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Colorado Federal District Court judge references a ski area lift ticket in support of decision granting the ski area’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing the lawsuit.

The Federal District Court in this case used the language of the lift ticket to support the defendant ski area’s motion for summary judgment. The decision  also says the release is valid for lift accidents in Colorado closing one of the last gaps in suits against ski areas in Colorado.

Rumpf v. Sunlight, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107946

State: Colorado, United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Plaintiff: Sally Rumpf & Louis Rumpf

Defendant: Sunlight, Inc.

Plaintiff Claims: negligence, negligence per se, and loss of consortium

Defendant Defenses: (1) they are barred by the exculpatory language contained in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket; (2) they fail for a lack of expert testimony; and (3) that Sally Rumpf
was negligent per se under the Ski Safety Act. 

Holding: for the Defendant 

Year: 2016 

The plaintiff traveled to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to visit family and ski. She rented equipment from the
defendant ski area, Ski Sunlight and purchased a lift ticket. As required to rent the ski equipment, the plaintiff signed a release. 

While attempting to board a chair lift, the plaintiff injured her shoulder. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment which the court granted with this decision. 

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

In the statement of the facts, the court quoted from the language on the lift ticket.

Holder understands that he/she is responsible for using the ski area safely and for having the physical dexterity to safely load, ride and unload the lifts. Holder agrees to read and understand all signage and instructions and agrees to comply with them. Holder understands that he/she must control his/her speed and course at all times and maintain a proper lookout. Holder understands that snowmobiles, snowcats, and snowmaking may be encountered at any time. In consideration of using the premises, Holder agrees to ASSUME ALL RISKS associated with the activities and to HOLD HARMLESS the Ski Area and its representatives for all claims for injury to person or property. Holder agrees that any and all disputes between Holder and the Ski Area regarding an alleged incident shall be governed by COLORADO LAW  and EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION shall be in the State or Federal Courts of the State of Colorado.

What is interesting is the Colorado Skier Safety Act, C.R.S. §§ 33-44-107(8)(b) requires specific language to be on the lift ticket.

WARNING

Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including: Changing weather conditions; existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

It is unclear from the decision, and I do not have a copy of the Ski Sunlight lift ticket, to know if the required language is on the lift ticket. However, the language that was on the lift ticket was important and used by the court to make its decision.

The language required by the Colorado Skier Safety Act speaks to the risks assumed by a skier while skiing and does not speak to any risks of a chair lift. This creates an obvious conflict in the law for a ski area. Do you use the language required by the statute or use different language that a federal judge has said was  instructive in stopping the claims of a plaintiff. 

The court found the plaintiff had read and understood the release and knew she was bound by it. The plaintiff’s argument centered on the theory that the release did not cover lift accidents based on a prior case, Bayer v. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Inc., 960 P.2d 70 (1998). That case held that a ski area owes the highest degree of care to skiers on the lift. 

Plaintiffs further argue that the exculpatory language at issue is “only applicable to ski cases when the accident or injury occurs while the plaintiff is skiing or snowboarding on the slopes,” and not when loading the ski lift. 

The Bayer decision changed the liability issues for Colorado Ski Areas. It also created the only gap in  protection for Colorado Ski Areas between the Colorado Skier Safety Act and release law. However, this was significantly modified by Brigance v. Vail Summit Resorts, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31662, reviewed in Question answered; Colorado Premises Liability Act supersedes Colorado Ski Area Safety act. Standard of care owed skiers on chairlift’s reasonable man standard?

The court then reviewed the requirements under Colorado law for releases to be valid. 

Exculpatory agreements, which attempt to insulate a party from liability for its own negligence, are generally recognized under Colorado law, but are construed narrowly and “closely scrutinized” to ensure that the agreement was fairly entered into and that the intention of the parties is expressed in clear and unambiguous language. Additionally, the  terms of exculpatory agreements must be strictly construed against the drafter. 

The court reiterated several times that it was the intent of the parties within the language of the release that was the important aspect of the release, more than the specific language of the release. This intent was  supported by the language on the lift ticket. Colorado has a 4 factor test to determine the validity of a release. 

…in determining the validity of an exculpatory agreement, the Court must consider the following factors: (1) whether the service provided involves a duty to the public; (2) the nature of the service provided; (3) whether the agreement was fairly entered into; and (4) whether the intention of the parties is expressed in clear and unambiguous language. 

Skiing in Colorado is recreational and not a service, so there is no public duty that would void a release. Because it is a service, and the plaintiff is free to go ski else where there is no adhesion so the agreement was entered into by the parties fairly. 

Adhesion was defined by the court in Colorado as:

…Colorado defines an adhesion contract as “generally not bargained for, but imposed on the public for a necessary  service on a take it or leave it basis.” However, printed form contracts offered on a take it or leave it basis, alone, do not render the agreement an adhesion contract.

For the plaintiff to win her argument, the plaintiff must show “, “that the parties were greatly disparate in bargaining power, that there was no opportunity for negotiation, or that [the] services could not be obtained elsewhere.”

The court then applied contract law to determine if the agreement was ambiguous.

“Interpretation of a written contract and the determination of whether a provision in the contract is ambiguous are questions of law.” Under Colorado law, I must examine the actual language of the agreements for legal jargon, length and complication, and any likelihood of confusion or failure of a party to recognize the full extent of the release provisions.

The court in reviewing the release found the release to clearly and unambiguously set forth the party’s intent to release the ski area from liability.

The court again backed up its decision by referring to the language on the lift ticket. 

Furthermore, the ski lift ticket specifically references safely loading, riding and unloading Sunlight’s ski lifts and provides that the “Holder agrees to ASSUME ALL RISKS associated with the activities and to HOLD HARMLESS the Ski Area and its representatives for all claims for injury to person or property.” 

As such the release was valid and stopped the claims of the plaintiff and her spouse.

So Now What?

Although the basics of the decision are familiar under Colorado law, the court’s reference to the language on the lift ticket is a departure from Colorado law and the law of most other states. See Lift tickets are not contracts and rarely work as a release in most states

Whether or not a lift ticket standing by itself is enough to stop a claim is still in the air and probably will be. The language on this lift ticket may have been different than the language required by law, which basically states the skier assumes the risk of skiing. The required statutory language does not cover any issues with loading, unloading or riding chair lifts. 

This creates a major conflict for ski areas. What do you put on the lift ticket. The statute requires specific language; however, there are no penalties for failing to put the language on the lift ticket. However, it is negligence to violate any part of the statute, if that negligence caused an injury. 

C.R.S. §§ 33-44-104. Negligence – civil actions.

(1) A violation of any requirement of this article shall, to the extent such violation causes injury to any person or damage to property, constitute negligence on the part of the person violating such requirement.

(2) A violation by a ski area operator of any requirement of this article or any rule or regulation promulgated by the passenger tramway safety board pursuant to section 25-5-704 (1) (a), C.R.S., shall, to the extent such violation causes injury to any person or damage to property, constitute negligence on the part of such operator.

Failing to put the language on the lift ticket by itself could not cause an injury. The language required on the lift ticket is the same language required to be posted where ever lift tickets are sold and posted at the bottom of all base area lifts. Base area lifts are the lifts used to get up the mountain. Lifts that start further up the mountain, which require a lift right to reach don’t need the warning signs. 

My advice is to include the statutory language and much of the language of this decision on lift tickets. You just don’t want to walk into a courtroom and be accused of failing to follow the law. You might be right, but you will look bad and looking bad is the first step in writing a check. The biggest limitation is going to be the size of the lift ticket and print size.

This case, although decided before Question answered; Colorado Premises Liability Act supersedes Colorado Ski Area Safety act. Standard of care owed skiers on chairlift’s reasonable man standard? and was quoted in this decision, it adds another block into what is now an almost impregnable wall against claims from skiers in Colorado.

If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Rumpf v. Sunlight, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107946

Rumpf v. Sunlight, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107946

Sally Rumpf & Louis Rumpf, Plaintiffs, v. Sunlight, Inc., Defendant.

Civil Action No. 14-cv-03328-WYD-KLM

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO

August 3, 2016, Decided

August 3, 2016, Filed

CORE TERMS: exculpatory, ski lift, rental agreement, lift tickets, ski, summary judgment, sports, recreational, snow, service provided, ski area, loading, skiing, language contained, unambiguous language, adhesion contract, unambiguously, exculpation, bargaining, equipment rental, loss of consortium, negligence claims, collectively, safely, riding, Ski Safety Act, question of law, ski resort, standard of care, moving party

COUNSEL: [*1] For Sally Rumpf, Louis Rumpf, Plaintiffs: Michael Graves Brownlee, Brownlee & Associates, LLC, Denver, CO USA.

For Sunlight, Inc., Defendant: Jacqueline Ventre Roeder, Jordan Lee Lipp, Davis Graham & Stubbs, LLP-Denver, Denver, CO USA.

JUDGES: Wiley Y. Daniel, Senior United States District Judge.

OPINION BY: Wiley Y. Daniel

OPINION

ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION AND RELEVANT FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This matter is before the Court on the Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39) and the response and reply to the motion. For the reasons stated below, Defendant’s motion is granted.

I have reviewed the record and the parties’ respective submissions, and I find the following facts to be undisputed, or if disputed, I resolve them in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs.

On December 24, 2012, Plaintiffs Sally Rumpf and her husband Louis Rumpf traveled to Glenwood Springs, Colorado to visit family and go skiing. On December 27, 2012, Plaintiffs went to Sunlight, a ski resort near Glenwood Springs. Prior to skiing, Plaintiffs rented ski equipment from Sunlight. As part of the ski rental, the Plaintiffs each executed a release, which provides in pertinent part:

I understand that the sports of skiing, snowboarding, skiboarding, [*2] snowshoeing and other sports (collectively “RECREATIONAL SNOW SPORTS”) involve inherent and other risks of INJURY and DEATH. I voluntarily agree to expressly assume all risks of injury or death that may result from these RECREATIONAL SNOW SPORTS, or which relate in any way to the use of this equipment.

* * *

I AGREE TO RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS the equipment rental facility, its employees, owners, affiliates, agents, officers, directors, and the equipment manufacturers and distributors and their successors in interest (collectively “PROVIDERS”), from all liability for injury, death, property loss and damage which results from the equipment user’s participation in the RECREATIONAL SNOW SPORTS for which the equipment is provided, or which is related in any way to the use of this equipment, including all liability which results from the NEGLIGENCE of PROVIDERS, or any other person or cause.

I further agree to defend and indemnify PROVIDERS for any loss or damage, including any that results from claims or lawsuits for personal injury, death, and property loss and damage related in any way to the use of this equipment.

This agreement is governed by the applicable law of this state or province. [*3] If any provision of this agreement is determined to be unenforceable, all other provisions shall be given full force and effect.

I THE UNDERSIGNED, HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS EQUIPMENT RENTAL & LIABILITY RELEASE AGREEMENT.

(ECF No. 39, Ex. 2) (emphasis in original).

The Plaintiffs also purchased lift tickets from Sunlight, which included the following release language:

Holder understands that he/she is responsible for using the ski area safely and for having the physical dexterity to safely load, ride and unload the lifts. Holder agrees to read and understand all signage and instructions and agrees to comply with them. Holder understands that he/she must control his/her speed and course at all times and maintain a proper lookout. Holder understands that snowmobiles, snowcats, and snowmaking may be encountered at any time. In consideration of using the premises, Holder agrees to ASSUME ALL RISKS associated with the activities and to HOLD HARMLESS the Ski Area and its representatives for all claims for injury to person or property. Holder agrees that any and all disputes between Holder and the Ski Area regarding an alleged incident shall be governed by COLORADO LAW and EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION [*4] shall be in the State or Federal Courts of the State of Colorado. …

(ECF No. 39, Ex. 4) (emphasis in original).

Plaintiff Sally Rumpf injured her shoulder when she attempted to board the Segundo chairlift at Sunlight. Plaintiffs Sally and Louis Rumpf bring this action against Defendant Sunlight alleging claims of negligence, negligence per se, and loss of consortium. (Compl. ¶¶ 21-35).1

1 Plaintiff Sally Rumpf asserts the two negligence claims while Plaintiff Louis Rumpf asserts the loss of consortium claim.

