Vu v. Ski Liberty Operating Corp., et. al., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49013

Vu v. Ski Liberty Operating Corp., et. al., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49013

Quan Vu and May Siew, Plaintiffs, v. Ski Liberty Operating Corp., et. al., Defendants,

1:16-cv-2170

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49013

March 26, 2018, Decided

CORE TERMS: skiing, trail, edge, downhill, ski, skier, snowboarder, sport, inherent risk, slope, collision, rocks, summary judgment, drop-off, att, daughter, skied, snow, pile, foot, lift ticket, knee-jerk, genuine, resort, Skier’s Responsibility Act, matter of law, specific risk, experienced, elevation, veering

COUNSEL: [*1] For Quan VU, May Siew, Plaintiffs: D. Aaron Rihn, Mark D. Troyan, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA USA.

For Ski Liberty Operating Corp. doing business as Liberty Mountain Resort, Defendant: Anthony W. Hinkle, Snow Time, Inc., Cipriani & Werner, P.C., Philadelphia, PA, USA.

For Snow Time, Inc., Ski Liberty Operating Corp., Counterclaim Plaintiffs: Anthony W. Hinkle, Cipriani & Werner, P.C., Philadelphia, PA USA.

For Snow Time, Inc., Ski Liberty Operating Corp., Counterclaim Defendants: Anthony W. Hinkle, Cipriani & Werner, P.C., Philadelphia, PA USA.

JUDGES: Hon. John E. Jones III, United States District Judge.

OPINION BY: John E. Jones III

OPINION

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiffs are Quan Vu and his wife, May Siew. (“Plaintiffs”). Defendants are Ski Liberty Operating Corp. and Snow Time, Inc., operating as Liberty Mountain Resort. (“Defendants”). This action arises out of a skiing accident at Liberty Mountain that left Mr. Vu severely injured. The complaint brings one count of negligence on behalf of Mr. Vu and one count of loss of consortium on behalf of Mrs. Siew, both alleging that the accident was caused by the Defendants’ negligence in maintaining the ski slope and failing to warn Mr. Vu of [*2] the slope’s hazardous condition. (Doc. 1). Presently pending before the Court is the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. (the “Motion”) (Doc. 36). The Motion has been fully briefed and is therefore ripe for our review. (Docs. 38, 42, 43). For the reasons that follow, the Motion shall be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 23, 2015, Mr. Vu was downhill skiing with his daughter at Liberty Mountain. (Doc. 41, ¶ 24). Mr. Vu was following his daughter from behind as they skied down the Lover Heavenly trail, a blue square intermediate hill, when he had his accident. (Id. at ¶¶ 24-25). Due to his injuries, Mr. Vu does not recall much detail about his accident. (Doc. 37, ¶ 11). Mr. Vu testified: “I believe there was a snowboarder involved and I — the snowboarder got — either cut me off or got awfully close and I had a knee-jerk reaction to veer because the last thing I want to do is ram into somebody. So I — my knee-jerk reaction is to veer.” (Doc. 37, att. 1, pp. 65-66). However, Mr. Vu could not recall what he saw that caused him to veer, whether he veered to the right or to the left, or whether the snowboarder was above or below him on the hill. (Id. at pp. 65-66). The last thing that Mr. Vu remembered [*3] was skiing with his daughter. (Id. at p. 66).

Mr. Vu’s daughter testified: “I saw someone get really close to him and he was trying to avoid them and it was either ramming into him, the snowboarder, or person who was trying to get really close to him, or veering off path.” (Doc. 42, att. 2, p. 8). “He — there was someone trying to kind of get really close to him. And he didn’t want to ram into him. So he — I don’t really understand — know what happened. But he tried to avoid it. And there was like a big ditch or something there. And he tried to stop and tried to avoid the person who was trying to cut him off.” (Id.). “My dad was — the snowboarder was — my dad was kind of like the ham in the middle of a sandwich. Between the end of the trail, the edge of the trail and the snowboarder.” (Id. at p. 9). “I just felt that the snowboarder was getting quite close to my dad and I didn’t want a collision to happen or the snowboarder to ram into my dad.” (Id. at p. 10).

Ultimately, whether he did so intentionally or not, Mr. Vu skied off of the edge of the trail and suffered catastrophic injuries. There was a drop-off at the edge of the ski trail of about three to four feet. (Doc. 41, ¶ 32). Below that drop-off was a large pile [*4] of rocks. (Id. at ¶ 31). Mr. Vu skied off of the edge of the trail, off of the embankment, and landed on the pile of rocks. (Doc. 37, ¶ 11).

Mr. Vu was an experienced skier at the time of his accident. He had skied for over twenty years and was capable of skiing black diamond slopes. (Id. at P 6). Mr. Vu testified that he was familiar with the Skier’s Responsibility Code and understood that he was responsible for skiing in control and in such a manner that he could stop or avoid other skiers. (Id.). Mr. Vu also testified that he understood that skiing is a dangerous sport and that he could get hurt if he skied out of control or if he fell. (Id.).

On the day of his accident, Mr. Vu’s wife purchased his Liberty Mountain Resort Lift Ticket. (Id. at ¶ 18). The back of the lift ticket reads as follows:

PLEASE READ

Acceptance of this ticket constitutes a contract. The conditions of the contract are stated on this ticket & will prevent or restrict your ability to sue Liberty Mountain Resort. If you do not agree with these conditions, then do not use the facility. Snowsports in their various forms, including the use of lifts, are dangerous sports with inherent and other risks. These risks include but are [*5] not limited to: variations in snow, steepness & terrain, ice & icy conditions, moguls, rocks, trees & other forms of forest growth or debris (above or below the surface), bare spots, lift towers, utility lines & poles, fencing or lack of fencing, snowmaking & snowgrooming equipment & component parts, on-snow vehicles & other forms of natural or man-made obstacles, and terrain features on or off designated trails as well as collisions with equipment, obstacles or other snowsport participants. Trail conditions vary constantly because of weather changes and use. All the inherent and other risks involved present the risk of permanent catastrophic injury or death. In consideration of using Liberty’s facilities, the purchaser or user of this ticket agrees to accept the risks of snowsports and understands and agrees that they are hazardous and further agrees NOT TO SUE Ski Liberty Operating Corp., its owners or employees if injured while using the facilities regardless of any negligence, including gross negligence, on the part of the resort, and/or its employees or agents. The purchaser or user of this ticket voluntarily assumes the risk of injury while participating in the sport, and agrees [*6] to report all injuries before leaving the resort . . .

(Doc. 37, Ex. D) (emphasis in original). Though Mr. Vu was uncertain if he read the language on the lift ticket on the day of his accident, he testified that he had read it at some point prior to his accident. (Doc. 37, ¶ 20). At his deposition, Mr. Vu was asked to read portions of the lift ticket and he had trouble doing so because the font was too small. (Doc. 37, att. 1, p. 70).

Mr. Vu and his wife initiated this action with the filing of a complaint on October 27, 2016. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs allege that Defendants were negligent in the design, construction, and maintenance of the ski slope, failure to warn Mr. Vu of the dangerous condition, failure to construct a barrier to stop skiers from going over the edge into the pile of rocks, failure to inspect the scope and detect the defective condition, and failure to repair that condition. Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment on January 31, 2018. (Doc. 36).

I II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate if the moving party establishes “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A dispute [*7] is “genuine” only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a fact is “material” only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. See Sovereign Bank v. BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc., 533 F.3d 162, 172 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A court should view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom, and should not evaluate credibility or weigh the evidence. See Guidotti v. Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, L.L.C., 716 F.3d 764, 772 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)).

Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact, and upon satisfaction of that burden, the non-movant must go beyond the pleadings, pointing to particular facts that evidence a genuine dispute for trial. See id. at 773 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). In advancing their positions, the parties must support their factual assertions by citing to specific parts of the record or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” FED. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

A court should not grant summary judgment when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a factfinder could draw from them. See Reedy v. Evanson, 615 F.3d 197, 210 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982)). Still, “the [*8] mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment.” Layshock ex rel. Layshock v. Hermitage Sch. Dist., 650 F.3d 205, 211 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48) (internal quotation marks omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendants move for summary judgment on two legal bases. First, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claims are barred as a matter of law because Mr. Vu’s injuries were caused by an inherent risk of skiing. Second, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the exculpatory release language contained on the Liberty Mountain lift ticket. Because we find that Mr. Vu’s injuries arose out of risks inherent to the sport of downhill skiing, we hold that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law without even considering the exculpatory release language of the lift ticket.

The material facts surrounding Mr. Vu’s accident are not in dispute. Though Mr. Vu and his daughter are unclear on the specifics, it is undisputed that Mr. Vu ended up skiing off of the trail, over a drop-off, and into a pile of rocks. (Doc. 37, ¶ 11). Mr. Vu testified that a snowboarder was getting too close to him and his “knee-jerk” reaction was to veer to avoid a collision, causing him [*9] to ski off of the trail and over the embankment. (Doc. 37, att. 1, pp. 65-66). Mr. Vu’s daughter also testified that her father’s accident occurred when he tried to avoid a collision with a snowboarder. (Doc. 42, att. 2, p. 8). While Defendants argumentatively refer to this person as the “phantom snowboarder” and question the credibility of the testimony, for purposes of this Motion we can take Plaintiffs’ facts as true and assume that Mr. Vu skied off of the trail, either intentionally or as a result of a knee-jerk reaction, to avoid colliding with a snowboarder. Even so, summary judgment must be granted in favor of the Defendants because Mr. Vu’s accident occurred as a result of inherent risks of downhill skiing.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly expressly preserved the doctrine of assumption of the risk as a defense in downhill skiing cases in the Skier’s Responsibility Act, recognizing that “there are inherent risks in the sport of downhill skiing.” 42 Pa. C.S. § 7102(c). As the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania explained, “[t]he assumption of the risk defense, as applied to sports and places of amusement, has also been described as a ‘no-duty’ rule, i.e., as the principle that an owner or operator of a [*10] place of amusement has no duty to protect the user from any hazards inherent in the activity.” Chepkevich v. Hidden Valley Resort, L.P., 2 A.3d 1174, 1186 (2010) (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 496A, cmt. C, 2). “Where there is no duty, there can be no negligence, and thus when inherent risks are involved, negligence principles are irrelevant–the Comparative Negligence Act is inapplicable–and there can be no recovery based on allegations of negligence.” Id.

In Hughes v. Seven Springs Farm, Inc., the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania established a two-part test for courts to use to determine whether a plaintiff’s claims are barred by the no duty rule of the Skier’s Responsibility Act. 762 A.2d 339, 343 (2000). “First, this Court must determine whether [the plaintiff] was engaged in the sport of downhill skiing at the time of her injury.” Id. at 344. “If that answer is affirmative, we must then determine whether the risk” of the circumstance that caused the plaintiff’s injury “is one of the ‘inherent risks’ of downhill skiing.” Id. If so, then summary judgment must be awarded against the plaintiff as a matter of law. Id. In the case at-bar, there can be no dispute that Mr. Vu was engaged in the sport of downhill skiing at the time of his accident. The salient question, therefore, becomes whether veering off-trail and over a drop-off into a pile [*11] of rocks to avoid a collision with a snowboarder are inherent risks of downhill skiing. If those risks are inherent to skiing, then Defendants had no duty to protect Mr. Vu. Chepkevich, 2 A.3d at 1186. If those risks are not inherent, traditional principles of negligence apply and we must determine what duty the Defendants owed Mr. Vu, whether the Defendants breached that duty, and whether the breach caused Mr. Vu’s injuries.

