York, Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department

Plaintiff: Ron W. Schorpp and his wife

Defendant: Oak Mountain, LLC, et al.

Plaintiff Claims: Negligence

Defendant Defenses: Assumption of the Risk

Holding: For the Defendant ski area

Year: 2016

The plaintiff was a self-described expert skier who had been skiing at the defendant resort weekly and had been skiing for decades. This was the plaintiff’s first time on the particular black diamond run however. The ski run had been recommended to the plaintiff ha by an employee of the defendant.

While skiing the recommended run the plaintiff skied into a depression causing him to flip over and out of his skis suffering injury.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment based on assumption of the risk, which the trial court denied. The defendant appealed that ruling resulting in this decision.

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

The appellate court reviewed the definition of assumption of the risk under New York law.

Under the assumption of risk doctrine, a person who elects to engage in a sport or recreational activity “consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation

That assumption of the risk definition when applied to skiing had been defined by another court to include the risk “caused by ruts, bumps or variations in the conditions of the skiing terrain.” Further, assumption of risk is measured against the skill and experience of the particular plaintiff. In this case the plaintiff had decades of experience.

Although this was his first time on the particular black-diamond trail, Schorpp had “decades of skiing experience” and had skied at Oak Mountain on a weekly basis prior to his accident. Taking into account his experience and skill level, Schorpp was aware of the risk of injury that could be caused by the depression on the ski slope

As such the plaintiff assumed the risk of his injuries. The appellate court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on assumption of the risk.

So Now What?

Assumption of the risk is making a comeback. Once gone when it was merged into contributory negligence, courts are bringing it back to eliminate claims prior to trial. If you assume the risk of your injuries you should not have the opportunity to go to trial.

One argument that was not raised was negligent information or detrimental reliance on the statement or recommendation of the particular run by the ski area employee. The plaintiff did not argue he was injured because he followed the negligent advice of the employee of the defendant

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

Copyright 2017 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

Email: Rec-law@recreation-law.com

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By Recreation Law           Rec-law@recreation-law.com     James H. Moss

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Schorpp et al., Respondents, v Oak Mountain, LLC, et al., 143 A.D.3d 1136; 39 N.Y.S.3d 296; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6784; 2016 NY Slip Op 06932

Schorpp et al., Respondents, v Oak Mountain, LLC, et al., 143 A.D.3d 1136; 39 N.Y.S.3d 296; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6784; 2016 NY Slip Op 06932

Ron W. Schorpp et al., Respondents, v Oak Mountain, LLC, et al., Appellants.

522405

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, APPELLATE DIVISION, THIRD DEPARTMENT

143 A.D.3d 1136; 39 N.Y.S.3d 296; 2016 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6784; 2016 NY Slip Op 06932

October 20, 2016, Decided

October 20, 2016, Entered

COUNSEL:  [***1] Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux LLP, Albany (Matthew J. Kelly of counsel), for appellants.

Horigan, Horigan & Lombardo, PC, Amsterdam (Peter M. Califano of counsel), for respondents.

JUDGES: Before: Peters, P.J., McCarthy, Garry, Clark and Aarons, JJ. Peters, P.J., McCarthy, Garry and Clark, JJ., concur.

OPINION BY: Aarons

OPINION

[*1136]  [**296]   Aarons, J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Appeal from an order of the Supreme Court (Sise, J.), entered November 5, 2015 in Fulton County, which denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

Plaintiff Ron W. Schorpp, a self-described “expert skier,” was  [*1137]  injured while skiing down a trail at defendant Oak Mountain Ski Center (hereinafter Oak Mountain), which is operated by defendant Oak Mountain, LLC in the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County. Schorpp testified that an Oak Mountain employee recommended  [**297]  a black-diamond trail to him. Schorpp and his daughter planned to ski down this trail and meet his wife and other children at a subsequent juncture of trails. Approximately three quarters of the way down the trail, Schorpp skied into a “depression” that was filled with snow. The skis got caught in the depression causing Schorpp to flip over and fall out of his skis. Schorpp, and [***2]  his wife derivatively, subsequently commenced this negligence action against defendants. Following joinder of issue and discovery, defendants moved for summary judgment. Supreme Court denied the motion and defendants now appeal. We reverse.

Under the assumption of risk doctrine, a person who elects to engage in a sport or recreational activity “consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation” (Morgan v State of New York, 90 NY2d 471, 484, 685 N.E.2d 202, 662 N.Y.S.2d 421 [1997]; see Martin v State of New York, 64 AD3d 62, 63-64, 878 N.Y.S.2d 823 [2009], lv denied 13 NY3d 706, 915 N.E.2d 1181, 887 N.Y.S.2d 3 [2009]; Youmans v Maple Ski Ridge, Inc., 53 AD3d 957, 958, 862 N.Y.S.2d 626 [2008]). Regarding downhill skiing, an individual “assumes the inherent risk of personal injury  caused by ruts, bumps or variations in the conditions of the skiing terrain” (Ruepp v West Experience, 272 AD2d 673, 674, 706 N.Y.S.2d 787 [2000]; see General Obligations Law § 18-101; Hyland v State of New York, 300 AD2d 794, 794-795, 752 N.Y.S.2d 113 [2002], lv denied 100 NY2d 504, 793 N.E.2d 411, 762 N.Y.S.2d 874 [2003]; Dicruttalo v Blaise Enters., 211 AD2d 858, 859, 621 N.Y.S.2d 199 [1995]). The application of the assumption of risk doctrine must be measured “against the background of the skill and experience of the particular plaintiff” (Maddox v City of New York, 66 NY2d 270, 278, 487 N.E.2d 553, 496 N.Y.S.2d 726 [1985]; see Sharrow v New York State Olympic Regional Dev. Auth., 307 AD2d 605, 607, 762 N.Y.S.2d 703 [2003]).