The Defendant moves for summary judgment on all three claims, arguing that (1) they are barred by the exculpatory language contained in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket; (2) they fail for a lack of expert testimony; and (3) that Sally Rumpf was negligent per se under the Ski Safety Act.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may grant summary judgment where “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the … moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986); Equal Employment Opportunity Comm. v. Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp., 220 F.3d 1184, 1190 (10th Cir. 2000). “When applying this standard, the court must ‘view [*5] the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.'” Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Farm Credit Bank of Wichita, 226 F.3d 1138, 1148 (10th Cir. 2000) (quotation omitted). “‘Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.'” Id. (quotation omitted). Summary judgment may be granted only where there is no doubt from the evidence, with all inferences drawn in favor of the nonmoving party, that no genuine issue of material fact remains for trial and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Bee v. Greaves, 744 F.2d 1387 (10th Cir. 1984).

III. ANALYSIS

I first address Defendant’s argument that it is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ three claims for relief based on the exculpatory agreements contained in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket. It is undisputed that Plaintiff Sally Rumpf read and understood that she was bound by the release language on both the rental agreement and the lift ticket. (Sally Rumpf Dep. at 72:17-23, 97-8-17, 99:2-25, 101:11-25, 102:1-21, 106:6-25, 107:1-25, 108:1-25, and 109:1-7).2

2 The evidence reveals that Plaintiff Louis Rumpf also understood and agreed to the release language on both the [*6] rental agreement and the lift ticket.

Defendant argues that the exculpatory language is valid and enforceable under the four-factor test set forth in Jones v. Dressel, 623 P.2d 370, 376 (Colo. 1981). The determination of the sufficiency and validity of an exculpatory agreement is a question of law for the Court. Jones, 623 P.2d at 376. Exculpatory agreements, which attempt to insulate a party from liability for its own negligence, are generally recognized under Colorado law, but are construed narrowly and “closely scrutinized” to ensure that the agreement was fairly entered into and that the intention of the parties is expressed in clear and unambiguous language. Id. Additionally, the terms of exculpatory agreements must be strictly construed against the drafter. Heil Valley Ranch, Inc. v. Simkin, 784 P.2d 781, 784 (Colo. 1990). Pursuant to Jones, in determining the validity of an exculpatory agreement, the Court must consider the following factors: (1) whether the service provided involves a duty to the public; (2) the nature of the service provided; (3) whether the agreement was fairly entered into; and (4) whether the intention of the parties is expressed in clear and unambiguous language. Jones, 623 P.2d at 376; Heil Valley Ranch, 784 P.2d at 784, see Robinette v. Aspen Skiing Co., L.L.C., No. 08-cv-00052-MSK-MJW, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34873, 2009 WL 1108093 at *2 (D. Colo. April 23, 2009).

Based on the Plaintiffs’ response, it does not appear that they [*7] are contesting that the exculpatory language contained in the rental agreement or the lift ticket satisfies the above-mentioned Jones criteria, arguing instead that because “this case arises from a ski lift attendant’s negligence, the exculpatory release language is inapplicable and irrelevant.” (Resp. at 1). Citing Bayer v. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Inc., 960 P.2d 70 (1998), Plaintiffs claim that Colorado law “specifically provides negligence causes of action for skiers injured getting on and getting off ski lifts.” (Resp. at 10).

In Bayer, the plaintiff was injured when he attempted to board a ski lift at Crested Butte ski resort. After the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals certified various questions to the Colorado Supreme Court, the Colorado Supreme Court held that “the standard of care applicable to ski lift operators in Colorado for the design, construction, maintenance, operation, and inspection of a ski lift, is the highest degree of care commensurate with the practical operation of the lift. Neither the Tramway Act nor the Ski Safety Act preempt or otherwise supersede this standard of care, whatever the season of operation.” Id. at 80. I agree with Defendant, however, that Bayer is not controlling here because the question of the applicability [*8] of exculpatory language was not presented.

Plaintiffs further argue that the exculpatory language at issue is “only applicable to ski cases when the accident or injury occurs while the plaintiff is skiing or snowboarding on the slopes,” and not when loading the ski lift. (Resp. at 11).

I now analyze the exculpatory language at issue using the four Jones factors mentioned above. In Jones, the court instructed that for an exculpatory agreement to fail, the party seeking exculpation must be engaged in providing a service of great importance to the public, which is often a matter of practical necessity to some members of the public. Jones, 623 P.2d at 376-77. Here, the service provided is recreational and not an essential service that gives the party seeking exculpation an unfair bargaining advantage. Thus, there is no public duty that prevents enforcement of either the ski rental agreement or the exculpatory language included in Sunlight’s lift ticket.

To the extent that Plaintiffs contend that the exculpatory language at issue was “adhesive,” I note that Colorado defines an adhesion contract as “generally not bargained for, but imposed on the public for a necessary service on a take it or leave it basis.” Id. at 374. However, [*9] printed form contracts offered on a take it or leave it basis, alone, do not render the agreement an adhesion contract. Clinic Masters v. District Court, 192 Colo. 120, 556 P.2d 473 (1976). Rather, “[t]here must a showing that the parties were greatly disparate in bargaining power, that there was no opportunity for negotiation, or that [the] services could not be obtained elsewhere.” Id. In Jones, the court held that the agreement was not an adhesion contract and the party seeking exculpation did not possess a decisive bargaining advantage “because the service provided … was not an essential service.” Jones, 623 P.2d at 377-78. Thus, here, I find that the exculpatory agreements were fairly entered into and are not adhesion contracts.

Finally, I examine whether the exculpatory agreements express the parties’ intent in clear and unambiguous language. Plaintiffs argue that loading or riding a ski lift is outside the scope of the exculpatory language set forth in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket.

“Interpretation of a written contract and the determination of whether a provision in the contract is ambiguous are questions of law.” Dorman v. Petrol Aspen, Inc., 914 P.2d 909, 912 (Colo. 1996). Under Colorado law, I must examine the actual language of the agreements for legal jargon, length and complication, and any likelihood of [*10] confusion or failure of a party to recognize the full extent of the release provisions. See Heil Valley Ranch 784 P.2d at 785; Chadwick v. Colt Ross Outfitters, Inc., 100 P.3d 465, 467 (Colo. 2004). Specific terms such as “negligence” or “breach of warranty” are not required to shield a party from liability. What matters is whether the intent of the parties to extinguish liability was clearly and unambiguously expressed. Heil Valley Ranch, 784 P.2d at 785.

After carefully reviewing the relevant language set forth in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket, I find that both agreements clearly and unambiguously express the parties’ intent to release Sunlight from liability for certain claims. When Plaintiffs executed the ski rental agreement, they agreed to

RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS the equipment rental facility [Sunlight], its employees, owners, affiliates, agents, officers, directors, and the equipment manufacturers and distributors and their successors in interest (collectively “PROVIDERS”), from all liability for injury … which results from the equipment user’s participation in the RECREATIONAL SNOW SPORTS for which the equipment is provided, or which is related in any way to the use of this equipment, including all liability which results from the NEGLIGENCE of PROVIDERS, or any other person or cause.

(ECF [*11] No. 39, Ex. 2) (emphasis in original). I find that this language unambiguously encompasses the use of Sunlight’s ski lifts. Furthermore, the ski lift ticket specifically references safely loading, riding and unloading Sunlight’s ski lifts and provides that the “Holder agrees to ASSUME ALL RISKS associated with the activities and to HOLD HARMLESS the Ski Area and its representatives for all claims for injury to person or property.” (ECF No. 39, Ex. 4) (emphasis in original). I find that the language at issue is neither long nor complicated and clearly expresses the intent to bar negligence claims against Sunlight arising from the participation in recreational snow sports, which includes loading or riding ski lifts. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ negligence claims and loss of consortium claim are barred by the exculpatory language contained in both the ski rental agreement and the lift ticket. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is granted.3

3 In light of my findings in this Order, I need not address Defendant’s additional, independent arguments in support of summary judgment.

IV. CONCLUSION

Accordingly, it is

ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39) is GRANTED. This [*12] case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and Judgment shall enter in favor of Defendant against the Plaintiffs. It is

FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendant is awarded its costs, to be taxed by the Clerk of the Court under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) and D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.1.

Dated: August 3, 2016

BY THE COURT:

/s/ Wiley Y. Daniel

Wiley Y. Daniel

Senior United States District Judge


Colorado Passenger Tramway Act

COLORADO REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 25. HEALTH

PRODUCTS CONTROL AND SAFETY

ARTICLE 5.PRODUCTS CONTROL AND SAFETY

PART 7. PASSENGER TRAMWAY SAFETY

25-5-701. Legislative declaration.. 2

25-5-702. Definitions. 2

25-5-703. Passenger tramway safety board – composition – termination.. 4

25-5-703.5. Board subject to termination – repeal of article. (Repealed) 5

25-5-704. Powers and duties of board. 5

25-5-705. Responsibilities of area operators. 6

25-5-706. Disciplinary action – administrative sanctions – grounds. 7

25-5-707. Orders – enforcement 8

25-5-708. Disciplinary proceedings. 8

25-5-709. Passenger tramway licensing required. 9

25-5-710. Application for new construction or major modification.. 9

25-5-711. Application for licensing. 10

25-5-712. Licensing of passenger tramways. 10

25-5-713. Licensing and certification fees. 11

25-5-714. Disposition of fees and fines. 11

25-5-715. Inspections and investigations – costs – reports. 11

25-5-716. Emergency shutdown.. 12

25-5-717. Provisions in lieu of others. 13

25-5-718. Governmental immunity – limitations on liability. 13

25-5-719. Independent contractors – no general immunity. 13

25-5-720. Confidentiality of reports and other materials. 14

25-5-721. Repeal of part 14

 

C.R.S. 25-5-701 (2015)

25-5-701. Legislative declaration

In order to assist in safeguarding life, health, property, and the welfare of this state, it is the policy of the state of Colorado to establish a board empowered to prevent unnecessary mechanical hazards in the operation of passenger tramways and to assure that reasonable design and construction are used for, that accepted safety devices and sufficient personnel are provided for, and that periodic inspections and adjustments are made which are deemed essential to the safe operation of, passenger tramways.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 709, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-1.L. 76: Entire section amended, p. 660, § 1, effective May 27.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1288, § 2, effective July 1.L. 83: Entire section amended, p. 1071, § 1, effective May 25.L. 93: Entire section amended, p. 1533, § 3, effective July 1.

Cross references: For agricultural and animal products standards, see title 35; for automotive products standards, see parts 8 and 9 of article 20 of title 8.

ANNOTATION

Law reviews. For article, “Ski Injury Liability”, see 43 U. Colo. L. Rev. 307 (1972). For article, “Changes in Colorado Ski Law”, see 13 Colo. Law. 407 (1984). For article, “The Development of the Standard of Care in Colorado Ski Cases”, see 15 Colo. Law. 373 (1986).

Neither this act nor the Ski Safety Act of 1979 (article 44 of title 33, C.R.S.) preempts or supersedes the common law standard of care applicable to ski lift operators, to use the highest degree of care commensurate with the practical operation of the lift, regardless of the season. The general assembly did not intend for the regulations adopted by the board to preclude common law negligence actions against ski lift operators or the duty to exercise the highest degree of care. Bayer v. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, 960 P.2d 70 (Colo. 1998).

25-5-702. Definitions

As used in this part 7, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Area operator” means a person who owns, manages, or directs the operation and maintenance of a passenger tramway. “Area operator” may apply to the state or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof.

(1.5) “Board” means the passenger tramway safety board created by section 25-5-703.

(1.7) “Commercial recreational area” means an entity using passenger tramways to provide recreational opportunities to the public for a fee.

(2) “Industry” means the activities of all those persons in this state who own, manage, or direct the operation of passenger tramways.

(3) “License” means the formal, legal, written permission of the board to operate a passenger tramway.

(4) “Passenger tramway” means a device used to transport passengers uphill on skis, or in cars on tracks, or suspended in the air by the use of steel cables, chains, or belts, or by ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans. “Passenger tramway” includes, but is not limited to, the following devices:

(a) Fixed-grip lifts. “Fixed-grip lift” means an aerial lift on which carriers remain attached to a haul rope. The tramway system may be either continuously or intermittently circulating, and may be either monocable or bicable.

(b) Detachable-grip lifts. “Detachable-grip lift” means an aerial lift on which carriers alternately attach to and detach from a moving haul rope. The tramway system may be monocable or bicable.

(c) Funiculars. “Funicular” means a device in which a passenger car running on steel or wooden tracks is attached to and propelled by a steel cable, and any similar devices.