We begin with a discussion of what it means for a risk to be “inherent.” The Hughes court explained that “inherent” risks are those that are “common, frequent, and expected” in downhill skiing. Id. In interpreting risks, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has instructed that “the clear legislative intent to preserve the assumption of the risk doctrine in this particular area, as well as the broad wording of the Act itself, dictates a practical and logical interpretation of what risks are inherent to the sport.” Chepkevich, 2 A.3d at 1187-88. “Accordingly, courts have rejected attempts by plaintiffs to define the injury producing risks in very a specific and narrow manner.” Cole v. Camelback Mountain Ski Resort, 2017 WL 4621786, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 16, 2017) (Mariani, J.). For example, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Chepkevich rejected the plaintiff’s argument that she did not assume the “specific [*12] risk” involved, looking instead to the “general risk” that gave rise to the accident. 2 A.3d at 1188. A number of courts have addressed the scope of the Skier’s Responsibility Act and have concluded that some of the inherent risks of downhill skiing include: lack of netting, improper course plotting, or soft snow1; skiing off trail and striking a tree2; collisions with unpadded snow equipment poles3; striking a fence on the edge of the trail4; and collisions with other skiers or snowboarders.5

1 Bjorgung v. Whitetail Resort, L.P., 550 F.3d 263 (3d Cir. 2008).

2 Id.

3 Smith v. Seven Springs Farm, Inc., 716 F.2d 1002 (3d Cir. 1983).

4 Cole, 2017 WL 4621786, at *5.

5 Hughes, 762 A.2d 339.

Before addressing the risks that Mr. Vu encountered, we must address Plaintiffs’ initial argument that the assumption of the risk doctrine is inapplicable. Plaintiffs argue that while Mr. Vu “was generally aware of the dangers of downhill skiing,” he was not aware “of the specific hazard of being ejected from the ski trail due to a steep 3 to 4 foot drop-off on that particular slope’s trail edge.” (Doc. 42, p. 8) (emphasis in original). Because there is no evidence that Mr. Vu had subjective awareness of these risks, Plaintiffs argue, the doctrine of assumption of the risk cannot apply. (Id. at pp. 9-13). For support of this argument, Plaintiffs cite several cases that are materially distinct from the case at-bar. First, Plaintiffs [*13] quote Barillari v. Ski Shawnee, Inc., “[i]t is not enough that the plaintiff was generally aware that the activity in which he was engaged had accompanying risks.” 986 F. Supp. 2d 555, 563 (M.D. Pa. 2013). Importantly, the court made this statement when analyzing the doctrine of voluntary assumption of the risk after determining that the Skier’s Responsibility Act was not applicable because the plaintiff was not engaged in the sport of downhill skiing at the time of the accident. Id. at 561. The instruction of this quote is inapplicable to our consideration of the no duty doctrine of assumption of the risk.

Next, Plaintiffs rely heavily on Bolyard v. Wallenpaupack Lake Estates, Inc., 2012 WL 629391(M.D. Pa. Feb. 27, 2012) (Caputo, J.). In Bolyard, the plaintiff sued the defendant for negligence after sustaining injuries while snow tubing on the defendant’s property. Id. at *1. The court recognized that while the plaintiff had “general knowledge” of the dangers of snow tubing on the hill, she did not assume the risk because “there is no evidence in the record that she had any knowledge of the specific hazards of that particular slope.” Id. at *6. Plaintiffs argue that “[s]imilar to the patron in Bolyard,” Mr. Vu was only generally aware of the risks he could suffer while skiing and thus assumption of the risk is inapplicable. (Doc. [*14] 42, p. 8). We disagree.

Notably, the slope in Bolyard was an old slope that was not currently in operation. 2012 WL 629391, at *1. The court used principles of negligence as applicable to landowners and licensees to determine the duty owed to the plaintiff and, consequently, considered the doctrine of voluntary assumption of the risk as a defense. Id. at **3-6. Analyzing the present action under the no duty rule, we do not consider the defense of voluntary assumption of the risk; instead, we must determine whether Mr. Vu’s injuries arose out of an inherent risk of the sport of skiing such that the Defendants had no duty at all. Pursuant to Hughes and the Skier’s Responsibility Act, there is no duty to protect a skier from the inherent risks of skiing and therefore, “when inherent risks are involved, negligence principles are irrelevant.” Id.

Finally, Plaintiffs cite Perez v. Great Wolf Lodge of the Poconos LLC,6
Staub v. Toy Factory, Inc.,
7
Jones v. Three Rivers Mgmt. Corp,
8 and Telega v. Sec. Bureau, Inc.9 in support of their position that assumption of the risk does not apply because Mr. Vu did not appreciate the specific risks that caused his accident. To start, none of these cases address the Skier’s Responsibility [*15] Act. These cases discuss appreciation of specific risk only after determining that the no duty rule was inapplicable because the risk encountered was not inherent. Again, we reiterate that “[n]egligence principles are irrelevant where the ‘no duty’ rule applies.” Lin v. Spring Mountain Adventures, Inc., 2010 WL 5257648, at *7 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 23, 2010). Whether the no duty rule applies turns on whether Mr. Vu’s particular injuries arose out of risks inherent in the sport of skiing — an issue that is not dependent on a plaintiff’s subjective awareness of those specific risks.

6 200 F. Supp. 3d 471, 478 (M.D. Pa. 2016) (Mariani, J.).

7 749 A.2d 522, (Pa. Super. 2000).

8 483 Pa. 75, 85, 394 A.2d 546, 551 (1978).

9 719 A.2d 372, 376 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1998).

We now turn to the risks involved in Mr. Vu’s accident. The facts reveal two circumstances that gave rise to Mr. Vu’s injuries: (1) veering to avoid a collision with a snowboarder; and (2) skiing over the drop-off at the edge of the trail and into a pile of rocks. If these risks are inherent to the sport of downhill skiing, Plaintiffs’ claims cannot stand.

We can easily conclude that the first risk is inherent and gives rise to no duty on behalf of Defendants. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has specifically determined that the risk of collision with another person on the slope is inherent to the sport of downhill skiing: “the risk of colliding with another skier is one of the common, frequent and expected [*16] risks ‘inherent’ in downhill skiing. Indeed, other skiers are as much a part of the risk in downhill skiing, if not more so, than the snow and ice, elevation, contour, speed and weather conditions.” Hughes, 762 A.2d at 344. Likely in recognition of the clear case law, Plaintiffs do not argue in their brief in opposition to the Motion that avoiding a collision with a snowboarder is a risk that would give rise to a duty on behalf of Defendants. To the extent that Plaintiffs’ claims of negligence are premised on Mr. Vu’s avoidance of a collision with the snowboarder, those claims must fail.

Next, we consider whether skiing over the edge of the trail and encountering a three to four foot drop-off into a pile of rocks is an inherent risk of downhill skiing. Plaintiffs frame this risk as the primary cause of Mr. Vu’s injuries.10 “Simply put, the risk of ejectment from a ski trail due to a 3 to 4 foot drop off and striking one’s head on rocks and/or boulders . . . is not an inherent, frequent, common, and expected risk of skiing.” (Doc. 42, p. 11). All parties recognize that the drop-off was at the edge of the trail rather than a ditch or hole in the slope itself. Though Plaintiffs stress that Mr. Vu did not “willingly [*17] decide to ski off trail,” the distinction is of no consequence. Plaintiffs describe the incident in terms of Mr. Vu being “ejected” from the trail due to the embankment, but it is illogical to argue that the existence of the drop-off itself would cause a skier to go over it. Whether Mr. Vu did so intentionally, accidentally, or as a means of avoiding a collision, the incontrovertible fact is that Mr. Vu did, ultimately, ski off of the three to four foot edge of the trail.

10 “. . . the specific hazard of being ejected from the ski trail due to a steep 3 to 4 foot drop-off on that particular slope’s trail edge.” (Doc. 42, p. 8); “Even if Defendant could establish that having a 3 to 4 foot trail edge drop presents a danger inherent to the sport of skiing . . .” (Id. at p. 9); “. . . he was ejected from the trail when attempting to avoid a collision and was confronted with a 3 to 4 foot drop in elevation from the ski trail.” (Id. at p. 11).

We hold that the risk of skiing off trail and suffering from the change of elevation between the trail and surrounding terrain is an inherent risk of downhill skiing. Mr. Vu was an experienced skier who was well aware of the risks of skiing off the designated slope; he testified repeatedly that he “would never ski off-trail.” (Doc. 41, att. 1, p. 43). He had previously skied at Liberty Mountain on multiple occasions and could not remember ever complaining about the trail or trail markings. (Id. at pp. 35-36). Additionally, Mr. Vu’s daughter testified that she did not have any difficulty discerning the edge of the slope where her father went off trail the evening of the accident. (Doc. 41, att. 2, p. 14). It would be irrational for [*18] any court to hold that skiing off trail and encountering dangerous terrain is not an inherent risk of the sport of downhill skiing — ski slopes are marked and maintained in appreciation of this risk, and beginner and experienced skiers alike know to stay within the trail limits to avoid injury. Mr. Vu himself testified that he understood that he could run into trees, rocks, boulders, or snowmaking equipment if he skied off trail. (Doc. 37, att. 1, p. 71).

We struggled to find case law on point to support our holding because we believe it to be such a common sense and logical conclusion that does not require in-depth analysis. One case from the New York appellate court, however, was particularly analogous. In Atwell v. State, the plaintiff was skiing near the edge of the trail when he observed a “floundering” skier in his path. 645 N.Y.S.2d 658, 659 (1996). Plaintiff “instinctively reacted and turned without thinking” to avoid a collision and ended up skiing off trail and into a tree. Id. The court easily found that plaintiff’s injuries were due to inherent risks of skiing. Id. at 650. “[F]rom claimant’s own description of the accident, there can be no dispute that everything he encountered, including the skier he turned [*19] to avoid hitting, the berm at the edge of the trail referred to by claimant’s expert and the tree with which he collided, are all statutorily recognized as inherent dangers of skiing.” The court noted that “[c]laimant chose to ski near the edge of the trail and there is nothing in the record to indicate that the location of the edge of the trail was not readily observable to him.” Id. Similarly here, Mr. Vu was an experienced skier who chose to ski near the edge of the slope. He had a knee-jerk reaction to avoid a skier, and ended up veering off of the trail and suffering from the elevation change and his collision with rocks. Not only is there a lack of any evidence that the edge of the trail was difficult to discern, but Mr. Vu’s daughter testified at length about how her father was close to the edge of the trail and specifically stated that she could observe the edge of the slope without difficulty. (Doc. 41, att. 2, p. 14).

We agree with the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, which simply held: “Even the most generous reading of the plaintiff’s pleadings reveals the chief cause of his injuries to be an unenumerated, yet quintessential risk of skiing: that a skier might lose control [*20] and ski off the trail. By participating in the sport of skiing, a skier assumes this inherent risk and may not recover against a ski area operator for resulting injuries.” Nutbrown v. Mount Cranmore, Inc., 140 N.H. 675, 684, 671 A.2d 548, 553 (1996).

IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Motion shall be granted. A separate order shall issue in accordance with this memorandum.

ORDER

Presently before the Court is Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 36). In conformity with the Memorandum issued on today’s date, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Doc. 36) is GRANTED.

2. The Clerk of the Court SHALL CLOSE the file on this case.

/s/ John E. Jones III

John E. Jones III

United States District Judge


Colorado Supreme Court rules that an inbounds Avalanche is an inherent risk assumed by skiers based upon the Colorado Skier Safety Act.

The decision came down as generally expected, an avalanche is snow and any type of snow is an inherent risk assumed by skiers and boarders as defined by the Colorado Skier Safety Act.

Fleury v. IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corporation, 2016 CO 41; 2016 Colo. LEXIS 532

State: Colorado, Supreme Court of Colorado

Plaintiff: Salynda E. Fleury, individually on behalf of Indyka Norris and Sage Norris, and as surviving spouse of Christopher H. Norris

Defendant: IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corporation

Plaintiff Claims: negligence and wrongful death

Defendant Defenses: Colorado Skier Safety Act

Holding: for the defendant

Year: 2016

The deceased went  skiing at Winter Park. While skiing he rode a lift to Trestle Trees run, an inbounds run at Winter Park. An avalanche occurred, and the skier was killed.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, (CAIC) had been issuing warnings about avalanches based on new heavy snows. Winter Park admitted knowing about the warnings and knowing that there was the possibility of unstable snow on Trestle Trees run. Winter Park also never posted warning signs about the avalanche risk or closed runs.

Side comment: What would you do if you saw a sign that said warning, increased likelihood of avalanches today?

The plaintiff sued, and the trial court dismissed the case based on the Colorado Skier Safety Act (CSSA). The appellate court in a split decision upheld the trial court ruling. The Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari and heard the case.