We conclude that defendants satisfied their moving burden by demonstrating that Schorpp assumed the risk of injury associated with downhill skiing (see Jordan v Maple Ski Ridge, 229 AD2d 756, 757, 645 N.Y.S.2d 598 [1996]). Although this was his first time on the particular black-diamond trail, Schorpp had “decades of skiing experience” and had skied at Oak Mountain on a weekly basis prior to his accident. [***3]  Taking into account his experience and skill level, Schorpp was aware of the risk of injury that could be caused by the depression on the ski slope (see Painter v Peek’N Peak Recreation, 2 AD3d 1289, 1289-1290, 769 N.Y.S.2d 678 [2003]; Ruepp v West Experience, 272 AD2d at 674; Giordano v Shanty  [*1138]  Hollow Corp., 209 AD2d 760, 761, 617 N.Y.S.2d 984 [1994], lv denied 85 NY2d 802, 648 N.E.2d 792, 624 N.Y.S.2d 372 [1995]; Calabro v Plattekill Mt. Ski Ctr., 197 AD2d 558, 559, 602 N.Y.S.2d 655 [1993], lv denied 83 NY2d 754, 634 N.E.2d 979, 612 N.Y.S.2d 378 [1994]). In opposition, plaintiffs failed to raise an issue of fact as to whether defendants concealed or unreasonably increased the risks to which Schorpp was exposed (see Sontag v Holiday Val., Inc., 38 AD3d 1350, 1351, 832 N.Y.S.2d 705 [2007]; Ruepp v West Experience, 272 AD2d at 674). Accordingly, Supreme Court erred in denying defendants’ motion for summary judgment.

Peters, P.J., McCarthy, Garry and Clark, JJ., concur.

ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law, with costs, and motion granted.

 


FIS establishes new regulations for ski racing helmets. Standards filter down to other ski races and eventually maybe the public.

Basis of the new test for ski helmets is the helmet must survive a drop test that is approximately three feet higher and at a speed approximately three mph faster.

The FIS, (International Ski Federation) has established new regulations for helmets that will be worn in FIS competitions. Those are the world cup level ski races held around the world.

After FIS adopted these new standards, the USSA (US Ski Association) adopted the same standards for many of their races this year and more the following years.

I’m not going to try to interpret the regulations here you are better off trying to figure it out on your won. Seriously, the regulations are the most convoluted work I’ve read and were made to make it impossible to understand. On top of that they make it impossible to copy the information from their website, even off PDF’s. (Why don’t they want this information to be known?)

1)   To show the new helmets meet the new standards they are going to have the CE Mark and conform to one of the following regulations.

a)   DIN EN 1077

b)   ASTM F2040

c)   SNELL S98 or RS 98

2)   If the helmet is designed for GS (Giant Slalom), SG (Super G) or DH (Downhill) racing it must have a conformity label affixed in a non-removable way, at the back of the helmet, in a position not be covered by the goggle strap. The conformity label must contain the text “Racing helmet to conform to FIS specifications 2013.”

Why?

If you want a better ski helmet look for one that meets the new requirements. It can take a bigger impact.

It is going to be a simple helmet, hard ear covers, no spoilers, etc. These helmets are going to be pretty dull, little venting and nothing except the stickers you put on them. However, if you want to protect your head….

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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By Recreation Law    Rec-law@recreation-law.com         James H. Moss

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NSGA stats say skiing is flat, numbers are right, why?

National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) have numbers you can rely on.

NSGA numbers for Downhill (alpine) skiing participation show the following for the past 8 years.

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Total Skiers

7.4%

5.9%

6.4%

6.5%

7.4%

% of US Population

9.1%

10.0%

12.9%

6.7%

7.9%

Avg # of days

9.1%

10.0%

12.9%

6.7%

7.9%

Over the past ten years the number of people skiing has changed Zero Percent. The total fluctuation over ten years is 1.5%. Skiing is not growing, even though the US population is growing. As a percentage of population skiing has dropped 1.2% and fluctuated 2.1%.

clip_image002

Andrej Šporn at the 2010 Winter Olympic downhill.

Andrej Šporn at the 2010 Winter Olympic downhill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the population goes up, skiing is keeping up.

Even worse, the age group that the growth in in skiing should be coming from is dropping.

Here is a scary number

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Age 25 or Older

71.7%

60.6%

62.4%

53.2%

58.3%

clip_image004

72 percent of skiers used to be 25 or younger. Now that number is 13% and again, not in line with the current us population. Growth comes from the young, or at least growth that skiing needs and can count on for years to come.

Snowboarding is saving ski areas, but not by much.

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Snowboard Participation

5.9%

6.3%

5.2%

5.8%

6.1%

However that “growth” is only .2% over 10 years with a fluctuation of .4%. Smaller fluctuation occurs in snowboarding however there is some growth.

I’m speculating that snowboarders are not as finicky about snow conditions?

clip_image006

As you can see, over the past four years snowboarding is growing. Why?

Freestyle skiing jump

Freestyle skiing jump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Snowboarder participation growth is from those 24 and younger.

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Age 24 or Younger

56.2%

60.6%

49.4%

57.8%

68.3%

clip_image008

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

Skier Visits

54.4%

57.1%

55.1%

57.1%

60.5%

Boarder Visits

11.5%

10.5%

9.8%

20.0%

24.5%

clip_image010

So

Skiing is not a growing sport. Thirty years ago it was the glamor sport. Twenty years ago it was thing to do. What has changed?

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Copyright 2012 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

blog@rec-law.us

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