(d) Chair lifts. “Chair lift” means a type of transportation 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, and any similar devices.

(e) Surface lifts. “Surface lift” means a J-bar, T-bar, or platter pull and any similar types of devices or means of transportation which pull skiers riding on skis by means of an attachment to a main overhead cable supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans.

(f) Rope tows. “Rope tow” means a type of transportation which pulls the skier riding on skis as the skier grasps the rope manually, and any similar devices.

(g) Portable aerial tramway devices. “Portable aerial tramway device” means any device designed for temporary use and operation, without permanent foundations, in changing or variable locations, with a capacity of less than five persons, which transports equipment or personnel, and is not used or intended to be used by the general public.

(h) Portable tramway devices. “Portable tramway device” means any device designed to be used and operated as a rope tow or surface lift without permanent foundations and intended for temporary use in changing or variable locations, when used within the boundary of a recognized ski area.

(i) Private residence tramways. “Private residence tramway” means a device installed at a private residence or installed in multiple dwellings as a means of access to a private residence in such multiple dwelling buildings, so long as the tramway is so installed that it is not accessible to the general public or to other occupants of the building.

(j) Reversible aerial tramways. “Reversible aerial tramway” means a device on which passengers are transported in cable-supported carriers and are not in contact with the ground or snow surface, and in which the carriers reciprocate between terminals.

(k) Conveyors. “Conveyor” means a type of transportation by which skiers, or passengers on recreational devices, are transported uphill on top of a flexible, moving element such as a belt or a series of rollers.

(4.5) “Program administrator” means the person who manages the board’s offices on a day-to-day basis and works with the supervisory tramway engineer and the board in implementing the policies, decisions, and orders of the board.

(5) “Qualified tramway design engineer” or “qualified tramway construction engineer” means an engineer licensed by the state board of licensure for architects, professional engineers, and professional land surveyors pursuant to part 1 of article 25 of title 12, C.R.S., to practice professional engineering in this state.

(6) “Staff” means the program administrator, the supervisory tramway engineer, and their clerical staff.

(7) “Supervisory tramway engineer” means the tramway engineer who works with the program administrator and the board in implementing the policies, decisions, and orders of the board.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 709, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-2.L. 76: (1) and (4)(c) amended and (1.5) and (5) added, p. 661, § 2, effective May 27.L. 83: (5) amended, p. 1072, § 2, effective May 25.L. 93: (1), (3), and (4) amended and (1.7), (4.5), (6), and (7) added, p. 1533, § 4, effective July 1.L. 2001: (4)(k) added, p. 118, § 3, effective July 1.L. 2004: (5) amended, p. 1311, § 57, effective May 28.L. 2006: (5) amended, p. 743, § 11, effective July 1.

25-5-703. Passenger tramway safety board – composition – termination

(1) There is hereby created a passenger tramway safety board of six appointive members and one member designated by the United States forest service. The appointive members shall be appointed by the governor from persons representing the following interests: Two members to represent the industry or area operators; two members to represent the public at large; one member who is a licensed professional engineer not employed by a ski area or related industry; and one member familiar with or experienced in the tramway industry who may represent the passenger tramway manufacturing or design industry or an area operator. No person shall be so appointed or designated except those who, by reason of knowledge or experience, shall be deemed to be qualified. Such knowledge or experience shall be either from active and relevant involvement in the design, manufacture, or operation of passenger tramways or as a result of extensive and relevant involvement in related activities. The governor, in making such appointments, shall consider recommendations made to him or her by the membership of the particular interest from which the appointments are to be made.

(2) Each of the appointed members shall be appointed for a term of four years and until a successor is appointed and qualified and no board member shall serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. A former board member may be reappointed to the board after having vacated the board for one four-year term. Vacancies on the board, for either an unexpired term or for a new term, shall be filled through prompt appointment by the governor. The member of the board designated by the United States forest service shall serve for such period as such federal agency shall determine and shall serve without compensation or reimbursement of expenses.

(3) The governor may remove any member of the board for misconduct, incompetence, or neglect of duty.

(4) Board members appointed by the governor shall have been residents of this state for at least three years.

(5) No member of the board who has any form of conflict of interest or the potential thereof shall participate in consideration of the deliberations on matters to which such conflict may relate; such conflicts may include, but are not limited to, a member of the board having acted in any consulting relationship or being directly or indirectly involved in the operation of the tramway in question.

(6) A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum. When necessary, the board may conduct business telephonically during a public meeting for purposes of obtaining a quorum, facilitating the participation of members in remote locations, or both.

(7) The provisions of section 24-34-104, C.R.S., concerning the termination schedule for regulatory bodies of the state unless extended as provided in that section, are applicable to the passenger tramway safety board created by this section.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 711, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-3.L. 76: Entire section amended, p. 661, § 3, effective May 27.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1289, § 3, effective July 1.L. 93: Entire section amended, p. 1535, § 5, effective July 1.L. 2001: (1) amended, p. 119, § 4, effective July 1.L. 2008: (1) amended, p. 369, § 4, effective July 1.

ANNOTATION

Law reviews. For article, “Ski Injury Liability”, see 43 U. Colo. L. Rev. 307 (1972).

25-5-703.5. Board subject to termination – repeal of article. (Repealed)

HISTORY: Source: L. 76: Entire section added, p. 627, § 39, effective July 1.L. 91: Entire section amended, p. 688, § 56, effective April 20.L. 93: Entire section repealed, p. 1536, § 6, effective July 1.

25-5-704. Powers and duties of board

(1) The board has the following powers and duties in addition to those otherwise described by this part 7:

(a) To promulgate, amend, and repeal such rules as may be necessary and proper to carry out the provisions of this article. In adopting such rules, the board may use as general guidelines the standards contained in the “American National Standard for Passenger Ropeways – Aerial Tramways and Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows, and Conveyors – Safety Requirements”, as adopted by the American national standards institute, incorporated, as amended from time to time. Such rules shall not be discriminatory in their application to area operators and procedures of the board with respect thereto shall be as provided in section 24-4-103, C.R.S., with respect to rule-making.

(b) To investigate matters relating to the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the board;

(c) To receive complaints concerning violations of this part 7;

(d) To conduct meetings, hold hearings, and take evidence in all matters relating to the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of the board, subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, and compel the testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and records relevant to the subject inquiry. The program administrator may issue subpoenas on behalf of the board at the board’s direction. If any person refuses to obey any subpoena so issued, the board may petition the district court, setting forth the facts, and thereupon the court in a proper case shall issue its subpoena. The board may appoint an administrative law judge pursuant to part 10 of article 30 of title 24, C.R.S., to take evidence and to make findings and report them to the board. The board may elect to hear the matter itself with the assistance of an administrative law judge, who shall rule on the evidence and otherwise conduct the hearing in accordance with the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.

(e) To discipline area operators in accordance with this part 7;

(f) To approve and renew licenses in accordance with this part 7;

(g) To elect officers;

(h) To establish standing or temporary technical and safety committees composed of persons with expertise in tramway-related fields to review, as the board deems necessary, the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of passenger tramways and to make recommendations to the board concerning their findings. Committees established pursuant to this paragraph (h) shall meet as deemed necessary by the board or the supervisory tramway engineer.

(i) To collect fees, established pursuant to section 24-34-105, C.R.S., for any application for a new construction or major modification, for any application for licensing, and for inspection and accident investigations;

(j) To cause the prosecution and enjoinder of all persons violating such provisions and to incur the necessary expenses thereof;

(k) To delegate duties to the program administrator;

(l) To keep records of its proceedings and of all applications.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 711, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-4.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1289, § 4, effective July 1.L. 79: Entire section amended, p. 912, § 15, effective July 1.L. 93: Entire section amended, p. 1536, § 7, effective July 1.L. 2001: (1)(a) and (1)(i) amended, p. 119, § 5, effective July 1.

25-5-705. Responsibilities of area operators

The primary responsibility for design, construction, maintenance, operation, and inspection rests with the area operators of passenger tramway devices.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 711, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-5.L. 76: Entire section amended, p. 661, § 4, effective May 27.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1538, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-706. Disciplinary action – administrative sanctions – grounds

(1) Disciplinary action of the board pursuant to this section shall be taken in accordance with the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.

(2) Disciplinary action of the board may be imposed as an alternative to or in conjunction with the issuance of orders or the pursuit of other remedies provided by section 25-5-707 or 25-5-716, and may consist of any of the following:

(a) Denial, suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew the license of any passenger tramway. The board may summarily suspend a license pursuant to the authority granted by this part 7 or article 4 of title 24, C.R.S.

(b) (I) When a complaint or investigation discloses an instance of misconduct that, in the opinion of the board, does not warrant formal action by the board but that should not be dismissed as being without merit, issuance and sending of a letter of admonition, by certified mail, to the area operator.

(II) When a letter of admonition is sent by the board, by certified mail, to an area operator such area operator shall be advised that he or she has the right to request in writing, within twenty days after receipt of the letter, that formal disciplinary proceedings be initiated to adjudicate the propriety of the conduct upon which the letter of admonition is based.

(III) If the request for adjudication is timely made, the letter of admonition shall be deemed vacated and the matter shall be processed by means of formal disciplinary proceedings.

(c) Assessment of a fine, not to exceed ten thousand dollars per act or omission or, in the case of acts or omissions found to be willful, fifty thousand dollars per act or omission, against any area operator;

(d) Imposition of reasonable conditions upon the continued licensing of a passenger tramway or upon the suspension of further disciplinary action against an area operator.

(3) The board may take disciplinary action for any of the following acts or omissions:

(a) Any violation of the provisions of this part 7 or of any rule or regulation of the board promulgated pursuant to section 25-5-704 when the act or omission upon which the violation is based was known to, or reasonably should have been known to, the area operator;

(b) Violation of any order of the board issued pursuant to provisions of this part 7;

(c) Failure to report any incident or accident to the board as required by any provision of this part 7 or any rule or regulation of the board promulgated pursuant to section 25-5-704 when the incident or accident was known to, or reasonably should have been known to, the area operator;

(d) Willful or wanton misconduct in the operation or maintenance of a passenger tramway;

(e) Operation of a passenger tramway while a condition exists in the design, construction, operation, or maintenance of the passenger tramway which endangers the public health, safety, or welfare, which condition was known, or reasonably should have been known, by the area operator;

(f) Operation of a passenger tramway by an operator whose license has been suspended;

(g) Failure to comply with an order issued under section 25-5-707 or 25-5-716.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 711, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-6.L. 86: Entire section amended, p. 974, § 1, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1538, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2004: (2)(b) amended, p. 1863, § 123, effective August 4.L. 2006: (3)(f) and (3)(g) added, p. 96, § 64, effective August 7.

25-5-707. Orders – enforcement

(1) If, after investigation, the board finds that a violation of any of its rules or regulations exists or that there is a condition in passenger tramway design, construction, operation, or maintenance endangering the safety of the public, it shall forthwith issue its written order setting forth its findings and the corrective action to be taken and fixing a reasonable time for compliance therewith. Such order shall be served upon the area operator involved in accordance with the Colorado rules of civil procedure or the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S., and shall become final unless the area operator applies to the board for a hearing in the manner provided in section 24-4-105, C.R.S.

(2) If any area operator fails to comply with a lawful order of the board issued under this section within the time fixed thereby, the board may take further action as permitted by sections 25-5-706 and 25-5-716 and may commence an action seeking injunctive relief in the district court of the judicial district in which the relevant passenger tramway is located.

(3) Any person who violates an order issued pursuant to this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than five thousand dollars for each day during which such violation occurs.

(4) Any area operator who operates a passenger tramway which has not been licensed by the board or the license of which has been suspended, or who fails to comply with an order issued under this section or section 25-5-716, commits a class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. Fines collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the general fund of the state.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 711, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-7.L. 86: (3) and (4) amended, p. 974, § 2, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1539, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2002: (4) amended, p. 1537, § 268, effective October 1.

25-5-708. Disciplinary proceedings

(1) The board may investigate all matters which present grounds for disciplinary action as specified in this part 7.

(2) Disciplinary hearings shall be conducted by the board or by an administrative law judge in accordance with section 25-5-704 (1) (d).