Certiorari is granted when an appeal to an appellate court to hear a case is approved. There is no automatic right of appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court for civil cases (most of the time) so the party that wants to appeal has to file an argument why the Supreme Court should hear their appeal. If the appeal is granted, then a Writ of Certiorari is issued telling the parties to bring their case to the court. Certiorari is Latin for “to be informed of, or to be made certain in regard to.”

When a Writ of Certiorari is granted, most times the arguments to be presented to the court are defined by the court.  Here the writ was issued to:

Whether, for the purposes of the Ski Safety Act (“SSA”) of 1979, codified at sections C.R.S. 33-44-101 to -114 (2014), the term “inherent dangers and risks of skiing,” as defined in C.R.S. 33-44-103(3.5) (2014), encompasses avalanches that occur within the bounds of a ski resort, in areas open to skiers at the time in question.

Probably, because of the value of the decision to the state, skiing is a big economic driver and because of the split decision at the Colorado Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court heard the case and issued this decision.

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

The entire issue revolves around interpreting once section of the CSSA. The words or phrases the Court liked at are highlighted.

C.R.S. §§ 33-44-103. Definitions.

(3.5) “Inherent dangers and risks of skiing” means those dangers or conditions that are part of the sport of skiing, including changing weather conditions; snow conditions as they exist or may change, such as ice, hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up snow, and machine-made snow; surface or subsurface conditions such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, cliffs, extreme terrain, and trees, or other natural objects, and collisions with such natural objects; impact with lift towers, signs, posts, fences or enclosures, hydrants, water pipes, or other man-made structures and their components; variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snowmaking or grooming operations, including but not limited to roads, freestyle terrain, jumps, and catwalks or other terrain modifications; collisions with other skiers; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities. The term “inherent dangers and risks of skiing” does not include the negligence of a ski area operator as set forth in section 33-44-104 (2). Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the liability of the ski area operator for injury caused by the use or operation of ski lifts.

If an avalanche is an inherent risk as defined by the CSSA, then a skier/boarder/tele skier, etc., assumes the risk and cannot sue the ski area for any injury or claim.

Does the phrases weather conditions and snow conditions as they exist or may change encompass or the term Avalanche or can an Avalanche be defined by such phrases.

One obvious way in which a snow condition “may change” is through movement of the snow, including by wind and gravity. And at its core, an avalanche is moving snow caused by gravity. The dictionary definition of “avalanche” is “a large mass of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift motion down a mountainside or over a precipice.”

The court found that the phrases in the CSSA defined an avalanche.

At bottom, then, an avalanche is one way in which snow conditions may change. As alleged here, snow conditions started with fresh snow on unstable snowpack, and, within moments, changed to a mound of snow at the bottom of the incline. We therefore, conclude that Norris’s death is alleged to have been caused by changing snow conditions.

The decision was fairly simple for the court to reach.

Because an avalanche is, at its essence, the movement of snow, and is therefore, a way in which snow conditions may change, we hold that section 33-44-103(3.5) covers in-bounds avalanches. It follows that section 33-44-112 precludes skiers from suing operators to recover for injuries resulting from in-bounds avalanches.

There was a dissent to this opinion joined by one other judge who interpreted the issues along the arguments made by the plaintiff. An avalanche was not a snow condition but was an event. As such, it does not fall within the inherent risks of the CSSA.

The dissent was further supported by the idea that the statute was broad but the inherent risks were narrow in scope. If the legislature wanted avalanches to be included as an inherent risk, the legislature would have placed it in the statute when enacted, or anytime it has been modified since enactment.

So Now What?

Under the CSSA, an inbound movement of snow, an avalanche is an inherent risk of skiing and as such, a skier injured or killed by such snow assumes the risk of the injury.

The decision also provides some insight into how the court may interpret the risks of skiing in the future. In general, the CSSA is to be interpreted broadly. Skiing is a risky sport, and the CSSA was enacted to promote skiing and to identify, in advance the risk a skier must assume in Colorado.

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Michigan decision rules skier who fell into half pipe after landing a jump could not recover based on 2 different sections of the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act.

Language of the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act used to stop plaintiff’s claims two different ways.

Marshall, v Boyne USA, Inc., 2012 Mich. App. LEXIS 928

State: Michigan, Court of Appeals of Michigan

Plaintiff: Marvin Marshall and Christine Marshall

Defendant: v Boyne USA, Inc.,

Plaintiff Claims: Plaintiffs filed the instant action, alleging that defendant was negligent in failing to adequately mark the boundaries of the half pipe.

Defendant Defenses: plaintiffs’ claim was barred both under the Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), MCL 408.321 et seq., and by reason of two liability releases, one that plaintiff signed when he rented the ski equipment and a second that was printed on the back of his lift ticket.

Holding: for the defendant

Year: 2012

Plaintiff was skiing with a friend. In the morning, they had skied through the terrain park but had not skied the half pipe. In the afternoon, they went back to the terrain park and skied several jumps again. Plaintiff also noticed the warning sign at the entrance of the terrain park.

The half pipe in this case appears to be a trough lower than the height of the ski slope based upon the description in the decision. As the plaintiff landed a jump, he allegedly slid to a stop and then fell into the half pipe suffering injuries.

The plaintiff and his spouse sued the resort. The resort filed a motion for summary disposition (similar to a motion for summary judgment) with the court based on:

…plaintiffs’ claim was barred both under the Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), MCL 408.321 et seq., and by reason of two liability releases, one that plaintiff signed when he rented the ski equipment and a second that was printed on the back of his lift ticket.

That motion was denied, and the defendants appealed the denial to the Michigan Appellate Court.

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

The court firs looked at the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act. The court found the claims of the plaintiff were barred by the act. Under the Michigan act, a skier assumes the risks of the sport that are necessary or not obvious.

We agree with defendant that SASA bars plaintiffs’ claim. Under SASA, a skier assumes the risk for those dangers that inhere in the sport of skiing unless those dangers are unnecessary or not obvious. Among the risks assumed are “variations in terrain.” MCL 408.342(2).

Because the actions of the plaintiff were covered under the act, the court then looked to see if the actions of the defendant ski area were in violation of any duty imposed under the act. The court did not find any violations of the act.

Moreover, defendant did not breach a duty imposed under the act. MCL 408.326a imposes a duty on the ski resort to mark certain hazards involving equipment and fixtures, which is not relevant here, as well as a duty to place a sign at the top of a run, slope or trail with certain information regarding the difficulty of that run, slope or trail. There is no dispute that defendant complied with this requirement.

The plaintiff argued that failing to mark the half pipe breached a duty to the plaintiff. However, the court found the plaintiff accepted that risk of an unmarked half pipe when he chose to ski into the terrain park and passed the warning sign.

By choosing to ski in the terrain park, which was marked with signage as required by the SASA, and which contained the half pipe that plaintiff saw earlier that day, plaintiff is held to have accepted the danger as a matter of law.

The defendant raised two additional arguments in its defense. The first was a release signed by the plaintiff when he rented his ski equipment and the “release” on the back of his lift ticket. Because the statute barred his claims and the lawsuit would be dismissed, the court did not look into either of those defenses.

The court reversed the trial court decision.

There was also a dissent in the case. The dissent agreed with the majority that the case should be reversed by based its decision to reverse on other grounds.

The dissent found the terrain park and the half pipe were necessary installations in a terrain park. However, the dissent agreed with the plaintiff’s that the half pipe was not obvious, which is what the dissent believes persuaded the trial court to deny the defendant’s motion.

However, because the plaintiff to actual knowledge of the half pipe that he observed earlier in the day while skiing he could not claim it was a hidden danger.

The dissent also felt the plaintiff should lose because the plaintiff failed to maintain reasonable control of his course and speed at all times as required by the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act.

I would conclude that the obligation to reasonably control one’s course includes the expectation that a plaintiff will avoid known hazards. Here, plaintiff’s failure to reasonably control his course of travel after  executing a jump resulted in him coming up to and falling into the half pipe that he admittedly knew was located in that area of the terrain pipe. For that reason, I would reverse and remand.

The case was sent back to the trial court to be dismissed.

So Now What?

It’s nice when a plan comes together, and a statute is written so the court’s interpretation of the statute proceeds along the same lines as the writers of the statute intended.

The Michigan Ski Area Safety Act is a very effective act, almost as encompassing as Colorado’s. The act was written to make sure that injured skiers could only sue if the ski area actually did something to injure the plaintiffs.

The facts in this case also do not lead you to believe the plaintiff stretched the truth. His actions in skiing across the mountain to hit a jump which sent him further across the mountain diagonally were not super intelligent. However, did not result in any injury except his own.

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Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

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Copyright 2016 Recreation Law (720) Edit Law

Email: Rec-law@recreation-law.com

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

 

 

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom, #Recreation-Law.com, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer, Marvin Marshall, Christine Marshall, v Boyne USA, Inc., Terrain Park, Half-Pipe, Half Pipe, Jump, Michigan Ski Safety Act, Skier Safety Act,

 


Marshall, v Boyne USA, Inc., 2012 Mich. App. LEXIS 928

Marshall, v Boyne USA, Inc., 2012 Mich. App. LEXIS 928

Marvin Marshall and Christine Marshall, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v Boyne USA, Inc., Defendant-Appellant.

No. 301725

COURT OF APPEALS OF MICHIGAN

2012 Mich. App. LEXIS 928

May 15, 2012, Decided

NOTICE: THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION. IN ACCORDANCE WITH MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS RULES, UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS ARE NOT PRECEDENTIALLY BINDING UNDER THE RULES OF STARE DECISIS.

SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: Leave to appeal denied by Marshall v. Boyne United States, Inc., 2012 Mich. LEXIS 2153 (Mich., Dec. 5, 2012)

PRIOR HISTORY: [*1]

Charlevoix Circuit Court. LC No. 10-091822-NF.

CORE TERMS: half pipe, terrain, skiing, ski, jump, skied, hit, inhere, hazard, trail, sport, downhill, feet, Safety Act SASA, ski resort, skier, slope, top, morning, timing, reversing, booth, edge

JUDGES: Before: HOEKSTRA, P.J., and SAWYER and SAAD, JJ. HOEKSTRA, P.J., (concurring).

OPINION

Per Curiam.

Defendant appeals by leave granted from the circuit court’s order denying defendant’s motion for summary disposition. We reverse and remand.

In 2009, plaintiff Marvin Marshall was skiing at defendant’s ski resort at Boyne Mountain in Charlevoix County with a friend, Randy. They skied several trails that morning, and also skied in the terrain park. Plaintiff was familiar with and had skied in terrain parks, which he described as having “jumps and different obstacles[.]” Plaintiff saw a warning sign at the entrance to the terrain park, but he did not read it.

The terrain park contained a half pipe that was about twenty feet deep. A half pipe is a ski attraction created by a trench in the snow that extends downhill. Skiers ski inside of the half pipe. On the morning of February 5, plaintiff saw the half pipe in the terrain park, but he did not ski into it. Plaintiff skied in an area just to the right of the half pipe.

After lunch, plaintiff and his friend went into the terrain park for a second time. They entered the terrain park from the left side this time. [*2] Plaintiff skied down the terrain park and hit the edges of a series of jumps. When plaintiff was halfway down the hill, Randy yelled to him and plaintiff stopped. Randy said that there was a good jump to their right that would be “good to hit.” Randy went first, and plaintiff followed. Plaintiff proceeded laterally across the hill (to the right, if one is facing downhill). Plaintiff “came almost straight across because there was enough of an incline . . . [he] didn’t have to come downhill much.”

Plaintiff successfully navigated the jump, which caused him to go up into the air about 12 to 15 feet. He landed and came to a stop by turning quickly to the right and power-sliding to a stop. As he looked around for Randy, plaintiff felt his feet go over the edge of the half pipe. He slid down the side a little bit, and then hit the bottom. Plaintiff shattered his left calcaneus (heel) and the top of his tibia, and broke his hip and right arm. He also fractured his left eye socket where his pole hit his head when he fell.

Plaintiffs filed the instant action, alleging that defendant was negligent in failing to adequately mark the boundaries of the half pipe. Defendant moved for summary disposition, [*3] arguing that plaintiffs’ claim was barred both under the Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), MCL 408.321 et seq., and by reason of two liability releases, one that plaintiff signed when he rented the ski equipment and a second that was printed on the back of his lift ticket. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that there remained issues of fact. Thereafter, we granted defendant’s motion for leave to appeal. We review the trial court’s decision de novo. Anderson v Pine Knob Ski Resort, Inc, 469 Mich 20, 23; 664 NW2d 756 (2003).

We agree with defendant that SASA bars plaintiffs’ claim. Under SASA, a skier assumes the risk for those dangers that inhere in the sport of skiing unless those dangers are unnecessary or not obvious. Anderson, 469 Mich at 26. Among the risks assumed are “variations in terrain.” MCL 408.342(2). Moreover, defendant did not breach a duty imposed under the act. MCL 408.326a imposes a duty on the ski resort to mark certain hazards involving equipment and fixtures, which is not relevant here, as well as a duty to place a sign at the top of a run, slope or trail with certain information regarding the difficulty of that run, slope or trail. There is no dispute that [*4] defendant complied with this requirement. Rather, plaintiffs argue that defendant breached a duty not imposed by the statute: to mark the half pipe itself. But Anderson makes clear that when SASA resolves a matter, common-law principles are no longer a consideration. Anderson, 469 Mich at 26-27. By choosing to ski in the terrain park, which was marked with signage as required by the SASA, and which contained the half pipe that plaintiff saw earlier that day, plaintiff is held to have accepted the danger as a matter of law. Anderson, 469 Mich at 25-26.

Accordingly, defendant was entitled to summary disposition by application of SASA. In light of this conclusion, we need not consider whether defendant was also entitled to summary disposition under the liability waivers.

Reversed and remanded to the trial court with instructions to enter an order of summary disposition in defendant’s favor. We do not retain jurisdiction. Defendant may tax costs.

/s/ David H. Sawyer

/s/ Henry William Saad

CONCUR BY: HOEKSTRA

CONCUR

Hoekstra, P.J., (concurring).

Although I join with the majority in reversing, I write separately because my reason for reversing differs from that of the majority.

In Anderson v Pine Knob Ski Resort, Inc, 469 Mich 20, 26; 664 NW2d 756 (2003), [*5] the Supreme Court concluded that if a hazard inheres in the sport of skiing, it is covered by the Michigan’s Ski Area Safety Act (SASA), MCL 408.321 et seq., unless it is unnecessary or not obvious.

Here, it is undisputed that the half pipe, like the timing booth in Anderson, inheres to the sport of skiing and is a necessary installation in a terrain park. But unlike the timing booth in Anderson, plaintiff, in my opinion, makes an arguable claim that the half pipe was not obvious to persons skiing cross-hill. It appears that this argument persuaded the trial court to deny defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

But even assuming a fact question exists regarding whether the half pipe was not obvious, plaintiff admitted to actual knowledge of the location of the half pipe from having observed it earlier that same day while skiing. When skiing, a plaintiff is required by the SASA to “maintain reasonable control of his speed and course at all times,” MCL 408.342 (emphasis added). I would conclude that the obligation to reasonably control one’s course includes the expectation that a plaintiff will avoid known hazards. Here, plaintiff’s failure to reasonably control his course of travel after [*6] executing a jump resulted in him coming up to and falling into the half pipe that he admittedly knew was located in that area of the terrain pipe. For that reason, I would reverse and remand.

/s/ Joel P. Hoekstra


New York Skier Safety Act

New York Skier Safety Act

General Obligations Law 

ARTICLE 18.  SAFETY IN SKIING CODE

NY CLS Gen Oblig Article 18 Note  (2012)

Gen Oblig Article 18 Note

HISTORY:

Add, L 1988, ch 711, § 1, eff Nov 1, 1988 (see 1988 note below).

NOTES:

Laws 1988, ch 711, § 4, eff Nov 1, 1988, provides as follows:

§ 4. This act shall take effect on November first, nineteen hundred eighty-eight; provided that section 18-106 of the general obligations law, as added by section one of this act, shall take effect on the first day of October, nineteen hundred eighty-nine; and provided further that the commissioner of labor, effective immediately, is authorized and directed to promulgate any and all rules and regulations necessary to the timely implementation of the provisions of this act on their effective dates.

Research References & Practice Aids:

3 NY Jur 2d Amusements and Exhibitions § 30

§ 18-101.  Legislative purpose. 1

§ 18-102.  Definitions. 4

§ 18-103.  Duties of ski area operators. 5

§ 18-104.  Duties of passengers. 9

§ 18-105.  Duties of skiers. 10

§ 18-106.  Duties of skiers and ski area operators with respect to inherent risks. 12

§ 18-107.  Construction.. 15

§ 18-108.  Severability. 16

§ 867.  Safety in skiing code. 16

 

§ 18-101.  Legislative purpose

The legislature hereby finds that alpine or downhill skiing is both a major recreational sport and a major industry within the state of New York. The legislature further finds: (1) that downhill skiing, like many other sports, contains inherent risks including, but not limited to, the risks of personal injury or death or property damage, which may be caused by variations in terrain or weather conditions; surface or subsurface snow, ice, bare spots or areas of thin cover, moguls, ruts, bumps; other persons using the facilities; and rocks, forest growth, debris, branches, trees, roots, stumps or other natural objects or man-made objects that are incidental to the provision or maintenance of a ski facility in New York state; (2) that downhill skiing, without established rules of conduct and care, may result in injuries to persons and property; (3) that it is appropriate, as well as in the public interest, to take such steps as are necessary to help reduce the risk of injury to downhill skiers from undue, unnecessary and unreasonable hazards; and (4) that it is also necessary and appropriate that skiers become apprised of, and understand, the risks inherent in the sport of skiing so that they may make an informed decision of whether or not to participate in skiing notwithstanding the risks. Therefore, the purpose and intent of this article is to establish a code of conduct for downhill skiers and ski area operators to minimize the risk of injury to persons engaged in the sport of downhill skiing and to promote safety in the downhill ski industry.

§ 18-102.  Definitions

The following words and phrases when used in this article shall have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:

1. “Lift ticket” means any item issued by a ski area operator to any skier that is intended to be affixed to the outerwear of the skier, or otherwise displayed by a skier, to signify lawful entry upon and use of the passenger tramways or ski slopes or trails maintained by the ski area operator.

2. “Passenger tramway” means a mechanical device intended to transport skiers for the purpose of providing access to ski slopes and trails as defined by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section two hundred two-c or eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law.

3. “Passenger” means a person in or on or being transported by a tramway.

4. “Ski area” means all ski slopes, ski trails and passenger tramways administered as a single enterprise within this state.

5. “Ski area operator” means a person, firm or corporation, and its agents and employees, having operational and administrative responsibility for any ski area, including any agency of the state, any political subdivision thereof, and any other governmental agency or instrumentality.

6. “Skier” means any person wearing a ski or skis and any person actually on a ski slope or trail located at a ski area, for the purpose of skiing.

7. “Ski slopes and trails” mean those areas designated by the ski area operator for skiing.

§ 18-103.  Duties of ski area operators

   Every ski area operator shall have the following duties:

1. To equip all trail maintenance vehicles with such warning implements or devices as shall be specified by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law. Such implements or devices shall be present and operating whenever the vehicle is within the borders of any slope or trail.

2. To post in a location likely to be seen by all skiers signs of such size and color as will enable skiers to have knowledge of their responsibilities under this article.

3. To hold employee training sessions at least once before the beginning of each season, the contents of which shall be specified by the commissioner of labor upon the recommendation of the passenger tramway advisory council, as follows:

      a. for operators of trail maintenance equipment concerning the safe operation of such vehicles in the ski area;

      b. for passenger tramway attendants concerning the safe operation of passenger tramways;

      c. for ski personnel charged with the responsibility of evacuating passengers from passenger tramways concerning proper evacuation techniques; and

      d. for all other personnel charged with on-mountain maintenance, inspection or patrol duties as to methods to be used for summoning aid in emergencies.

4. To conspicuously mark with such implements as may be specified by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law, the location of such man-made obstructions as, but not limited to, snow-making equipment, electrical outlets, timing equipment, stanchions, pipes, or storage areas that are within the borders of the designated slope or trail, when the top of such obstruction is less than six feet above snow level.

5. To maintain in a central location at the ski area an information board or boards showing at a minimum the following:

      a. the location of tramways, slopes or trails;

      b. the status of each trail–open or closed;

      c. the location of emergency communications or medical equipment and sites designated by the ski area operator for receipt of notice from skiers pursuant to subdivision thirteen of this section;

      d. the relative degree of difficulty of each slope or trail (at a minimum easier, more difficult, most difficult); and

      e. the general surface condition of each slope and trail as most recently recorded in the log required to be maintained by subdivision six of this section.

6. To inspect each open slope or trail that is open to the public within the ski area at least twice a day, and enter the results of such inspection in a log which shall be available for examination by the commissioner of labor. The log shall note:

      a. the general surface conditions of such trail at the time of inspection (powder, packed powder, frozen granular, icy patches or icy surface, bare spots or other surface conditions);

      b. the time of inspection and the name of the inspector;

      c. the existence of any obstacles or hazards other than those which may arise from:

         (i) skier use;

         (ii) weather variations including freezing and thawing; or

         (iii) mechanical failure of snow grooming or emergency equipment which may position such equipment within the borders of a slope or trail.

7. To develop and maintain a written policy consistent with the regulations of the commissioner of labor upon the advice of the passenger tramway advisory council for situations involving the reckless conduct of skiers, which shall include, but not be limited to:

      a. a definition of reckless conduct; and

      b. procedures for approaching and warning skiers of reckless conduct and procedures for dealing with such skiers which may include the revocation of the lift tickets of such skiers.

8. To designate personnel to implement the ski area’s policy on reckless conduct.

9. To report to the commissioner of labor by telephone within twenty-four hours any fatality or injury resulting in a fatality at the ski area.

10. To conspicuously post and maintain such ski area signage, including appropriate signage at the top of affected ski slopes and trails, notice of maintenance activities and for passenger tramways as shall be specified by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section two hundred two-c or eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law.

11. To post in a conspicuous location at each lift line a sign, which shall indicate the degree of difficulty of trails served by that lift with signs as shall be specified by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section two hundred two-c or eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law.

12. To ensure that lift towers located within the boundaries of any ski slope or trail are padded or otherwise protected and that no protruding metal or wood objects, such as ladders or steps, shall be installed on the uphill or side portion of lift towers within the borders of a ski slope or trail, unless such objects are below the snow line, at least six feet above it, or padded or otherwise protected with such devices as, but not limited to, the following:

      a. commercially available tower padding;

      b. air or foam filled bags;

      c. hay bales encased in a waterproof cover; or

      d. soft rope nets properly spaced from the tower.

13. To, within a reasonable amount of time after the inspection required by subdivision six of this section, conspicuously mark with such implements as may be specified by the commissioner of labor pursuant to section eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law and to provide sufficient warning to skiers by such marking or remove such obstacles or hazards which are located within the boundaries of any ski slope or trail and were noted pursuant to paragraph c of subdivision six of this section; and to also conspicuously mark with such implements and provide such warning or remove such obstacles or hazards within a reasonable amount of time after receipt of notice by the ski area operator from any skier as to the presence of such obstacles or hazards when notice is given at sites designated by the ski area operator for such receipt and the locations of which are made known to skiers pursuant to paragraph c of subdivision five of this section.

14. To have present at all times when skiing activity is in progress, individuals properly and appropriately trained for the safe operation of on-slope vehicles; trail maintenance equipment; tramways; tramway evacuations; implementation of the reckless skier policy; first aid and outdoor rescue; and, to have present according to a schedule posted for access by skiers, by the ski area operator, personnel appropriately trained in the instruction of skiers and passengers in methods of risk reduction while using ski slopes and passenger tramways and the instruction of skiers with respect to the risks inherent in the sport.