(3) Any person aggrieved by a final action or order of the board may appeal such action to the Colorado court of appeals in accordance with section 24-4-106 (11), C.R.S.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 712, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-8.L. 67: p. 200, § 1.L. 76: (1) amended and (2) added, p. 662, § 6, effective May 27.L. 77: (1) amended, p. 1290, § 6, effective July 1.L. 79: Entire section R&RE, p. 1661, § 120, effective July 19.L. 83: (2) repealed, p. 1073, § 6, effective May 25.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1540, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-709. Passenger tramway licensing required

(1) The state, through the board, shall license all passenger tramways, unless specifically exempted by law, establish reasonable standards of design and operational practices, and cause to be made such inspections as may be necessary in carrying out the provisions of this section.

(2) A passenger tramway shall not be operated in this state unless it has been licensed by the board. No new passenger tramway shall be initially licensed in this state unless its design and construction have been certified to this state as complying with the rules and regulations of the board promulgated pursuant to section 25-5-704. Such certification shall be made by a qualified tramway design engineer or a qualified tramway construction engineer, whichever the case requires.

(3) The board shall have no jurisdiction over the construction of a new private residence tramway or over any modifications to an existing private residence tramway when such tramway is not used, or intended to be used, by the general public.

(4) The board shall have no jurisdiction over a portable aerial tramway device.

(5) The board shall have no jurisdiction over a portable tramway device when such tramway device is not used, or intended to be used, by the general public.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 712, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-9.L. 73: p. 1373, § 29.L. 79: Entire section amended, p. 1661, § 121, effective July 19.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1540, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2001: (3) and (5) amended, p. 119, § 6, effective July 1.

25-5-710. Application for new construction or major modification

Any new construction of a passenger tramway or any major modification to an existing installation shall not be initiated unless an application for such construction or major modification has been made to the board and a permit therefor has been issued by the board.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 712, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-10.L. 67: p. 200, § 2;L. 76: (1)(f) amended and (1)(g) added, p. 662, § 7, effective May 27;L. 77: (1)(b) amended, p. 308, § 14, effective June 10; (1)(h), (1)(i), and (2) added, p. 1290, § § 8, 7, effective July 1.L. 79: (1)(i) amended, p. 1661, § 122, effective July 19;L. 83: (1)(f) amended and (1)(g) repealed, pp. 1072, 1073, § § 5, 6, effective May 25;L. 86: (1)(a) to (1)(c) amended, p. 975, § 3, effective April 3.L. 87: (1)(b) amended, p. 971, § 83, effective March 13.L. 88: (1)(h) amended, p. 317, § 11, effective April 14.L. 91: (1)(a) amended, p. 1917, § 40, effective June 1.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1540, § 8, effective July 1.

ANNOTATION

Law reviews. For note, “Exculpatory Clauses and Public Policy: A Judicial Dilemma”, see 53 U. Colo. L. Rev. 793 (1982).

25-5-711. Application for licensing

Each year, every area operator of a passenger tramway shall apply to the board, in such form as the board shall designate, for licensing of the passenger tramways which such area operator owns or manages or the operation of which such area operator directs. The application shall contain such information as the board may reasonably require in order for it to determine whether the passenger tramway sought to be licensed by such area operator complies with the intent of this part 7 as specified in section 25-5-701 and the rules and regulations promulgated by the board pursuant to section 25-5-704.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 713, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-11.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 637, § 5, effective July 1; entire section amended, p. 1291, § 9, effective July 1.L. 86: Entire section amended, p. 975, § 4, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1540, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-712. Licensing of passenger tramways

(1) The board shall issue to the applying area operator without delay licensing certificates for each passenger tramway owned, managed, or the operation of which is directed by such area operator when the board is satisfied:

(a) That the facts stated in the application are sufficient to enable the board to fulfill its duties under this part 7; and

(b) That each such passenger tramway sought to be licensed has been inspected by an inspector designated by the board according to procedures established by the board and that such inspection disclosed no unreasonable safety hazard and no violations of the provisions of this part 7 or the rules and regulations of the board promulgated pursuant to section 25-5-704.

(2) In order to satisfy itself that the conditions described in subsection (1) of this section have been fulfilled, the board may cause to be made such inspections described in section 25-5-715 as it may reasonably deem necessary.

(3) Repealed.

(4) Licenses shall expire on dates established by the board.

(5) Each area operator shall cause the licensing certificate, or a copy thereof, for each passenger tramway thus licensed to be displayed prominently at the place where passengers are loaded thereon.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 714, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-12.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1291, § 10, effective July 1.L. 86: Entire section amended, p. 976, § 5, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1541, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2001: (3) repealed, p. 120, § 7, effective July 1.

25-5-713. Licensing and certification fees

The application for new construction or major modification and the application for licensing shall be accompanied by a fee established pursuant to section 24-34-105, C.R.S.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 714, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-13.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1291, § 11, effective July 1.L. 86: Entire section amended, p. 976, § 6, effective April 6.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1541, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2001: Entire section amended, p. 120, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-714. Disposition of fees and fines

(1) All fees collected by the board under the provisions of this part 7 shall be transmitted to the state treasurer, who shall credit the same pursuant to section 24-34-105, C.R.S., and the general assembly shall make annual appropriations pursuant to said section for expenditures of the board incurred in the performance of its duties under this part 7, which expenditures shall be made from such appropriations upon vouchers and warrants drawn pursuant to law.

(2) Fines collected pursuant to section 25-5-707 shall be deposited in the general fund of the state.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 714, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-14.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1541, § 8, effective July 1.L. 2006: Entire section amended, p. 96, § 65, effective August 7.

25-5-715. Inspections and investigations – costs – reports

(1) The board may cause to be made such inspection of the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of passenger tramways as the board may reasonably require.

(2) Such inspections shall include, at a minimum, two inspections per year or per two thousand hours of operation, whichever occurs first, of each passenger tramway, one of which inspections shall be during the high use season and shall be unannounced, and shall be carried out under contract by independent contractors selected by the board or by the supervisory tramway engineer. Additional inspections may be required by the board if the area operator does not, in the opinion of the board, make reasonable efforts to correct any deficiencies identified in any prior inspection or if the board otherwise deems such additional inspections necessary. The board shall provide in its rules and regulations that no facility shall be shut down for the purposes of a regular inspection during normal operating hours unless sufficient daylight is not available for the inspection.

(3) The board may employ independent contractors to make such inspections for reasonable fees plus expenses. The expenses incurred by the board in connection with the conduct of inspections provided for in this part 7 shall be paid in the first instance by the board, but each area operator of the passenger tramway which was the subject of such inspection shall, upon notification by the board of the amount due, reimburse the board for any charges made by such personnel for such services and for the actual expenses of each inspection.

(4) The board may cause an investigation to be made in response to an accident or incident involving a passenger tramway, as the board may reasonably require. The board may employ independent contractors to make such investigations for reasonable fees plus expenses. The expenses incurred by the board in connection with the conduct of investigations provided for in this part 7 shall be paid in the first instance by the board, and thereafter one or more area operators may be billed for work performed pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.

(5) If, as the result of an inspection, it is found that a violation of the board’s rules and regulations exists, or a condition in passenger tramway design, construction, operation, or maintenance exists, endangering the safety of the public, an immediate report shall be made to the board for appropriate investigation and order.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 714, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-15.L. 86: Entire section amended, p. 976, § 7, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1542, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-716. Emergency shutdown

When facts are presented tending to show that an unreasonable hazard exists in the continued operation of a passenger tramway, after such verification of said facts as is practical under the circumstances and consistent with the public safety, the board, any member thereof, or the supervisory tramway engineer may, by an emergency order, require the area operator of said tramway forthwith to cease using the same for the transportation of passengers. Such emergency order shall be in writing and signed by a member of the board or the supervisory tramway engineer, and notice thereof may be served by the supervisory tramway engineer, any member of the board, or as provided by the Colorado rules of civil procedure or the “State Administrative Procedure Act”, article 4 of title 24, C.R.S. Such service shall be made upon the area operator or the area operator’s agent immediately in control of said tramway. Such emergency shutdown shall be effective for a period not to exceed seventy-two hours from the time of service. The board shall conduct an investigation into the facts of the case and shall take such action under this part 7 as may be appropriate.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 714, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-16.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1543, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-717. Provisions in lieu of others

The provisions for regulation, registration, and licensing of passenger tramways and the area operators thereof under this part 7 shall be in lieu of all other regulations or registration or licensing requirements, and passenger tramways shall not be construed to be common carriers within the meaning of the laws of this state.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 715, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-17.L. 77: Entire section amended, p. 1292, § 13, effective July 1.L. 85: Entire section amended, p. 411, § 23, effective July 1.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1543, § 8, effective July 1.

ANNOTATION

Even though a ski lift operator is not a common carrier, the attendant circumstances of operating a ski lift demand that the ski lift operator be held to the highest degree of care commensurate with the practical operation of the lift. Bayer v. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, 960 P.2d 70 (Colo. 1998).

25-5-718. Governmental immunity – limitations on liability

The board, any member of the board, any person on the staff of the board, any technical advisor appointed by the board, any member of an advisory committee appointed by the board, and any independent contractor hired to perform or acting as a state tramway inspector on behalf of the board with whom the board contracts for assistance shall be provided all protections of governmental immunity provided to public employees by article 10 of title 24, C.R.S., including but not limited to the payment of judgments and settlements, the provision of legal defense, and the payment of costs incurred in court actions. These protections shall be provided to the board, board members, staff, technical advisors, committee members, and independent contractors hired to perform or acting as a state tramway inspector on behalf of the board only with regard to actions brought because of acts or omissions committed by such persons in the course of official board duties.

HISTORY: Source: L. 65: p. 715, § 1. C.R.S. 1963: § 66-25-18.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1543, § 8, effective July 1.

ANNOTATION

Law reviews. For article, “Ski Injury Liability”, see 43 U. Colo. L. Rev. 307 (1972).

25-5-719. Independent contractors – no general immunity

The provisions of section 25-5-718 shall be construed as a specific exception to the general exclusion of independent contractors hired to perform or acting as a state tramway inspector on behalf of the board from the protections of governmental immunity provided in article 10 of title 24, C.R.S.

HISTORY: Source: L. 86: Entire section added, p. 977, § 8, effective April 3.L. 93: Sections 25-5-705 to 25-5-719 R&RE, p. 1543, § 8, effective July 1.

25-5-720. Confidentiality of reports and other materials

(1) Reports of investigations conducted by an area operator or by a private contractor on an area operator’s behalf and filed with the board or the board’s staff shall be presumed to be privileged information exempt from public inspection under section 24-72-204 (3) (a) (IV), C.R.S., except as may be ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (1) of this section, all information in the possession of the board’s staff and all final reports to the board shall be open to public inspection in accordance with part 2 of article 72 of title 24, C.R.S.

HISTORY: Source: L. 93: Entire section added, p. 1544, § 9, effective July 1.

25-5-721. Repeal of part

(1) This part 7 is repealed, effective July 1, 2019.

(2) Prior to such repeal, the passenger tramway safety board shall be reviewed as provided for in section 24-34-104, C.R.S.

HISTORY: Source: L. 93: Entire section added, p. 1544, § 9, effective July 1.L. 2001: (1) amended, p. 120, § 9, effective July 1.L. 2008: (1) amended, p. 369, § 1, effective July 1.

 


Utah Skier Safety Act

Utah Skier Safety Act

UTAH CODE ANNOTATED

TITLE 78B.  JUDICIAL CODE 

CHAPTER 4.  LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY 

PART 4.  INHERENT RISKS OF SKIING

Go to the Utah Code Archive Directory

Utah Code Ann. § 78B-4-401  (2012)

§ 78B-4-401.  Public policy

   The Legislature finds that the sport of skiing is practiced by a large number of residents of Utah and attracts a large number of nonresidents, significantly contributing to the economy of this state. It further finds that few insurance carriers are willing to provide liability insurance protection to ski area operators and that the premiums charged by those carriers have risen sharply in recent years due to confusion as to whether a skier assumes the risks inherent in the sport of skiing. It is the purpose of this act, therefore, to clarify the law in relation to skiing injuries and the risks inherent in that sport, to establish as a matter of law that certain risks are inherent in that sport, and to provide that, as a matter of public policy, no person engaged in that sport shall recover from a ski operator for injuries resulting from those inherent risks.