§ 18-104.  Duties of passengers

   All passengers shall have the following duties:

1. To familiarize themselves with the safe use of any tramway prior to its use;

2. To remain in the tramway if the operation of a passenger tramway, as defined pursuant to section two hundred two-c of the labor law, is interrupted for any reason, until instructions or aid are provided by the ski area operator;

3. To board or disembark from passenger tramways only at points or areas designated by the ski area operator;

4. Not to eject any objects or material from a passenger tramway;

5. To use restraint devices in accordance with posted instructions;

6. To wear retention straps or other devices to prevent runaway skis;

7. Not to interfere with the operation of a passenger tramway;

8. Not to place or caused to be placed on the uphill track of a surface lift any object which may interfere with its normal operation; and

9. Not to wear loose scarves, clothing or accessories or expose long hair which may become entangled with any part of the device.

§ 18-105.  Duties of skiers

   All skiers shall have the following duties:

1. Not to ski in any area not designated for skiing;

2. Not to ski beyond their limits or ability to overcome variations in slope, trail configuration and surface or subsurface conditions which may be caused or altered by weather, slope or trail maintenance work by the ski area operator, or skier use;

3. To abide by the directions of the ski area operator;

4. To remain in constant control of speed and course at all times while skiing so as to avoid contact with plainly visible or clearly marked obstacles and with other skiers and passengers on surface operating tramways;

5. To familiarize themselves with posted information before skiing any slope or trail, including all information posted pursuant to subdivision five of section 18-103 of this article;

6. Not to cross the uphill track of any surface lift, except at points clearly designated by the ski area operator;

7. Not to ski on a slope or trail or portion thereof that has been designated as “closed” by the ski area operator;

8. Not to leave the scene of any accident resulting in personal injury to another party until such times as the ski area operator arrives, except for the purpose of summoning aid;

9. Not to overtake another skier in such a manner as to cause contact with the skier being overtaken and to yield the right-of-way to the skier being overtaken;

10. Not to willfully stop on any slope or trail where such stopping is likely to cause a collision with other skiers or vehicles;

11. To yield to other skiers when entering a trail or starting downhill;

12. To wear retention straps or other devices to prevent runaway skis;

13. To report any personal injury to the ski area operator before leaving the ski area; and

14. Not to willfully remove, deface, alter or otherwise damage signage, warning devices or implements, or other safety devices placed and maintained by the ski area operator pursuant to the requirements of section 18-103 of this article.

§ 18-106.  Duties of skiers and ski area operators with respect to inherent risks

   It is recognized that skiing is a voluntary activity that may be hazardous regardless of all feasible safety measures that can be undertaken by ski area operators. Accordingly:

1. Ski area operators shall have the following additional duties:

      a. To post at every point of sale or distribution of lift tickets, whether on or off the premises of the ski area operator, a conspicuous “Warning to Skiers” relative to the inherent risks of skiing in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commissioner of labor pursuant to subdivision four of section eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law, and to imprint upon all lift tickets sold or distributed, such text and graphics as the commissioner of labor shall similarly specify, which shall conspicuously direct the attention of all skiers to the required “Warning to Skiers”;

      b. To post at every point of sale or distribution of lift tickets at a ski area notice to skiers and passengers that this article prescribes certain duties for skiers, passengers and ski area operators, and to make copies of this article in its entirety available without charge upon request to skiers and passengers in a central location at the ski area;

      c. To make available at reasonable fees, as required by subdivision thirteen of section 18-103 of this article, instruction and education for skiers relative to the risks inherent in the sport and the duties prescribed for skiers by this article, and to conspicuously post notice of the times and places of availability of such instruction and education in locations where it is likely to be seen by skiers; and

      d. To post notice to skiers of the right to a refund to the purchaser in the form and amount paid in the initial sale of any lift ticket returned to the ski area operator, intact and unused, upon declaration by such purchaser that he or she is unprepared or unwilling to ski due to the risks inherent in the sport or the duties imposed upon him or her by this article.

2. Skiers shall have the following additional duties to enable them to make informed decisions as to the advisability of their participation in the sport:

      a. To seek out, read, review and understand, in advance of skiing, a “Warning to Skiers” as shall be defined pursuant to subdivision five of section eight hundred sixty-seven of the labor law, which shall be displayed and provided pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision one of this section; and

      b. To obtain such education in the sport of skiing as the individual skier shall deem appropriate to his or her level of ability, including the familiarization with skills and duties necessary to reduce the risk of injury in such sport.

§ 18-107.  Construction

   Unless otherwise specifically provided in this article, the duties of skiers, passengers, and ski area operators shall be governed by common law.

§ 18-108.  Severability

   If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this article that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this article are declared to be severable.

§ 867.  Safety in skiing code

   1. The [fig 1] commissioner, on the advice of the passenger tramway advisory council as created pursuant to section twelve-c of this chapter, shall promulgate rules and regulations, consistent with article eighteen of the general obligations law, intended to guard against personal injuries to downhill skiers which will, in view of such intent, define the duties and responsibilities of downhill skiers and the duties and responsibilities of ski area operators.

2. The commissioner shall enforce all the provisions of this article and the regulations adopted pursuant hereto and may issue such orders against any entity, public or private, as he finds necessary, directing compliance with any provision of this article or such regulations. The commissioner may also investigate any fatality or injury resulting in a fatality at a ski area.

3. The passenger tramway advisory council shall conduct any investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this [fig 1] article.

4. The passenger tramway advisory council shall conduct public hearings on any rules and regulations proposed under this section prior to their promulgation by the [fig 1] commissioner. The passenger tramway advisory council shall fix a time and place for each such hearing and cause such notice as it may deem appropriate to be given to the public and news media prior to such a hearing. Testimony may be taken and evidence received at such a hearing pursuant to procedures prescribed by the passenger tramway advisory council.

5. Upon advice of the passenger tramway advisory council, the commission shall, on the fifteenth day of March, nineteen hundred eighty-nine, promulgate rules which shall set forth specifications for the uniform textual and graphic content, physical description, and conspicuous posting of a “Warning to Skiers” regarding the risks inherent in the sport as set forth in section 18-101 of the general obligations law, which shall be posted and provided to skiers by ski areas operators in accordance with subdivision one of section 18-106 of the general obligations law, and shall promulgate rules which shall set forth textual and graphic specifications designed to occupy not more than twenty-five percent of the imprintable surface area of the face side nor more than eighty percent of the imprintable surface area of the reverse side or backing paper of all lift tickets sold or distributed in the state, as defined by section 18-102 of the general obligations law, which shall uniformly serve to direct the attention of all skiers to the “Warning to Skiers” herein directed to be promulgated and required by section 18-106 of the general obligations law.

  

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North Dakota Skier Safety Act

North Dakota Skier Safety Act

NORTH DAKOTA CENTURY CODE

TITLE 53  Sports and Amusements 

CHAPTER 53-09  Skiing Responsibility Act

Go to the North Dakota Code Archive Directory

N.D. Cent. Code, § 53-09-01  (2013)

53-09-01.  Legislative purpose.

  The legislative assembly finds that the sport of skiing is practiced in this state by a growing number of North Dakota citizens and nonresidents. Since it is recognized that there are inherent risks in the sport of skiing which should be understood by each skier and which are essentially impossible to eliminate by the ski area operator, it is the purpose of this chapter to define those areas of responsibility and affirmative acts for which ski area operators shall be liable for loss, damage, or injury and those risks which the skier expressly assumes and for which there can be no recovery.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 2.

NOTES: 

Because this chapter bears a close correspondence to the legislative intent and does not create an impermissible classification, it does not violate the state’s constitutional guarantee to equal protection of the laws. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

Because this chapter applies to all persons operating a skiing facilty within the state, this is a permissible class and does not create a special law, as prohibited by the N.D. Const., Art. IV, § 13. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

Because this chapter does not operate as an absolute bar to recovery, it did not act as a denial of plaintiff’s access to the courts, as protected by the N.D. Const., Art. I, § 9. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

Go to Topic List Legislative Intent.

The legislative goal of this chapter is to limit the liability for ski facility operators from some of the inherent risks associated with skiing. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

Collateral References.

27A Am. Jur. 2d, Entertainment and Sports Law, §§ 54-66, 86, 95-98.

Liability of operator of skiing, tobagganing, or bobsledding facilities for injury to patron or participant, 94 A.L.R.2d 1431.

Liability for injury or death from ski lift, ski tow or similar device, 95 A.L.R.3d 203.

Ski resort’s liability for skier’s injuries resulting from condition of ski run or slope, 55 A.L.R.4th 632.

Skier’s liability for injuries to or death of another person, 75 A.L.R.5th 583.

53-09-02.  Definitions.

  The following words and phrases when used in this chapter have, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meaning given to them in this section:

   1. “Aerial passenger tramway” means any device operated by a ski area operator used to transport passengers, by single or double reversible tramway; chairlift or gondola lift; t-bar lift, j-bar lift, platter lift, or similar device; or a fiber rope tow.

   2. “Passenger” means any person who is lawfully using an aerial passenger tramway or is waiting to embark or has recently disembarked from an aerial passenger tramway and is in its immediate vicinity.

   3. “Ski area” means property owned or leased and under the control of the ski area operator and administered as a single enterprise within the state of North Dakota.

   4. “Ski area operator” means any person, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other commercial entity and their agents, officers, managers, employees, or representatives, who has operational responsibility for any ski area or aerial passenger tramway.

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

   6. “Skier” means any person present at a skiing area under the control of the ski operator for the purpose of engaging in the sport of skiing by utilizing the ski slopes and trails and does not include the use of an aerial passenger tramway.

   7. “Skiing area” means all slopes and trails not including any aerial passenger tramway.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 3; 1993, ch. 54, § 106.

53-09-03.  Duties of ski operators with respect to ski areas.

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

   1. To mark all trail maintenance vehicles and to furnish such vehicles with flashing or rotating lights which must be in operation whenever the vehicles are working or are in movement in the skiing area.

   2. To mark with a visible sign or other warning implement the location of any hydrant or similar equipment used in snowmaking operations and located on ski slopes and trails.

   3. To mark conspicuously the top or entrance to each slope, trail, or area with the appropriate symbol for its relative degree of difficulty and those slopes, trails, or areas which are closed, or portions of which present an unusual obstacle, must be marked at the top or entrance with appropriate symbols.

   4. To maintain one or more trail boards at prominent locations at each ski area displaying that area’s network of ski trails and slopes with each trail and slope rated thereon in accordance with the symbols provided for in subsection 3.

   5. To designate by trail board or other means which trails or slopes are open or closed.

   6. To place, or cause to be placed, whenever snow grooming or snowmaking operations are being undertaken upon any trail or slope while such trail or slope is open to the public, a conspicuous notice to that effect at or near the top of such trail or slope.

   7. To post notice, at or near the boarding area for each aerial passenger tramway designed to transport passengers with skis attached to boots, of the requirements of this chapter concerning the use of ski retention devices. This obligation is the sole requirement imposed upon the ski area operator regarding the requirement for or use of ski retention devices.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 4.

NOTES: 

There should be no liability for a ski area operator if the design of the ski run creates natural conditions, necessary to the enjoyment of the sport, and the design is so obviously dangerous the skier assumes the risk. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

Go to Topic List Nonexclusive List.

This section is a nonexclusive list of duties for ski facility operators. Bouchard v. Johnson, 555 N.W.2d 81 (N.D. 1996).

53-09-04.  Duties of ski area operators with respect to aerial passenger tramways.

  Every ski area operator shall have the duty to construct, operate, maintain, and repair any aerial passenger tramway in a safe and responsible manner.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 5.

53-09-05.  Duties of passengers.

  Every passenger shall have the duty not to:

   1. Board or embark upon or disembark from an aerial passenger tramway except at an area designated for such purpose.

   2. Intentionally drop, throw, or expel any object from an aerial passenger tramway.

   3. Do any act which interferes with the running or operation of an aerial passenger tramway.

   4. Use any aerial passenger tramway unless the passenger has the ability to use it safely without any instruction on its use by the ski area operator or requests and receives instructions before entering the boarding area of the aerial passenger tramway.

   5. Engage in any harmful conduct or willfully or negligently engage in any type of conduct which contributes to or causes injury to another person.

   6. Embark on an aerial passenger tramway without the authority of the ski area operator.

   7. Use any aerial passenger tramway without engaging such safety or restraining devices as may be provided.

   8. Wear skis without properly securing ski retention straps.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 6.

53-09-06.  Duties of skiers.

  It is recognized that skiing as a recreational sport is hazardous to skiers, regardless of all feasible safety measures which can be taken. Each skier expressly assumes the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury to person or property which results from participation in the sport of skiing including any injury caused by the following: variations in terrain; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions; bare spots, rocks, trees, or other forms of forest growth or debris, lift towers and components thereof; pole lines; and snowmaking equipment which are plainly visible or are plainly marked in accordance with the provisions of section 53-09-03. Therefore, each skier shall have the sole individual responsibility for knowing the range of that skier’s own ability to negotiate any slope, trail, or aerial passenger tramway, and it is the duty of each skier to ski within the limits of the skier’s own ability, to make reasonable control of speed and course at all times while skiing, to heed all posted warnings, to ski only on a skiing area designated by the ski area operator, and to refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to the injury of anyone. The responsibility for collisions by any skier while actually skiing, with any person or object, is solely that of the individual or individuals involved in such collision and not that of the ski area operator. No person may:

   1. Unless authorized by the ski area operator, place any object in the skiing area or on the uphill track of any aerial passenger tramway which may cause a passenger or skier to fall.

   2. Cross the track of a t-bar lift, j-bar lift, platter lift or similar device, or a fiber rope tow except at a designated location.

   3. Fail to wear retention straps or other devices to help prevent runaway skis.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 7.

53-09-07.  Liability of ski area operators.

  Any ski area operator is liable for loss or damages caused by its failure to follow the duties set forth in sections 53-09-03 and 53-09-04 when the violation of duty is causally related to loss or damage suffered. A ski area operator is not liable to any passenger or skier acting in violation of the passenger’s or skier’s duties as set forth in sections 53-09-05 and 53-09-06, when the violation of duty by the passenger or skier is causally related to the loss or damage suffered; nor is a ski area operator liable for any loss or damage caused by any object dropped, thrown, or expelled by a passenger from an aerial passenger tramway.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 8.

53-09-08.  Liability of passengers.

  Any passenger is liable for loss or damages resulting from violation of the duties set forth in section 53-09-05 and shall not be able to recover from the ski area operator for any losses or damages when a violation of the duties set forth in section 53-09-05 is causally related to the loss or damage suffered by the passenger.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 9.

53-09-09.  Liability of skiers.

  Any skier is liable for loss or damages resulting from violation of the duties set forth in section 53-09-06 and shall not be able to recover from the ski area operator for losses or damages when the violation of the skier’s duty is causally related to the loss or damage suffered by the skier.

HISTORY: S.L. 1979, ch. 532, § 10.

 


North Carolina Skier Safety Act

North Carolina Skier Safety Act

General Statutes of North Carolina

CHAPTER 99C. ACTIONS RELATING TO WINTER SPORTS SAFETY AND ACCIDENTS

Go to the North Carolina Code Archive Directory

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 99C-1 (2013)

§ 99C-1. Definitions

When used in this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Competitor. — A skier actually engaged in competition or in practice therefor with the permission of the ski area operator on any slope or trail or portion thereof designated by the ski area operator for the purpose of competition.

(1a) Freestyle terrain. — Constructed and natural features in ski areas intended for winter sports including, but not limited to, terrain parks and terrain park features such as jumps, rails, fun boxes, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, and freestyle-bump terrain.

(2) Passenger. — Any person who is being transported or is awaiting transportation, or being conveyed on a passenger tramway or is moving from the disembarkation point of a passenger tramway or is in the act of embarking upon or disembarking from a passenger tramway.

(3) Passenger tramway. — Any device used to transport passengers uphill on skis or other winter sports devices, or in cars on tracks, or suspended in the air, by the use of steel cables, chains, belts or ropes. Such definition shall include such devices as a chair lift, J Bar, or platter pull, rope tow, and wire tow.

(4) Ski area. — All winter sports slopes, alpine and Nordic ski trails, freestyle terrain and passenger tramways, that are administered or operated as a ski area enterprise within this State.

(5) Ski area operator. — A person, corporation, or organization that is responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of the ski area.

(6) Skier. — Any person who is wearing skis or other winter sports devices or any person who for the purpose of skiing or other winter sports is on a designated and clearly marked winter sports slope, alpine or Nordic ski trail or freestyle terrain that is located at a ski area, or any person who is a passenger or spectator at a ski area.

(7) Winter sports. — Any use of skis, snowboards, snowshoes, or any other device for skiing, sliding, jumping, or traveling on snow or ice.

§ 99C-2. Duties of ski area operators and skiers

(a) A ski area operator shall be responsible for the maintenance and safe operation of any passenger tramway in his ski area and insure that such is in conformity with the rules and regulations prescribed and adopted by the North Carolina Department of Labor pursuant to G.S. 95-120(1) as such appear in the North Carolina Administrative Procedures Act. The North Carolina Department of Labor shall conduct certifications and inspections of passenger tramways.

A ski area operator’s responsibility regarding passenger tramways shall include, but is not limited to, insuring operating personnel are adequately trained and are adequate in number; meeting all standards set forth for terminals, stations, line structures, and line equipment; meeting all rules and regulations regarding the safe operation and maintenance of all passenger lifts and tramways, including all necessary inspections and record keeping.

(b) A skier shall have the following responsibilities:

(1) To know the range of the skier’s abilities to negotiate any ski slope or trail and to ski within the limits of such ability;

(2) To maintain control of the skier’s speed and course at all times when skiing and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and obvious hazards and inherent risks, including variations in terrain, snow, or ice conditions, bare spots and rocks, trees and other forms of forest growth or forest debris;

(3) To stay clear of snow grooming equipment, all vehicles, pole lines, lift towers, signs, snowmaking equipment, and any other equipment on the ski slopes and trails;

(4) To heed all posted information and other warnings and to refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to the injury of the skier or others;

(5) To wear retention straps, ski brakes, or other devices to prevent runaway skis or snowboards;

(6) Before beginning to ski from a stationary position or before entering a ski slope or trail from the side, to avoid moving skiers already on the ski slope or trail;

(7) To not move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while such person’s ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or by the use of any narcotic or other drug or while such person is under the influence of alcohol or any narcotic or any drug;

(8) If involved in a collision with another skier or person, to not leave the vicinity of the collision before giving his name and current address to an employee of the ski area operator, a member of the ski patrol, or the other skier or person with whom the skier collided, except in those cases when medical treatment is required; in which case, said information shall be provided as soon as practical after the medical treatment has been obtained. If the other person involved in the collision is unknown, the skier shall leave the personal identification required by this subsection with the ski area operator;

(9) Not to embark upon or disembark from a passenger tramway except at an area that is designated for such purpose;

(10) Not to throw or expel any object from a passenger tramway;

(11) Not to perform any action that interferes with the operation or running of a passenger tramway;

(12) Not to use such tramway unless the skier has the ability to use it with reasonable safety;

(13) Not to engage willfully or negligently in any type conduct that contributes to or causes injury to another person or his properties;

(14) Not to embark upon a passenger tramway without the authority of the ski area operator;

(15) If using freestyle terrain, to know the range of the skier’s abilities to negotiate the terrain and to avoid conditions and obstacles beyond the limits of such ability that a visible inspection should have revealed.

(c) A ski area operator shall have the following responsibilities:

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

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

(3) To indicate the relative degree of difficulty of a slope or trail by appropriate signs. Such signs are to be prominently displayed at the base of a slope where skiers embark on a passenger tramway serving the slope or trail, or at the top of a slope or trail. The signs must be of the type that have been approved by the National Ski Areas Association and are in current use by the industry;

(4) To post at or near the top of or entrance to, any designated slope or trail, signs giving reasonable notice of unusual conditions on the slope or trail;

(5) To provide adequate ski patrols;

(6) To mark clearly any hidden rock, hidden stump, or any other hidden hazard known by the ski area operator to exist;

(6a) To inspect the winter sports slopes, alpine and Nordic ski trails, and freestyle terrains that are open to the public at least twice daily and maintain a log recording: (i) the time of the inspection and the name of the inspector(s); and (ii) the general surface conditions, based on industry standards, for the entire ski area at the time of the inspections;

(6b) To post, in a conspicuous manner, the general surface conditions for the entire ski area twice daily; and

(7) Not to engage willfully or negligently in any type conduct that contributes to or causes injury to another person or his properties.

§ 99C-3. Violation constitutes negligence

A violation of any responsibility placed on the skier, passenger or ski area operator as set forth in G.S. 99C-2, to the extent such violation proximately causes injury to any person or damage to any property, shall constitute negligence on the part of the person violating the provisions of that section.

§ 99C-4. Competition

The ski area operator shall, prior to the beginning of a competition, allow each competitor a reasonable visual inspection of the course or area where the competition is to be held. The competitor shall be held to assume risk of all course conditions including, but not limited to, weather and snow conditions, course construction or layout, and obstacles which a visual inspection should have revealed. No liability shall attach to a ski area operator for injury or death of any competitor proximately caused by such assumed risk.

 


Ohio Skier Safety Act

Ohio Skier Safety Act

Page’s Ohio Revised Code Annotated:

TITLE 41.  LABOR AND INDUSTRY 

CHAPTER 4169.  SKI TRAMWAY BOARD

Go to the Ohio Code Archive Directory

ORC Ann. 4169.01  (2013)

§ 4169.01. Definitions

   As used in this chapter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Standard renewal procedure defined, RC § 4745.01.

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

OH Administrative Code

Department of commerce, ski tramway board —

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

Case Notes

ANALYSIS Go to ReleaseRelease Go to SnowboarderSnowboarder

Return to Topic ListRELEASE.

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

Return to Topic ListSNOWBOARDER.

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

§ 4169.02. Ski tramway board established

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

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

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

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

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

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

No person shall violate the rules of the board.

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

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

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

* * *

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

* * *

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

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

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

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

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ohio Constitution

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

OH Administrative Code

Department of commerce, ski tramway board —

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

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

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

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

Comparative Legislation

SAFETY IN SKIING:

NY–NY CLS Labor § 865 et seq

§ 4169.03. Registration of passenger tramway operators

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

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

   (2) Each skimobile, two hundred dollars;

   (3) Each chair lift, two hundred dollars;

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

   (5) Each rope tow, fifty dollars;

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

   (7) Each conveyor, one hundred dollars.

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

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

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

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

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Industrial compliance operating fund, RC § 121.084.

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ski tramway board established, RC § 4169.02.

Standard renewal procedure defined, RC § 4745.01.

OH Administrative Code

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

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

§ 4169.04. Inspections; report of violation

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

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

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

* * *

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

* * *

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

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

OH Administrative Code

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

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

§ 4169.05. Written complaint alleging violation

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

HISTORY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Related Statutes & Rules

Cross-References to Related Statutes

Penalty, RC § 4169.99.

Ohio Rules

Injunctions, CivR 65.

OH Administrative Code

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

§ 4169.07. Responsibilities of ski area operator and tramway passengers

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

OH Administrative Code

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

Case Notes

LIABILITY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(C) A skier shall have the following responsibilities:

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

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

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

OH Administrative Code

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

Case Notes

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

Return to Topic ListCOLLISIONS BETWEEN SKIERS.

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

Return to Topic ListCOMMON LAW DUTIES.

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

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

Return to Topic ListMAINTENANCE OF RAMP.

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

Return to Topic ListRENTING DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT.

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS

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

Case Notes

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

Return to Topic ListLIABILITY OF SKIERS.

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

Return to Topic ListRELEASE OF LIABILITY.

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

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

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

HISTORY:

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

NOTES:

Section Notes

Editor’s Notes

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

 


Oregon Skier Safety Act

Oregon Skier Safety Act

OREGON REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 3 REMEDIES AND SPECIAL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS 

Chapter 30 – Actions and Suits in Particular Cases 

SKIING ACTIVITIES 

GO TO OREGON REVISED STATUTES ARCHIVE DIRECTORY

ORS § 30.970 (2011)

30.970 Definitions for ORS 30.970 to 30.990.

    As used in ORS 30.970 to 30.990:

(1) “Inherent risks of skiing” includes, but is not limited to, those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of the sport, such as changing weather conditions, variations or steepness in terrain, snow or ice conditions, surface or subsurface conditions, bare spots, creeks and gullies, forest growth, rocks, stumps, lift towers and other structures and their components, collisions with other skiers and a skier’s failure to ski within the skier’s own ability.