§ 78B-4-402.  Definitions

   As used in this part:

   (1) “Inherent risks of skiing” means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of the sport of recreational, competitive, or professional skiing, including, but not limited to:

      (a) changing weather conditions;

      (b) snow or ice conditions as they exist or may change, such as hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up snow, or machine-made snow;

      (c) surface or subsurface conditions such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, cliffs, trees, and other natural objects;

      (d) variations or steepness in terrain, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snowmaking or grooming operations, and other terrain modifications such as terrain parks, and terrain features such as jumps, rails, fun boxes, and all other constructed and natural features such as half pipes, quarter pipes, or freestyle-bump terrain;

      (e) impact with lift towers and other structures and their components such as signs, posts, fences or enclosures, hydrants, or water pipes;

      (f) collisions with other skiers;

      (g) participation in, or practicing or training for, competitions or special events; and

      (h) the failure of a skier to ski within the skier’s own ability.

   (2) “Injury” means any personal injury or property damage or loss.

   (3) “Skier” means any person present in a ski area for the purpose of engaging in the sport of skiing, nordic, freestyle, or other types of ski jumping, using skis, sled, tube, snowboard, or any other device.

   (4) “Ski area” means any area designated by a ski area operator to be used for skiing, nordic, freestyle, or other type of ski jumping, and snowboarding.

   (5) “Ski area operator” means those persons, and their agents, officers, employees or representatives, who operate a ski area.

§ 78B-4-403.  Bar against claim or recovery from operator for injury from risks inherent in sport

   Notwithstanding anything in Sections 78B-5-817 through 78B-5-823 to the contrary, no skier may make any claim against, or recover from, any ski area operator for injury resulting from any of the inherent risks of skiing.

§ 78B-4-404.  Trail boards listing inherent risks and limitations on liability

   Ski area operators shall post trail boards at one or more prominent locations within each ski area which shall include a list of the inherent risks of skiing, and the limitations on liability of ski area operators, as defined in this part.

§ 72-11-201.  Passenger ropeways — Purpose and scope

   (1) In order to safeguard the life, health, property, and welfare of citizens while using passenger ropeways, it is the policy of the state to:

   (a) protect citizens and visitors from unnecessary mechanical hazards in the design, construction, and operation of passenger ropeways, but not from the hazards inherent in the sports of mountaineering, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and hiking, or from the hazards of the area served by passenger ropeways, all of which hazards are assumed by the sportsman; and

   (b) require periodic inspections of passenger ropeways to ensure that each passenger ropeway meets “The United States of America Standard Institute Safety Code for Aerial Passenger Tramways,” or an equivalent standard established by rule under Section 72-11-210.

(2) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (2)(b), the committee, through the Department of Transportation, shall:

      (i) register all passenger ropeways in the state;

      (ii) establish reasonable standards of design, construction, and operational practices; and

      (iii) make inspections as necessary to implement this section.

   (b) The committee has no jurisdiction over the construction, modification, registration, or inspection of a private residence passenger ropeway.

 


Michigan Ski Safety Act

Michigan Ski Safety Act

MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS SERVICE

CHAPTER 408 LABOR

SKI AREA SAFETY ACT OF 1962

Go to the Michigan Code Archive Directory

MCLS prec § 408.321 (2012)

MCL § 408.321

Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 1

Preceding § 408.321. 2

§ 408.321. Ski area safety act of 1962; short title. 2

§ 408.322. Definitions. 3

§ 408.323. Ski area safety board; creation; composition; qualifications; ex officio members. 5

§ 408.324. Ski area safety board; appointment and terms of members; vacancies. 5

§ 408.326. Rules; proposed legislation establishing fee schedule. 6

§ 408.326a. Duties of ski area operator. 6

§ 408.327. Promulgation of rules. 8

§ 408.328. Commissioner of labor; administration of act. 8

§ 408.329. Ski lifts; permits requirement, inspection. 8

§ 408.330. Ski lifts; temporary permits. 9

§ 408.331. Ski lifts; permits, issuance, expiration. 9

§ 408.332. Ski lifts; erection, alteration, moving, plans and specifications; rope tows. 9

§ 408.333. Ski lifts; order to cease operation. 10

§ 408.334. Ski lifts; existing installations. 10

§ 408.335. Ski lifts; rules and regulations, modification for hardship, record. 10

§ 408.336. Ski lifts; fees. 10

§ 408.337. Chief inspector; inspection service. 11

§ 408.338. Revenue; disbursements. 11

§ 408.339. Notice of public hearing. 12

§ 408.340. Violations; penalties; rules. 12

§ 408.341. Skier conduct; prohibited conduct in ski area. 13

§ 408.342. Duties of skier in ski area; acceptance of dangers. 13

§ 408.343. Accidents causing injury; notice; identification; misdemeanor; penalty. 16

§ 408.344. Violation of act; liability. 17

Preceding § 408.321

An act to provide for the inspection, licensing, and regulation of ski areas and ski lifts; to provide for the safety of skiers, spectators, and the public using ski areas; to provide for certain presumptions relative to liability for an injury or damage sustained by skiers; to prescribe the duties of skiers and ski area operators; to create a ski area safety board; to provide for the disposition of revenues; to provide for liability for damages which result from a violation of this act; to provide civil fines for certain violations of this act; and to provide criminal penalties for certain violations of this act. (Amended by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981; 1995, No. 120, imd eff June 30, 1995.)

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.321. Ski area safety act of 1962; short title.

Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “ski area safety act of 1962”.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 1, imd eff June 7, 1962.

NOTES:

Michigan Administrative Code references:

Michigan Administrative Code R 408.61-408.97

Michigan Digest references:

Constitutional Law § 316

Negligence § 30

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements §§ 13, 23, 43, 44

Michigan Law and Practice, Torts § 85

Legal periodicals:

Miller, No-Fault Tort Law as a “Strategic Assumption”: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater, 82 U Det Mercy L Rev 47 (2004).

CASE NOTES

Finding against the corporation in a skiing accident was improper pursuant to the Ski Area Safety Act of 1962, MCL §§ 408.321 et seq., because the skier was held to have accepted the risks associated with all types of skiing, including snowboarding. Barrett v Mt. Brighton, Inc. (2006) 474 Mich 1087, 712 NW2d 154.

The Ski Area Safety Act does not provide for the adoption of safety standards by outside agencies, nor does it provide for an exception to immunity for violation of any such standards. McCormick v Go Forward Operating Ltd. P’ship. (1999) 235 Mich App 551, 599 NW2d 513 (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

§ 408.322. Definitions.

Sec. 2. As used in this act:

(a) “Board” means the ski area safety board.

(b) “Commissioner” means the director of commerce or an authorized representative of the director.

(c) “Department” means the state department of commerce.

(d) “Operator” means a person who owns or controls, or who has operational responsibility for, a ski area or ski lift. An operator includes this state or a political subdivision of this state.

(e) “Passenger” means a person, skier or nonskier, who boards, disembarks from, or is transported by a ski lift, regardless of whether the ski lift is being used during the skiing season or nonskiing season, and includes a person waiting for or moving away from the loading or unloading point of a ski lift.

(f) “Ski area” means an area used for skiing and served by 1 or more ski lifts.

(g) “Skier” means a person wearing skis or utilizing a device that attaches to at least 1 foot or the lower torso for the purpose of sliding on a slope. The device slides on the snow or other surface of a slope and is capable of being maneuvered and controlled by the person using the device. Skier includes a person not wearing skis or a skiing device while the person is in a ski area for the purpose of skiing.

(h) “Ski lift” means a device for transporting persons uphill on skis, or in cars on tracks, or suspended in the air by the use of cables, chains, belts, or ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with 1 or more spans. Ski lift includes a rope tow.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 2, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976; 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981; 1995, No. 120, imd eff June 30, 1995.

NOTES:

Effect of amendment notes:

The 1995 amendment in paragraphs (b) and (c), substituted “commerce” for “licensing and regulation”; in paragraph (g), inserted “or utilizing a device that attaches to at least 1 foot or the lower torso for the purpose of sliding on a slope. The device slides on the snow or other surface of a slope and is capable of being maneuvered and controlled by the person using the device. Skier includes a”, inserted “or a skiing device”; and in paragraph (h), substituted “includes” for “inclues”.

Cross References:

Office of commissioner of labor abolished and powers transferred to department of labor, § 16.477.

Injuries at amusement places, generally, § 431.201.

Michigan Digest references:

Exhibitions and Amusements § 7

Negligence § 6

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements §§ 23, 43

Michigan Law and Practice, Torts § 85

ALR notes:

Private owner’s liability to trespassing children for injury sustained by sledding, tobogganing, skiing, skating, or otherwise sliding on his land, 19 ALR3d 184.

Liability for injury or death from ski lift, ski tow, or similar device, 95 ALR3d 203.

Ski resort’s liability for skier’s injuries resulting from condition of ski run or slope, 55 ALR4th 632.

Skier’s liability for injuries to or death of another person, 75 ALR5th 583.

CASE NOTES

Finding against the corporation in a skiing accident was improper pursuant to the Ski Area Safety Act of 1962, MCL §§ 408.321 et seq., because the skier was held to have accepted the risks associated with all types of skiing, including snowboarding, MCL 408.322(g). Barrett v Mt. Brighton, Inc. (2006) 474 Mich 1087, 712 NW2d 154.

Cause of action against defendant ski facility for injuries sustained by plaintiff on rope tow could not be maintained on theory of breach of implied warranties stemming from defect in service in connection with rope tow which was not shown to be unfit or defective, such theory amounting to no more than allegation of breach of implied promise not to operate rope tow in negligent manner, which was in effect same theory submitted to jury on negligence count. Lewis v Big Powderhorn Mountain Ski Corp. (1976) 69 Mich App 437, 245 NW2d 81, 20 UCCRS 288.

Defendant ski facility’s selling plaintiff weekend of skiing which included use of rope tow could not be deemed “product” to which implied warranty would attach so as to support action against defendant grounded on breach of implied warranty as result of injuries sustained on rope tow which was not shown to be defective or unfit. Lewis v Big Powderhorn Mountain Ski Corp. (1976) 69 Mich App 437, 245 NW2d 81, 20 UCCRS 288.

§ 408.323. Ski area safety board; creation; composition; qualifications; ex officio members.

Sec. 3. A ski area safety board consisting of 7 members is created within the office of the commissioner. The board consists of 3 ski area managers, 1 from the Upper Peninsula and 2 from the Lower Peninsula; 1 engineer with skiing experience; 1 member of the central United States ski association, a nonprofit corporation; 1 person with skiing experience from the Upper Peninsula representing the general public; and 1 with skiing experience from the Lower Peninsula representing the general public. The commissioner and an officer of the Michigan tourist council are ex officio members of the board without vote.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 3, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 13

§ 408.324. Ski area safety board; appointment and terms of members; vacancies.

Sec. 4. Members of the board shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for terms of 4 years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. Vacancies in the board shall be filled for the unexpired term.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 4, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976.

§ 408.325. Ski area safety board; conducting business at public meeting; notice; election of chairperson and other officers; quorum; meetings; compensation and expenses.

Sec. 5. (1) The business which the board may perform shall be conducted at a public meeting of the board held in compliance with Act No. 267 of the Public Acts of 1976, being sections 15.261 to 15.275 of the Michigan Compiled Laws. Public notice of the time, date, and place of the meeting shall be given in the manner required by Act No. 267 of the Public Acts of 1976. The board shall elect a chairperson and other officers it considers necessary to perform its duties between meetings. A majority of the 7 voting members shall constitute a quorum. The board shall meet not less than once yearly on the call of the chairperson or by written request of not less than 3 members.

(2) The per diem compensation of the members of the board, other than the commissioner, and the schedule for reimbursement of expenses shall be established annually by the legislature.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 5, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976; 1978, No. 178, imd eff June 4, 1978.

§ 408.326. Rules; proposed legislation establishing fee schedule.

Sec. 6. (1) The board shall promulgate rules for the safe construction, installation, repair, use, operation, maintenance, and inspection of all ski areas and ski lifts as the board finds necessary for protection of the general public while using ski areas and ski lifts. The rules shall be reasonable and based upon generally accepted engineering standards, formulas, and practices.