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

(3) “Skier” means any person who is in a ski area for the purpose of engaging in the sport of skiing or who rides as a passenger on any ski lift device.

(4) “Ski area” means any area designated and maintained by a ski area operator for skiing.

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

HISTORY: 1979 c.665 § 1

NOTES OF DECISIONS

Where plaintiff did not argue to trial court that her injuries were caused by combination of inherent risk of skiing and operator negligence which would have made doctrine of comparative fault applicable, trial court did not err in instructing jury that if plaintiff’s injury was caused by inherent risk of skiing, plaintiff could not recover. Jessup v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 101 Or App 670, 792 P2d 1232 (1990), Sup Ct review denied

Vicarious liability of ski area operator for negligence of its employee is not removed solely by fact that employee is skier. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Or 328, 856 P2d 305 (1993)

CASE NOTES

1. When both an inherent risk and a ski area operator’s negligence contribute to a skier’s injury, the questions of liability and apportionment of fault are for the trier of fact. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 115 Ore. App. 27, 836 P.2d 770, 1992 Ore. App. LEXIS 1681 (1992), affirmed by, remanded by 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

2. It was error for trial court to submit jury instruction form in action brought under Oregon skiing activities law in which jury was instructed that if the injury, if any, was caused by an inherent risk of skiing which was reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary, its verdict must be for defendant; the skiing activities law contemplates the possibility that a skier’s injury might result in part from an inherent risk of skiing and in part from the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

3. Given statute’s reference to Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.600, the comparative negligence statute, the legislature contemplated the possibility that skier’s injury might result in part from and inherent risk of skiing and in part from the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

4. Skier is barred from recovery against ski area operator for injury caused solely by an inherent risk of skiing, but if injury is caused by a combination of inherent risk of skiing and operator negligence, doctrine of comparative fault would apply. Jessup v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 101 Ore. App. 670, 792 P.2d 1232, 1990 Ore. App. LEXIS 526 (1990), review denied by 310 Ore. 475, 799 P.2d 646 (1990).

5. Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.970 shields ski area operators from liability for collisions between customers, not from accountability for a collision caused by an employee’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 115 Ore. App. 27, 836 P.2d 770, 1992 Ore. App. LEXIS 1681 (1992), affirmed by, remanded by 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

30.975 Skiers assume certain risks.

    In accordance with ORS 31.600 and notwithstanding ORS 31.620 (2), an individual who engages in the sport of skiing, alpine or nordic, accepts and assumes the inherent risks of skiing insofar as they are reasonably obvious, expected or necessary.

HISTORY: 1979 c.665 § 2

NOTES OF DECISIONS

Where plaintiff did not argue to trial court that her injuries were caused by combination of inherent risk of skiing and operator negligence which would have made doctrine of comparative fault applicable, trial court did not err in instructing jury that if plaintiff’s injury was caused by inherent risk of skiing, plaintiff could not recover. Jessup v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 101 Or App 670, 792 P2d 1232 (1990), Sup Ct review denied

[Former] ORS 18.470 allows jury to consider comparative negligence of skier’s own or another’s negligence as well as inherent risk of skiing. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 115 Or App 27, 836 P2d 770 (1992), aff’d 317 Or 328, 856 P2d 305 (1993)

Collision between skier and ski instructor employed by ski area operator was not collision with another skier that skier accepts as inherent risk of skiing. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Or 328, 856 P2d 305 (1993)

Assumption of risk defense is available only to ski area operators. Stiles v. Freemotion, Inc., 185 Or App 393, 59 P3d 548 (2002), Sup Ct review denied

CASE NOTES

1. It was error for trial court to submit jury instruction form in action brought under Oregon skiing activities law in which jury was instructed that if the injury, if any, was caused by an inherent risk of skiing which was reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary, its verdict must be for defendant; the skiing activities law contemplates the possibility that a skier’s injury might result in part from an inherent risk of skiing and in part form the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

2. Or. Rev. Stat. § 30.975 insulates a defendant ski operator from liability resulting from the inherent risks of skiing and bars a plaintiff’s claim only if the injury is due solely to those inherent risks; to the extent that injury is due to negligence of a ski operator’s employees, this section does not bar a plaintiff’s recovery. Pierce v. Mt. Hood Meadows Oregon, Ltd., 118 Ore. App. 450, 847 P.2d 909, 1993 Ore. App. LEXIS 262 (1993), review denied by 317 Ore. 583, 859 P.2d 540 (1993).

3. Skier is barred from recovery against ski area operator for injury caused solely by an inherent risk of skiing, but if injury is caused by a combination of inherent risk of skiing and operator negligence, doctrine of comparative fault would apply. Jessup v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 101 Ore. App. 670, 792 P.2d 1232, 1990 Ore. App. LEXIS 526 (1990), review denied by 310 Ore. 475, 799 P.2d 646 (1990).

30.980 Notice to ski area operator of injury to skier; injuries resulting in death; statute of limitations; informing skiers of notice requirements.

    (1) A ski area operator shall be notified of any injury to a skier by registered or certified mail within 180 days after the injury or within 180 days after the skier discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, such injury.

(2) When an injury results in a skier’s death, the required notice of the injury may be presented to the ski area operator by or on behalf of the personal representative of the deceased, or any person who may, under ORS 30.020, maintain an action for the wrongful death of the skier, within 180 days after the date of the death which resulted from the injury. However, if the skier whose injury resulted in death presented a notice to the ski area operator that would have been sufficient under this section had the skier lived, notice of the death to the ski area operator is not necessary.

(3) An action against a ski area operator to recover damages for injuries to a skier shall be commenced within two years of the date of the injuries. However, ORS 12.160 and 12.190 apply to such actions.

(4) Failure to give notice as required by this section bars a claim for injuries or wrongful death unless:

(a) The ski area operator had knowledge of the injury or death within the 180-day period after its occurrence;

(b) The skier or skier’s beneficiaries had good cause for failure to give notice as required by this section; or

(c) The ski area operator failed to comply with subsection (5) of this section.

(5) Ski area operators shall give to skiers, in a manner reasonably calculated to inform, notice of the requirements for notifying a ski area operator of injury and the effect of a failure to provide such notice under this section.

HISTORY: 1979 c.665 § 3

CASE NOTES

1. It was error for trial court to submit jury instruction form in action brought under Oregon skiing activities law in which jury was instructed that if the injury, if any, was caused by and inherent risk of skiing which was reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary, its verdict must be for defendant; the skiing activities law contemplates the possibility that a skier’s injury might result in part from an inherent risk of skiing and in part from the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

30.985 Duties of skiers; effect of failure to comply.

    (1) Skiers shall have duties which include but are not limited to the following:

(a) Skiers who ski in any area not designated for skiing within the permit area assume the inherent risks thereof.

(b) Skiers shall be the sole judges of the limits of their skills and their ability to meet and overcome the inherent risks of skiing and shall maintain reasonable control of speed and course.

(c) Skiers shall abide by the directions and instructions of the ski area operator.

(d) Skiers shall familiarize themselves with posted information on location and degree of difficulty of trails and slopes to the extent reasonably possible before skiing on any slope or trail.

(e) Skiers shall not cross the uphill track of any surface lift except at points clearly designated by the ski area operator.

(f) Skiers shall not overtake any other skier except in such a manner as to avoid contact and shall grant the right of way to the overtaken skier.

(g) Skiers shall yield to other skiers when entering a trail or starting downhill.

(h) Skiers must wear retention straps or other devices to prevent runaway skis.

(i) Skiers shall not board rope tows, wire rope tows, j-bars, t-bars, ski lifts or other similar devices unless they have sufficient ability to use the devices, and skiers shall follow any written or verbal instructions that are given regarding the devices.

(j) Skiers, when involved in a skiing accident, shall not depart from the ski area without leaving their names and addresses if reasonably possible.

(k) A skier who is injured should, if reasonably possible, give notice of the injury to the ski area operator before leaving the ski area.

(L) Skiers shall not embark or disembark from a ski lift except at designated areas or by the authority of the ski area operator.

(2) Violation of any of the duties of skiers set forth in subsection (1) of this section entitles the ski area operator to withdraw the violator’s privilege of skiing.

HISTORY: 1979 c.665 § 4

CASE NOTES

1. It was error for trial court to submit jury instruction form in action brought under Oregon skiing activities law in which jury was instructed that if the injury, if any, was caused by an inherent risk of skiing which was reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary, its verdict must be for defendant; the skiing activities law contemplates the possibility that a skier’s injury might result in part from an inherent risk of skiing and in part form the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

30.990 Operators required to give skiers notice of duties.

    Ski area operators shall give notice to skiers of their duties under ORS 30.985 in a manner reasonably calculated to inform skiers of those duties.

HISTORY: 1979 c.665 § 5

1. It was error for trial court to submit jury instruction from in action brought under Oregon skiing activities law in which jury was instructed that if the injury, if any, was caused by an inherent risk of skiing which was reasonably obvious, expected, or necessary, its verdict must be for defendant; the skiing activities law contemplates the possibility that a skier’s injury might result in part from an inherent risk of skiing and in part from the skier’s own or another’s negligence. Nolan v. Mt. Bachelor, Inc., 317 Ore. 328, 856 P.2d 305, 1993 Ore. LEXIS 115 (1993).

1. 36 Willamette L. Rev. 83, COMMENT: CLEANING UP THE OREGON REVISED STATUTES: A MODEST PROPOSAL ON PUBLIC BODIES.

 


Pennsylvania Skier Safety Act

Pennsylvania Skier Safety Act

PENNSYLVANIA STATUTES, ANNOTATED BY LEXISNEXIS (R)

PENNSYLVANIA CONSOLIDATED STATUTES 

TITLE 42.  JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE 

PART VII.  CIVIL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS 

CHAPTER 71.  GENERAL PROVISIONS

Go to the Pennsylvania Code Archive Directory

42 Pa.C.S. § 7102  (2012)

§ 7102.  Comparative negligence.

(a)  General rule. –In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar a recovery by the plaintiff or his legal representative where such negligence was not greater than the causal negligence of the defendant or defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages sustained by the plaintiff shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff.

(a.1)  Recovery against joint defendant; contribution.

   (1) Where recovery is allowed against more than one person, including actions for strict liability, and where liability is attributed to more than one defendant, each defendant shall be liable for that proportion of the total dollar amount awarded as damages in the ratio of the amount of that defendant’s liability to the amount of liability attributed to all defendants and other persons to whom liability is apportioned under subsection (a.2).

   (2) Except as set forth in paragraph (3), a defendant’s liability shall be several and not joint, and the court shall enter a separate and several judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against each defendant for the apportioned amount of that defendant’s liability.

   (3) A defendant’s liability in any of the following actions shall be joint and several, and the court shall enter a joint and several judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant for the total dollar amount awarded as damages:

      (i) Intentional misrepresentation.

      (ii) An intentional tort.

      (iii) Where the defendant has been held liable for not less than 60% of the total liability apportioned to all parties.

      (iv) A release or threatened release of a hazardous substance under section 702 of the act of October 18, 1988 (P.L. 756, No. 108), known as the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

      (v) A civil action in which a defendant has violated section 497 of the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L. 90, No. 21), known as the Liquor Code.

   (4) Where a defendant has been held jointly and severally liable under this subsection and discharges by payment more than that defendant’s proportionate share of the total liability, that defendant is entitled to recover contribution from defendants who have paid less than their proportionate share. Further, in any case, any defendant may recover from any other person all or a portion of the damages assessed that defendant pursuant to the terms of a contractual agreement.