(2) The board, with the advice of the commissioner, shall propose legislation to establish the fee schedule for permits, inspections, and plan review activities. The fees shall reflect the actual costs and expenses of the department for issuing permits and conducting inspections and plan reviews.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 6, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976; 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

Michigan Administrative Code references:

Michigan Administrative Code R 408.61-408.97

Michigan Digest references:

Negligence § 30

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 13

CASE NOTES

The Ski Area Safety Act (SASA) immunized a ski area operator from liability for the death of a minor skier resulting from the decedent’s collision with a tension pole that supported part of the apparatus for a rope tow where (1) the ski area operator did not violate any provision of the SASA and the SASA does not provide for the adoption of safety standards by outside agencies, (2) the injury came within the immunity provisions of the SASA because the tension pole was a “component” of a “ski lift tower,” (3) the SASA does not distinguish between adult and minor skiers, and (4) the safety inspector who inspected the rope tow and its components pursuant to the SASA had a duty to the public at large, but did not owe a duty to the decedent. McGoldrick v Holiday Amusements, Inc. (2000) 242 Mich App 286, 618 NW2d 98, app dismd (2001, Mich) 622 NW2d 790 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210).

§ 408.326a. Duties of ski area operator.

Sec. 6a. Each ski area operator shall, with respect to operation of a ski area, do all of the following:

(a) Equip each snow-grooming vehicle and any other authorized vehicle, except a snowmobile, with a flashing or rotating yellow light conspicuously located on the vehicle, and operate the flashing or rotating yellow light while the vehicle is moving on, or in the vicinity of, a ski run. A snowmobile operated in a ski area shall be operated with at least 1 operating white light located on the front of the snowmobile.

(b) Mark with a visible sign or other warning device the location of any hydrant or similar fixture or equipment used in snow-making operations located on a ski run, as prescribed by rules promulgated under section 20(3).

(c) Mark the top of or entrance to each ski run, slope, and trail to be used by skiers for the purpose of skiing, with an appropriate symbol indicating the relative degree of difficulty of the run, slope, or trail, using a symbols code prescribed by rules promulgated under section 20(3).

(d) Mark the top of or entrance to each ski run, slope, and trail which is closed to skiing, with an appropriate symbol indicating that the run, slope, or trail is closed, as prescribed by rules promulgated under section 20(3).

(e) Maintain 1 or more trail boards at prominent locations in each ski area displaying that area’s network of ski runs, slopes, and trails and the relative degree of difficulty of each ski run, slope, and trail, using the symbols code required under subdivision (c) and containing a key to that code, and indicating which runs, slopes, and trails are open or closed to skiing.

(f) Place or cause to be placed, if snow-grooming or snow-making operations are being performed on a ski run, slope, or trail while the run, slope, or trail is open to the public, a conspicuous notice at or near the top of or entrance to the run, slope, or trail indicating that those operations are being performed.

(g) Post the duties of skiers and passengers as prescribed in sections 21 and 22 and the duties, obligations, and liabilities of operators as prescribed in this section in and around the ski area in conspicuous places open to the public.

(h) Maintain the stability and legibility of all required signs, symbols, and posted notices.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 6a, as added by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

Statutory references:

Sections 20, 21, and 22, above referred to, are §§ 408.340, 408.341, and 408.342.

Michigan Administrative Code references:

Michigan Administrative Code R 408.61-408.97

Michigan Digest references:

Exhibitions and Amusements §§ 7, 11

Negligence § 11

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 44

CASE NOTES

The Ski Area Safety Act requires a ski area operator to mark as closed those areas of the ski area that normally are open to skiing but that are, at the moment, closed; the operator does not have an obligation to mark as closed every means by which a skier can ski down a hill, including those means that are never or rarely designated as open for skiing. Barr v Mt. Brighton (1996) 215 Mich App 512, 546 NW2d 273, app den (1997) 454 Mich 910, 562 NW2d 779, reconsideration den (1997, Mich) 568 NW2d 671 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

§ 408.327. Promulgation of rules.

Sec. 7. The rules shall be promulgated pursuant to Act No. 306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being sections 24.201 to 24.315 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 7, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1976, No. 364, imd eff December 23, 1976.

NOTES:

Michigan Administrative Code references:

Michigan Administrative Code R 408.61-408.97

§ 408.328. Commissioner of labor; administration of act.

Sec. 8. The commissioner, subject to the limitations herein contained and the rules and regulations of the board, shall administer and enforce the provisions of this act.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 8, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.329. Ski lifts; permits requirement, inspection.

Sec. 9. No person shall operate a ski lift without a permit issued by the commissioner. On or before October 1 of each year an operator shall apply for a permit to the commissioner on a form furnished by the commissioner and containing such information as the board may require. All ski lifts shall be inspected before they are originally put into operation for the public’s use and thereafter at least once every 12 months, unless permitted to operate on a temporary permit.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 9, imd eff June 7, 1962.

NOTES:

Cross References:

Temporary permits, § 408.330.

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 23

§ 408.330. Ski lifts; temporary permits.

Sec. 10. The commissioner may issue a temporary permit for 30 calendar days to an operator, who has previously been operating in this state on a regular or annual basis, to continue operation. An inspection of his ski lifts shall be made within 30 days from the issuance of the permit. A ski lift inspected and covered by a permit in the preceding year may operate on a temporary basis until further inspected.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 10, imd eff June 7, 1962.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 23

§ 408.331. Ski lifts; permits, issuance, expiration.

Sec. 11. If upon inspection a ski lift is found to comply with the rules and regulations of the board, the commissioner shall issue a permit to operate. A permit shall expire on September 30 of the following year.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 11, imd eff June 7, 1962.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 23

§ 408.332. Ski lifts; erection, alteration, moving, plans and specifications; rope tows.

Sec. 12. Before a new ski lift is erected, or before a presently existing ski lift is moved to a different location, or whenever any additions or alterations are made which change the structure, mechanism, classification or capacity of any ski lift, the operator shall file with the department detailed, duplicate plans and specifications of such work. The plans and specifications shall be prepared by a qualified tramway firm or by an engineer, licensed in this state as a professional engineer, in accordance with Act No. 240 of the Public Acts of 1937, as amended, being sections 338.551 to 338.576 of the Compiled Laws of 1948. Upon approval of plans and specifications, the department shall issue a permit for such work. All rope tows shall be excluded from this section.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 12, imd eff June 7, 1962.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 23

§ 408.333. Ski lifts; order to cease operation.

Sec. 13. The commissioner or board may order, in writing, a temporary cessation of operation of a ski lift if it has been determined after inspection to be hazardous or unsafe. Operation shall not resume until such conditions are corrected to the satisfaction of the commissioner or board.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 13, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.334. Ski lifts; existing installations.

Sec. 14. This act shall not be construed to prevent the use of any existing installation, upon inspection found to be in a safe condition and to conform with the rules and regulations of the board.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 14, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.335. Ski lifts; rules and regulations, modification for hardship, record.

Sec. 15. If there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships for an operator to comply with the rules and regulations under this act, the commissioner, with the approval of the board, may modify the application of such rules or regulations to such a situation, if the spirit of the provisions shall be observed and the public safety is secured. Any operator may make a written request to the board stating his grounds and applying for such modification. Any authorization by the commissioner and the board shall be in writing and shall describe the conditions under which the modification is permitted. A record of all modifications shall be kept in the department and open to the public.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 15, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.336. Ski lifts; fees.

Sec. 16. (a) An application for a permit shall be accompanied by fees of:

$25.00 for an annual permit; or

$2.00 for each rope tow,

$5.00 for each T bar, J bar or platter pull,

$15.00 for each chair lift or skimobile, and

$30.00 for each aerial tramway,

if greater than the $25.00 annual permit fee.

(b) Inspection fees shall be as follows:

$8.00 for each rope tow,

$20.00 for each T bar, J bar or platter pull,

$60.00 for each chair lift or skimobile,

$120.00 for each aerial tramway, and

$50.00 for reinspections or special inspections at an operator’s request.

Any operator may employ any person, partnership or corporation, approved by the commissioner and board, to make the inspections. Inspections made by any person, partnership, or corporation, that may be employed by an operator, shall be on forms furnished or approved by the department. Inspection fees shall be waived when the annual permit application is accompanied by such an inspection report.

(c) Fees for review and approval of plans prior to construction shall be $200.00 for a chair lift, T bar, J bar, platter pull or tramway.

Fees for review and approval of plans for modification and alteration of an existing lift shall be $50.00.

(d) Fees shall be paid to the department, which shall give receipts therefor.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 16, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1964, No. 130, eff August 28, 1964.

§ 408.337. Chief inspector; inspection service.

Sec. 17. The department, with the advice and consent of the board, shall employ or retain a person qualified in engineering and training who shall be designated chief inspector. The chief inspector and such additional inspectors and other employees as may be necessary to properly administer this act may be hired on a temporary basis or borrowed from other state departments, or the department may contract with persons, partnerships or corporations for such inspection services on an independent basis.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 17, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.338. Revenue; disbursements.

Sec. 18. All fees for permits or inspections, or any other income received under this act, shall be paid into the general fund. All salaries and other moneys expended under this act shall be paid by the state treasurer from a fund appropriated by the legislature.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 18, imd eff June 7, 1962.

§ 408.339. Notice of public hearing.

Sec. 19. (1) In addition to the notice prescribed in section 5(1) notice of a public hearing held under this act shall be published not less than once and not less than 10 days before the hearing, in newspapers of general circulation prescribed by the commissioner.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 19, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1978, No. 178, imd eff June 4, 1978.

NOTES:

Editor’s notes:

There is no subsection (2).

Statutory references:

Section 5, above referred to, is § 408.325.

§ 408.340. Violations; penalties; rules.

Sec. 20. (1) Except for sections 21 to 24, and except as provided in subsection (2), a person who violates this act, or a rule or order promulgated or issued pursuant to this act, or a person who interferes with, impedes, or obstructs the commissioner, an authorized representative of the commissioner, or a board member in the performance of duties prescribed by this act, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each day a violation or other act continues shall be considered a separate offense.

(2) A member of the board who intentionally violates section 5(1) shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in Act No. 267 of the Public Acts of 1976, as amended.

(3) Not more than 270 days after the effective date of this subsection, the board shall, pursuant to section 7, promulgate rules consistent with this act to implement this act, except for subsection (2) and sections 21, 22, 23, and 24, not to exceed $50.00 for each violation.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 20, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1978, No. 178, imd eff June 4, 1978; 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

Statutory references:

Sections 5, 7, 21, 22, 23, and 24, above referred to, are §§ 408.325, 408.327, 408.341, 408.342, 408.343, and 408.344.

Cross References:

Punishment for misdemeanor, § 750.504.

§ 408.341. Skier conduct; prohibited conduct in ski area.

Sec. 21. (1) A skier shall conduct himself or herself within the limits of his or her individual ability and shall not act or ski in a manner that may contribute to his or her injury or to the injury of any other person. A skier shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate a track, trail, or slope.

(2) While in a ski area, a skier or passenger shall not do any of the following:

(a) Board a ski lift which has been designated as closed.

(b) Wilfully board or embark upon, or disembark from, a ski lift, except at an area designated for those purposes.

(c) Intentionally drop, throw, or expel an object from a ski lift while riding on the lift.

(d) Do any act which interferes with the running or operation of a ski lift, such as, but not limited to: swinging or bouncing on an aerial lift, attempting to contact supporting towers, machinery, guides, or guards while riding on a ski lift; or skiing out of the designated ski track on a surface lift or tow.

(e) Use a ski lift, unless the skier or passenger has the ability to use the lift safely without instruction on use of the lift by a ski area owner, manager, operator, or employee, or unless the skier or passenger requests and receives instruction before entering the boarding area of the ski lift.

(f) Use a ski lift or ski without properly engaging and using ski restraining devices, brakes, or restraining straps.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 21, imd eff June 7, 1962; amended by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 43

Research references:

45 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 115, Liability of Ski Area Operator for Skiing Accident

Legal periodicals:

Slank, The Evolving Tort Law of Participant Sports, 75 Mich B J 238 (1995).

§ 408.342. Duties of skier in ski area; acceptance of dangers.

Sec. 22. (1) While in a ski area, each skier shall do all of the following:

(a) Maintain reasonable control of his or her speed and course at all times.

(b) Stay clear of snow-grooming vehicles and equipment in the ski area.

(c) Heed all posted signs and warnings.

(d) Ski only in ski areas which are marked as open for skiing on the trail board described in section 6a(e).

(2) Each person who participates in the sport of skiing accepts the dangers that inhere in that sport insofar as the dangers are obvious and necessary. Those dangers include, but are not limited to, injuries which can result from variations in terrain; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; bare spots; rocks, trees, and other forms of natural growth or debris; collisions with ski lift towers and their components, with other skiers, or with properly marked or plainly visible snow-making or snow-grooming equipment.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 22, as added by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

Statutory references:

Section 6a, above referred to, is § 408.326a.

Michigan Digest references:

Exhibitions and Amusements § 7

Negligence §§ 6, 24, 30

Statutes § 94

Torts § 6

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 43

Michigan Law and Practice, Statutes § 93

Michigan Law and Practice, Torts § 85

ALR notes:

Skier’s liability for injuries to or death of another person, 75 ALR5th 583.

Research references:

45 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 115, Liability of Ski Area Operator for Skiing Accident

46 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 1, Liability of Skier for Collision with Another Skier

Legal periodicals:

Braden, Constitutional Tort Liability, 76 Mich Bar J 680 (1997).

Slank, The Evolving Tort Law of Participant Sports, 75 Mich B J 238 (1995).

CASE NOTES

Because under MCL § 408.342(2) of Michigan’s Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), MCL §§ 408.321 et seq., placement of a timing shack was a danger assumed by a skier as the skier engaged in ski racing at a ski resort, the skier’s personal injury action against the resort was barred. Anderson v Pine Knob Ski Resort, Inc. (2003) 469 Mich 20, 664 NW2d 756.

The Ski Area Safety Act (SASA) immunized a ski area operator from liability for the death of a minor skier resulting from the decedent’s collision with a tension pole that supported part of the apparatus for a rope tow where (1) the ski area operator did not violate any provision of the SASA and the SASA does not provide for the adoption of safety standards by outside agencies, (2) the injury came within the immunity provisions of the SASA because the tension pole was a “component” of a “ski lift tower,” (3) the SASA does not distinguish between adult and minor skiers, and (4) the safety inspector who inspected the rope tow and its components pursuant to the SASA had a duty to the public at large, but did not owe a duty to the decedent. McGoldrick v Holiday Amusements, Inc. (2000) 242 Mich App 286, 618 NW2d 98, app dismd (2001, Mich) 622 NW2d 790 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210).

The Ski Area Safety Act precluded a negligence action brought against a ski lift operator brought by a plaintiff who was injured in a ski chairlift mishap, because the plaintiff’s injuries occurred in a collision with a ski lift tower or its component within the meaning of the act. Kent v Alpine Valley Ski Area, Inc. (2000) 240 Mich App 731, 613 NW2d 383, app den (2001) 463 Mich 981, 624 NW2d 187 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

In enacting the Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), the legislature has determined that collisions with other skiers, without regard to the area in which the collision occurs, is a necessary and obvious danger of skiing for which the ski area operator is not liable; a ski operator was immune from liability under SASA from injuries a skier sustained when she attempted to avoid a fallen skier after alighting from the chair lift. McCormick v Go Forward Operating Ltd. P’ship. (1999) 235 Mich App 551, 599 NW2d 513 (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

A ski hill operator has no duty under common law or under the Ski Area Safety Act to procure adequate information regarding the identity of a skier involved in an accident. Hakari v Ski Brule Inc. (1998) 230 Mich App 352, 584 NW2d 345.

The Ski Area Safety Act provides for the assumption of risk by skiers of “obvious and necessary” dangers; injury resulting from trees is an obvious and necessary danger of skiing, a skier accepts the risk of injury both from a single tree or from a cluster of trees situated in a single area. Barr v Mt. Brighton (1996) 215 Mich App 512, 546 NW2d 273, app den (1997) 454 Mich 910, 562 NW2d 779, reconsideration den (1997, Mich) 568 NW2d 671 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

The Ski Area Safety Act does not condition application of the act’s clause regarding assumption of risk by skiers on a ski area operator’s compliance with other sections of the act; a skier, by the mere act of skiing, accepts the risk of being injured in a manner described by the act. Barr v Mt. Brighton (1996) 215 Mich App 512, 546 NW2d 273, app den (1997) 454 Mich 910, 562 NW2d 779, reconsideration den (1997, Mich) 568 NW2d 671 and (criticized in Rusnak v Walker (2006) 271 Mich App 567, 723 NW2d 210) and special panel convened (2006) 271 Mich App 801, 723 NW2d 210.

The Ski Area Safety Act places the burden of certain risks or dangers on skiers rather than ski resort operators; obvious and necessary risks assumed by a skier under this act involve those things resulting from natural phenomena such as snow conditions or the terrain itself, natural obstacles such as trees and rocks, and types of equipment that are inherent parts of a ski area such as lift towers and other such structures or snowmaking or grooming equipment when properly marked. Schmitz v Cannonsburg Skiing Corp. (1988) 170 Mich App 692, 428 NW2d 742, app den (1989) 432 Mich 856.

The Ski Area Safety Act’s delineation of ski operators’ and skiers’ duties and responsibilities, along with skiers’ assumption of certain expressed inherent dangers, is reasonably related to obtaining the legitimate state objectives of promoting safety, reducing litigation and stabilizing the economic conditions in the ski resort industry; the safety and economic rationales of the act are legitimate state objectives which are accomplished through a reasonable scheme rationally related to the stated legislative purpose; the act does not violate equal protection or due process guarantees. Grieb v Alpine Valley Ski Area, Inc. (1986) 155 Mich App 484, 400 NW2d 653, app den (1987) 428 Mich 864.

The Ski Area Safety Act provides that an injury resulting from a collision with another skier is an obvious and necessary danger assumed by skiers. Grieb v Alpine Valley Ski Area, Inc. (1986) 155 Mich App 484, 400 NW2d 653, app den (1987) 428 Mich 864.

Snowboard skiers are governed by the assumption of risk provisions of the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act. Snowboard skiing exposes the participant to the same risks as traditional alpine skiing, and, in 1995, the Michigan legislature amended the statute to clarify, not alter, the responsibility and liability of persons using snowboards and devices for the handicapped, as well as the liability of ski operators for accidents involving such persons. Shukoski v Indianhead Mt. Resort (1999, CA6 Mich) 166 F3d 848, 1999 FED App 39P.

Under Michigan law, the plaintiff’s accident, however tragic, was the result of the inherent risks both of snowboard skiing and of the terrain which he attempted to navigate. Therefore, it follows that, where plaintiff had knowingly assumed the risks of his actions, the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act would preempt any tort claims he might have attempted to file against the defendant. Shukoski v Indianhead Mt. Resort (1999, CA6 Mich) 166 F3d 848, 1999 FED App 39P.

§ 408.343. Accidents causing injury; notice; identification; misdemeanor; penalty.

Sec. 23. (1) A skier involved in an accident causing an injury to another person shall to the extent that he or she is reasonably able to do so immediately notify the ski patrol or the operator, or law enforcement or emergency personnel, and shall clearly identify himself or herself. A skier who wilfully fails to give identification after involvement in a skiing accident with another person, or a skier who is reasonably able to do so who fails to notify the proper authorities or to obtain assistance when the skier knows that another person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 days, or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both.

(2) A skier involved in an accident causing an injury to himself or herself, but not to another person, shall immediately notify the ski patrol or the operator, or law enforcement or emergency personnel, if the accident created a known hazardous condition in the area where the accident occurred.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 23, as added by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

Michigan Digest references:

Negligence § 13.10

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 44

Research references:

45 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 115, Liability of Ski Area Operator for Skiing Accident

§ 408.344. Violation of act; liability.

Sec. 24. A skier or passenger who violates this act, or an operator who violates this act shall be liable for that portion of the loss or damage resulting from that violation.

HISTORY: Act 199, 1962, p 441; imd eff June 7, 1962.

Pub Acts 1962, No. 199, § 24, as added by Pub Acts 1981, No. 86, imd eff July 2, 1981.

NOTES:

LEXIS Publishing Michigan analytical references:

Michigan Law and Practice, Amusements § 43

Research references:

45 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 115, Liability of Ski Area Operator for Skiing Accident

46 Am Jur Proof of Facts 3d 1, Liability of Skier for Collision with Another Skier


Connecticut Ski Safety Act

Connecticut Skier Safety Act

Sec. 29-201. (Formerly Sec. 19-418a). Definitions. 1
Sec. 29-202. (Formerly Sec. 19-418b). Requirements for passenger tramways in use. 3
Sec. 29-203. (Formerly Sec. 19-418c). Regulations, standards. 4
Sec. 29-204. (Formerly Sec. 19-418d). Plans and specifications, submission, fee. Approval. Final inspection. 4
Sec. 29-205. (Formerly Sec. 19-418e). Registration of each passenger tramway required. 5
Sec. 29-206. (Formerly Sec. 19-418f). Operating certificate, inspections, fees. 5
Sec. 29-207. (Formerly Sec. 19-418g). Order to discontinue operation. Permission for resumption. 6
Sec. 29-208. (Formerly Sec. 19-418h). Complaints. 6
Sec. 29-209. (Formerly Sec. 19-418i). Judicial review of commissioner’s decisions. 7
Sec. 29-210. (Formerly Sec. 19-418j). Penalties. 7
Sec. 29-211. (Formerly Sec. 19-418k). Duties of operator of passenger tramway or ski area. 8
Sec. 29-212. (Formerly Sec. 19-418l). Assumption of risk of injury caused by hazards inherent in the sport of skiing. 10
Sec. 29-213. (Formerly Sec. 19-418m). Prohibited conduct by skiers. 18
Sec. 29-214. (Formerly Sec. 19-418n). Special defense to civil action against operator by skier. (Repealed) 19
Secs. 29-215 to 29-220. [Reserved] 19

Title 29 Public Safety and State Police
Chapter 538a Passenger Tramways
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-201 (2014)

Sec. 29-201. (Formerly Sec. 19-418a). Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) “Passenger tramway” means a device used to transport passengers in cars on tracks or suspended in the air, or uphill on skis, by the use of steel cables, chains or belts or by ropes, and usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans, but shall not include any such device not available for public use and not subject to a fee for use of same. The term “passenger tramway” includes the following: (A) Two-car aerial passenger tramways, which are devices used to transport passengers in two 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; (B) multicar aerial passenger tramways, which are devices 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; (C) skimobiles, which are devices in which a passenger car running on steel or wooden tracks is attached to and pulled by a steel cable, or similar devices; (D) chair lifts, which are devices which carry passengers 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; (E) J bars, T bars, platter pulls and similar types of devices, which are means of transportation that pull skiers riding on skis by means of an attachment to a main overhead cable supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans; and (F) rope tows, which are devices that pull the skiers riding on skis as the skier grasps the rope manually, or similar devices.
(2) “Operator” means a person who owns or controls the operation of a passenger tramway or ski area. An operator of a passenger tramway shall be deemed not to be operating a common carrier.
(3) “Department” means the Department of Administrative Services.
(4) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Administrative Services.
(5) “Skier” includes the following: (A) A person utilizing the ski area under control of the operator for the purpose of skiing, whether or not he or she is utilizing a passenger tramway; and (B) a person utilizing the passenger tramway whether or not such person is a skier, including riders on a passenger tramway operating during the nonskiing season.
(6) “Restraint device” means a restraining bar on a passenger tramway, as defined in subparagraph (D) of subdivision (1) of this section, that does not yield to forward pressure by a skier.

Sec. 19-418c transferred to Sec. 29-203 in 1983.
Sec. 29-204. (Formerly Sec. 19-418d). Plans and specifications, submission, fee. Approval. Final inspection.
No new passenger tramway shall be erected or installed and no passenger tramway shall be relocated or altered until detailed plans and specifications of the proposed construction or other work have been submitted in duplicate to the department for approval. A fee of two hundred dollars payable to the Department of Administrative Services shall accompany each such proposal. Notice that such plans are approved or disapproved shall be given within a reasonable time, and final inspection of the passenger tramway, when installed, relocated or altered, shall be made before final approval for operating is given by the department.

Sec. 29-206. (Formerly Sec. 19-418f). Operating certificate, inspections, fees.
The department shall enforce the regulations adopted pursuant to section 29-203, and shall inspect the construction, operation and maintenance of passenger tramways to determine whether such regulations have been complied with by the operators. Each passenger tramway shall be thoroughly inspected by a qualified inspector approved by the department at least once every twelve months. More frequent inspections of any passenger tramway may be made if the condition thereof indicates that additional inspections are necessary or desirable. As soon as the department inspects and approves any passenger tramway as being fit for operation, it shall issue to the operator, upon receipt of a fee of two hundred dollars, a certificate of operation with such conditions and limitations as the commissioner shall prescribe. Such certificate shall be valid for twelve months and shall be renewed yearly, if the department approves the passenger tramway, upon payment of a renewal fee of one hundred dollars. No passenger tramway may be operated without such operating certificate.

Sec. 29-207. (Formerly Sec. 19-418g). Order to discontinue operation. Permission for resumption.
If any passenger tramway is found to be, in the judgment of the department, dangerous to public safety or is being operated without the operating certificate required in section 29-204 or is being operated in violation of any regulation adopted under this chapter, the department may require the operator of such passenger tramway to discontinue its operation forthwith. When a passenger tramway has been placed out of service pursuant to this section, the operator of such tramway shall not again operate such tramway until repairs have been made, an operating certificate has been obtained, or the violation is discontinued and permission given by the commissioner or his authorized agent to resume operation of such tramway.

Sec. 29-208. (Formerly Sec. 19-418h). Complaints.
Any person may make a written complaint to the commissioner setting forth any alleged violation of this chapter or of any regulation promulgated under the authority of this chapter, or setting forth any condition in a passenger tramway which is alleged to endanger the safety of the public.

Sec. 29-209. (Formerly Sec. 19-418i). Judicial review of commissioner’s decisions.
Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the commissioner or department under the provisions of this chapter may appeal therefrom in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183, except venue for such appeal shall be in the judicial district wherein such passenger tramway is situated.

Sec. 29-210. (Formerly Sec. 19-418j). Penalties.
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or any of the regulations adopted hereunder shall, for the first offense, be fined not less than twenty-five dollars or more than one hundred dollars, and for each subsequent offense, shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor.

Sec. 29-211. (Formerly Sec. 19-418k). Duties of operator of passenger tramway or ski area.
In the operation of a passenger tramway or ski area, each operator shall have the obligation to perform certain duties including, but not limited to: (1) Conspicuously marking all trail maintenance vehicles and furnishing the vehicles with flashing or rotating lights which shall be operated whenever the vehicles are working or moving within the skiing area; (2) conspicuously marking the entrance to each trail or slope with a symbol, adopted or approved by the National Ski Areas Association, which identifies the relative degree of difficulty of such trail or slope or warns that such trail or slope is closed; (3) ensuring that any lift tower that is located on a trail or slope is padded or otherwise protected; (4) maintaining one or more trail boards, at prominent locations within the ski area, displaying such area’s network of ski trails and slopes, designating each trail or slope in the same manner as provided in subdivision (2) of this section and notifying each skier that the wearing of ski retention straps or other devices used to prevent runaway skis is required by section 29-213, as amended by this act; (5) in the event maintenance personnel or equipment are being employed on any trail or slope during the hours at which such trail or slope is open to the public, conspicuously posting notice thereof at the entrance to such trail or slope; (6) conspicuously marking trail or slope intersections; (7) ensuring that passenger tramways, as defined in subparagraph (D) of subdivision (1) of section 29-201, as amended by this act, are equipped with restraint devices; (8) at the entrance of a passenger tramway, as defined in subparagraph (D) of subdivision (1) of section 29-201, as amended by this act, conspicuously posting instructions regarding the proper use of a restraint device on such passenger tramway and notice that the use of a restraint device on such passenger tramway is required by section 29-213, as amended by this act; and (9) ensuring that any hydrant, snow-making equipment and pipes that are located within the borders of a designated slope, trail or area that is approved and open for skiing by the operator and regularly groomed as part of the operator’s normal maintenance activities are padded or marked by portable fencing or a similar device.

Sec. 29-212. (Formerly Sec. 19-418l). Assumption of risk of injury caused by hazards inherent in the sport of skiing.
(a) For the purposes of this section:
(1) “Skier” includes any person who is using a ski area for the purpose of skiing or who is on the skiable terrain of a ski area as a spectator or otherwise, but does not include (A) any person using a snow tube provided by a ski area operator, and (B) any person who is a spectator while in a designated spectator area during any event;
(2) “Skiing” means sliding downhill or jumping on snow or ice using skis, a snowboard, snow blades, a snowbike, a sit-ski or any other device that is controllable by its edges on snow or ice or is for the purpose of utilizing any skiable terrain, but does not include snow tubing operations provided by a ski area operator; and
(3) “Ski area operator” means a person who owns or controls the operation of a ski area and such person’s agents and employees.
(b) Each skier shall assume the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury to his or her person or property caused by the hazards inherent in the sport of skiing. Such hazards include, but are not limited to: (1) Variations in the terrain of the trail or slope which is marked in accordance with subdivision (2) of section 29-211, as amended by this act, or variations in surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions, except that no skier assumes the risk of variations which are caused by the ski area operator unless such variations are caused by snow making, snow grooming or rescue operations; (2) bare spots which do not require the closing of the trail or slope; (3) conspicuously placed or, if not so placed, conspicuously marked lift towers; (4) trees or other objects not within the confines of the trail or slope; (5) loading, unloading or otherwise using a passenger tramway without prior knowledge of proper loading and unloading procedures or without reading instructions concerning loading and unloading posted at the base of such passenger tramway or without asking for such instructions; and (6) collisions with any other person by any skier while skiing, except that collisions with on-duty employees of the ski area operator who are skiing and are within the scope of their employment at the time of the collision shall not be a hazard inherent in the sport of skiing.
(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply in any case in which it is determined that a claimant’s injury was not caused by a hazard inherent in the sport of skiing.

Sec. 29-213. (Formerly Sec. 19-418m). Prohibited conduct by skiers.
No skier shall: (1) Intentionally drop, throw or expel any object from a passenger tramway; (2) do any act which shall interfere with the running or operation of a passenger tramway; (3) use a passenger tramway without the permission of the operator; (4) place any object in the skiing area or on the uphill track of a passenger tramway which may cause a skier to fall; (5) cross the track of a J bar lift, T bar lift, platter pull or similar device or a rope tow, except at a designated location; (6) depart from the scene of a skiing accident when involved in the accident without leaving personal identification, including name and address, or before notifying the proper authorities and obtaining assistance when such skier knows that any other skier involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance; (7) fail to wear retention straps or other devices used to prevent runaway skis; or (8) fail to close the restraint device except when embarking and disembarking the passenger tramway, as defined in subparagraph (D) of subdivision (1) of section 29-201, as amended by this act.

Sec. 29-214. (Formerly Sec. 19-418n). Special defense to civil action against operator by skier. (Repealed)
Section 29-214 is repealed, effective October 1, 2005.


You have to be prepared way before trial, and you have to win at trial, because judges are given wide discretion in controlling your chances on appeal.

Salvini v. Ski Lifts, Inc., 2008 Wash. App. LEXIS 2506

This case significantly changed the ski industry.

This decision out of the Washington Appellate Court offers value in understanding some issues that occur at trial. It also offers an example of how much control a judge has in a trial and why a judge really can control the outcome of your trial if you are not prepared.

The plaintiff in this case was an experienced skier who had gone over the table-top  jump at issue before. There is conflicting testimony on how fast the plaintiff was skiing; however, he landed far down the hill beyond the landing zone. The injuries rendered him a quadriplegic. The case was taken to trial, and the jury found the plaintiff 55% liable and the ski area 45% liable. The jury awarded $30 million in damages, resulting in a $14 million-dollar  recovery for the plaintiff.

The plaintiff sued “alleging that it designed and built an unreasonably dangerous ski jump, and that it failed to close the jump or to warn of its dangers.” The defense argued that the risk was an inherent part of skiing, and the plaintiff was negligent and therefore, the cause of his injuries.

Summary of the case

Washington like all other states has comparative negligence. However, unlike the majority of the states, this is a pure comparative negligence state. That means the jury awards an amount and decides what percentage each party to the litigation is at fault. In the majority of states if the plaintiff is more than 50% or 51% at fault the plaintiff recovers nothing. This is not true in Washington. The percentage is applied to the damages, and the plaintiff receives that percentage of the damages. 45% of $30 million is about $14 million.

Washington has a Skier Safety Statute. However, it is very weak and does not define the risks of skiing. In this case, the statute provided very little benefit to the defendant.

The majority of the decision focuses on the jury instructions. Jury instructions are the actual written instructions the jury takes with them into the jury room that explain the law. The legal issues and definitions are each on a separate on a piece of paper that is numbered. By reading through the instructions in numerical order the jury is helped to decide the legal issues or more importantly decide how the facts apply to the law.

Some states have pre-printed jury instructions. Federal courts and several states the jury instructions are created by the parties and the judge. In both cases, the opposing attorneys and judge creates the final instructions that the jury will read.

The judge is given wide discretion in creating jury instructions and unless the jury instructions are plain wrong, they are rarely overturned. That was the case here. The defendant argued several issues with the jury instructions, and the appellate court found none of the issues were so great as to be wrong. The judge has vast discretion to determine the jury instructions.

“The court need not include specific language in a jury instruction, so long as the instructions as a whole correctly state the law.”

Washington Skier Safety Act does not have any definitions for terrain parks or jumps. Like many ski area acts, Washington’s has not been updated to keep up with the changes in the sport.

This left the defendant with a tough burden of proving the risks of jumping in a terrain park was an inherent risk of skiing.

Washington applies the landowner test to the duty owed to patrons at a ski area. Because the skier is there for the financial benefit of the ski area, the skier is a business invitee which the ski area owes “a duty to a skier to discover dangerous conditions through reasonable inspection, and repair that condition or warn the invitees, unless it is known or obvious.” The Appellate Court quoted from the Restatement of Torts to support its opinion, which places a very high burden upon a ski area.

An invitee is entitled to expect that the possessor will take reasonable care to ascertain the actual condition of the premises and, having discovered it, either to make it reasonably safe by repair or to give warning of the actual condition and the risk involved therein.

Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343, cmt. d (1965).

The defendant argued that a notice on a whiteboard was sufficient to warn of the dangers. However, the court found otherwise. The plaintiff’s experts also opined that there should have been an entrance to the jump so skiers could not get so much speed. That was supported by 15 incidents reports the plaintiff placed  into evidence of injuries from people landing beyond the jump landing zone. This was reduced from 66 the plaintiff had originally tried to have admitted.

If you keep paperwork showing a problem, you better also have paperwork showing what you did about the problem.

The ski area also argued they were not required to create a start point or place a sign there because the speed that a skier entered a jump was up to the skier.

The court, however, did make some statements from a skier’s perspective that seemed at odds with reality.

Lifts further contends that it had no duty to warn Salvini because he had used the jump before and was fully aware of its condition. This argument is not persuasive. Salvini’s previous use of the jump would not necessarily put him on notice that its design could increase the risk of severe injury from overshooting. Whether the jump’s deficiencies were “known and obvious” and whether Salvini should have anticipated the harm is a question of fact for the jury.

.. . . .

The trial court rejected most of the 66 incident reports offered by Salvini because it found that they were not sufficiently similar, and it admitted only “[t]hose accident reports documenting an injury occurring as a result of overshooting the jump in question, on either skis or snowboards (which go slower than skis.) … .” CP at 2635. If overshooting was a problem for slower moving snowboarders, it is reasonable to expect it to be a problem for skiers as well.

The first issue is that using a jump does not give you notice that the jump is dangerous seems to be at odds with reality. The issue that if you go over a jump and do not realize that it has increased dangers over skiing on flat terrain does not seem logical. Anytime you are going faster than you feel comfortable or above the ground without holding on to something seems to indicate an increase in risk that should be obvious to everyone.

At the same time, after you have done something dangerous enough times, enough being a different number for everyone, you become accustomed to the risk. However, being able to deal with the risk does not mean that you have totally lost the ability to understand or appreciate the risk.

The second is the court’s statement about snowboards going slower than skiers which does not seem to be supported in the opinion and could be argued in a lot of cases is as irrelevant. It is the skill of the person wearing the board or skis that have more of an influence on the speed rather than the implement itself.

This decision is a nasty one for ski areas. $14 million is a lot of money, especially for a small area and a small insurance pool

So Now What?

You cannot create risks just because every other competitor is doing it. If you state does not have the laws, or you do not have either the skills and knowledge or the defenses to deal with the risk you are over your head.

Find out what your competitors are doing. How they are approaching the risk. In this case, what fencing they are using, how they are building their features and who they are allowing in the features.

There were some very interesting things that occurred with this trial; however, that is the system we have in the US, and sometimes you get screwed.

Plaintiff: Kenneth Salvini

Defendant: Ski Lifts, Inc. (dba Snoqualmie Summit Ski Area)

Plaintiff Claims: Negligence

Defendant Defenses: inherent risks and signage

Holding: for the plaintiff

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

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