(a.2)  Apportionment of responsibility among certain nonparties and effect. –For purposes of apportioning liability only, the question of liability of any defendant or other person who has entered into a release with the plaintiff with respect to the action and who is not a party shall be transmitted to the trier of fact upon appropriate requests and proofs by any party. A person whose liability may be determined pursuant to this section does not include an employer to the extent that the employer is granted immunity from liability or suit pursuant to the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L. 736, No. 338), known as the Workers’ Compensation Act. An attribution of responsibility to any person or entity as provided in this subsection shall not be admissible or relied upon in any other action or proceeding for any purpose. Nothing in this section shall affect the admissibility or nonadmissibility of evidence regarding releases, settlements, offers to compromise or compromises as set forth in the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence. Nothing in this section shall affect the rules of joinder of parties as set forth in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b)  Recovery against joint defendant; contribution. –(Deleted by amendment).

(b.1)  Recovery against joint defendant; contribution. –(Unconstitutional).

(b.2)  Apportionment of responsibility among certain nonparties and effect. –(Unconstitutional).

(b.3)  Off-road vehicle riding.

   (1) Off-road vehicle riding area operators shall have no duty to protect riders from common, frequent, expected and nonnegligent risks inherent to the activity, including collisions with riders or objects.

   (2) The doctrine of knowing voluntary assumption of risk shall apply to all actions to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property brought against any off-road vehicle riding area operator.

   (3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed in any way to abolish or modify a cause of action against a potentially responsible party other than an off-road vehicle riding area operator.

(c)  Downhill skiing.

   (1) The General Assembly finds that the sport of downhill skiing is practiced by a large number of citizens of this Commonwealth and also attracts to this Commonwealth large numbers of nonresidents significantly contributing to the economy of this Commonwealth. It is recognized that as in some other sports, there are inherent risks in the sport of downhill skiing.

   (2) The doctrine of voluntary assumption of risk as it applies to downhill skiing injuries and damages is not modified by subsections (a) and (a.1).

(c.1)  Savings provisions. –(Unconstitutional).

(c.2)  Savings provisions. –Nothing in this section shall be construed in any way to create, abolish or modify a cause of action or to limit a party’s right to join another potentially responsible party.

(d)  Definitions. –As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

“Defendant or defendants.” –Includes impleaded defendants.

“Off-road vehicle.” –A motorized vehicle that is used off-road for sport or recreation. The term includes snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and four-wheel drive vehicles.

“Off-road vehicle riding area.” –Any area or facility providing recreational activities for off-road vehicles.

“Off-road vehicle riding area operator.” –A person or organization owning or having operational responsibility for any off-road vehicle riding area. The term includes:

   (1) Agencies and political subdivisions of this Commonwealth.

   (2) Authorities created by political subdivisions.

   (3) Private companies.

§ 2051.  Punitive damages for downhill skiing accidents

(a) LEGISLATIVE STATEMENT. –The General Assembly finds that the sport of downhill skiing is practiced by a large number of citizens of this Commonwealth and also attracts to this Commonwealth large numbers of nonresidents significantly contributing to the economy of this Commonwealth. It is recognized that, as in some other sports, there are inherent risks in the sport of downhill skiing. The law of this Commonwealth being unclear with regard to the insurability against punitive damages, the operators of downhill skiing areas face uncertainty in securing insurance to indemnify against downhill skiing accidents.

(b) INSURABILITY. –It is not against the public policy of this Commonwealth for an insurance company to insure the operator of a downhill skiing area against punitive damages, other than those punitive damages arising from an intentional tort committed by such operator.

(c) OTHER CASES. –Nothing herein contained shall be construed to change or amend the public policy of this Commonwealth with respect to the insurability against punitive damages in cases arising other than from downhill skiing.


Rhode Island Skier Safety Act

Rhode Island Skier Safety Act

General Laws of Rhode Island

TITLE 41.  SPORTS, RACING, AND ATHLETICS 

CHAPTER 8.  RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY OF SKI OPERATORS AND SKIERS

Go to the Rhode Island Code Archive Directory

R.I. Gen. Laws § 41-8-1  (2012)

§ 41-8-1. Duties of ski area operators

   It shall be the duty of a ski area operator to comply with the following requirements and regulations:

   (1) Whenever maintenance equipment is being employed upon any trail or slope while the trail or slope is open to the public, the ski operator shall place or cause to be placed, notice to that effect at or near the top of any tramway or surface lift servicing any trail or slope in the area being maintained.

   (2) The ski area operator shall also have the duty to maintain and to identify all trail maintenance vehicles and to furnish the vehicles with flashing or rotating lights, which lights shall be operated during the time that the vehicles are working the trails or slopes, and likewise during the time the vehicle is in movement from its normal and customary storage location to any other point within the ski area.

   (3) With respect to the emergency use of motor driven vehicles within the ski area, including, but not limited to, uses for purposes of removing injured or stranded skiers, or performing emergency maintenance or repair work to slopes, trails, or tramway equipment, the ski area operator shall not be required to post such signs as is required by subdivision (1), but shall be required to maintain such lighting equipment required by subdivision (2).

   (4) All snowmobiles operated on the trails or slopes of the ski area shall be equipped with a lighting device, which device shall be in operation while the vehicle is in operation.

   (5) The ski area shall likewise have the responsibility to mark the location of any hydrants used in snow making operations and located within or upon a slope or trail.

   (6) Ski area operators shall maintain and operate, or cause to be maintained and operated, the ski areas under the control in a reasonably safe condition or manner, and shall be required to maintain a sign system on all buildings, tramways, ski trails, and slopes.

§ 41-8-2. Duties of a skier

   (a) It shall be the duty of each skier to conduct himself or herself within the limitation of his or her ability, and to do no act or thing which can contribute to the injury of him or herself or others.

(b) No skier shall:

   (1) Embark or disembark upon a ski lift except at a designated area and during designated hours of operation;

   (2) Throw or expel any object from any tramway, ski lift, skimobile, or other similar device while riding on the device;

   (3) Act in any manner while riding on a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or similar device that may interfere with the proper or safe operation of the lift or tow;

   (4) Willfully engage in any type of conduct which may injure any person, or place any object in the uphill ski track which may cause another to fall, while traveling uphill on a ski lift; or

   (5) Cross the uphill track of a j-bar, t-bar, rope tow, wire rope tow, or other similar device except at designated locations.

(c) Every skier shall maintain control of his or her speed and course at all times, and shall stay clear of any snow grooming equipment, any vehicle, any lift tower, any snowmaking equipment, and any other equipment.

(d) A skier shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate any cross country track, trail, or slope.

(e) A skier shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate any downhill track, trail, or slope.

(f) Any skier who boards a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or other similar device, shall be presumed to have sufficient abilities to use the device, and shall follow any written or verbal instructions that are given regarding its use.

(g) A skier skiing downhill shall have the primary duty to avoid any collision with any other skier below him or her, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the responsibility for collisions by any skier with any other skier or person shall be solely that of the skier or skiers or person involved and not that of the operator;

(h) No spectators are to be allowed on areas specifically designated as skiing areas.

(i) Any person skiing on other than improved trails or slopes within the area shall be responsible for any injuries resulting from his or her action.

(j) Any skier embarking on a lift or tow without authority of the operator shall be guilty of trespassing.

(k) All skiers shall, prior to their entrance onto the trails or slopes, or embarking on any lift or tramway, have attached or on their skis, a device for the purpose of restraining or preventing a runaway ski.

(l) No skier shall ski on a slope or trail or portion thereof which has been designated closed, nor ski on other than identified trails, slopes, or trail areas.

(m) The primary responsibility for the collision with any obstruction, man made or otherwise, shall be that of the skier and not that of the operator.

(n) Any owner, manager, or employee of any ski area who finds a person in violation of this section, may first issue a verbal warning to that individual or suspend his or her recreational tramway privileges. Any person who fails to heed the warning issued by the owner or employee or agent of the operator shall forfeit his or her recreational tramway ticket and recreational tramway use privileges and be refused issuance of another ticket to the recreational tramway.

§ 41-8-3. Leaving the scene of an accident

   Any person who is involved in a skiing accident and who departs from the scene of the accident without leaving personal identification or otherwise clearly identifying himself or herself before notifying the proper authorities or obtaining assistance, knowing that any other person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($ 200).

§ 41-8-4. Severability

   The provisions of this chapter are severable, and if any of its provisions shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of the court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.

 

 


Tennessee Skier Safety Act

Tennessee Skier Safety Act

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 68  Health, Safety and Environmental Protection 

Safety 

Chapter 114  Ski Area Safety and Liability Act

GO TO THE TENNESSEE ANNOTATED STATUTES ARCHIVE DIRECTORY

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-114-101 (2012)

68-114-101.  Short title.

  This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Ski Area Safety and Liability Act.”

68-114-102.  Chapter definitions.

  As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1) “Industry” means generally the activities of all ski area operators;

   (2) “Passenger” means any person, while being transported or conveyed by a passenger tramway, or while waiting in the immediate vicinity for such transportation or conveyance, or while moving away from the disembarkation or unloading point of a passenger tramway to clear the way for the passengers following, or while in the act of boarding or embarking upon or disembarking from, a passenger tramway;

   (3) “Passenger tramway” means those devices described in American National Standards Institute Code § B 77.1 — 1973 and supplements to the code;

   (4) “Ski area” means all the ski slopes and ski trails and passenger tramways administered or operated as a single enterprise within this state;

   (5) “Ski area operator” means a person or organization having operational responsibility for any ski area, including an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state; and

   (6) “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 and who is using skis, a sled, a tube or a snowboard.

68-114-103.  Responsibility of skier and passenger.

  It is recognized that Alpine or downhill skiing as a recreational sport and the use of passenger tramways associated with Alpine or downhill skiing may be hazardous to skiers or passengers, regardless of all feasible safety measures that can be taken. Therefore, each skier and each passenger has the sole responsibility for knowing the range of the skier’s or passenger’s own ability to negotiate any slope, ski trail or associated passenger tramway, and it is the duty of each skier and passenger to conduct the skier or passenger within the limits of the skier’s or passenger’s own ability, to maintain control of the skier’s or passenger’s speed and course at all times while skiing, to heed all posted warnings and to refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute to the injury of the skier or passenger or others. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter, each skier or passenger is deemed to have assumed the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury to the skier’s or passenger’s person or property arising out of the skier’s or passenger’s participation in Alpine or downhill skiing or the use of any passenger tramways associated with Alpine or downhill skiing. The responsibility for collisions by any skier while actually skiing, with any person or object, shall be solely that of the skier or skiers involved in the collision and not that of the ski area operator.

8-114-104.  Violations.

  No passenger or skier shall:

   (1) Board or embark upon or disembark from a passenger tramway except at an area designated for that purpose;

   (2) Throw or expel any object from a passenger tramway;

   (3) Do any act that interferes with the running or operation of a passenger tramway;

   (4) Place any object in the uphill track of a surface lift that may cause a passenger to fall;

   (5) Except at designated locations, cross the uphill track of any surface lift; or

   (6) Ski on a slope or ski trail that has been designated “closed” as provided by this chapter.

68-114-105.  Tramways.

  The ski area operator shall have the primary responsibility for the design, construction, maintenance, and inspection of any passenger tramway. All passenger tramways shall be designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with standards of the American National Standards Institute § B 77.1 — 1973 and supplements to the standards. The operation of a passenger tramway shall be deemed not to be the operation of a common carrier.

68-114-106.  Signs and designations.

  It is the duty of the ski area operator to maintain the following signs and designations:

   (1) Base Stations.  (A) A color code is established in accordance with the following:

         (i) Green circle — To designate the ski area’s least difficult trails and slopes;

         (ii) Black diamond — To designate the ski area’s most difficult trails and slopes;

         (iii) Blue square — To designate the ski area’s trails and slopes that fall between the green circle and black diamond designations;

         (iv) Yellow triangle with red exclamation point inside with a red band around the triangle — To designate danger areas; and

         (v) Octagonal shape with red border around white interior with a black figure in the shape of a skier inside with a black band running diagonally across the sign from the upper right hand side to the lower left hand side with the word “closed” beneath the emblem — To designate a closed trail or slope; and

      (B) A trail board shall be maintained at one (1) or more prominent locations at each ski area displaying that area’s network of ski trails and slopes, with each trail and slope rated on the board in accordance with the color code in subdivision (1)(A) and containing a key to the code in accordance with the designations in subdivision (1)(A). The trail board shall further designate which ski trails and slopes are open and their condition; and

   (2) Trails or Slopes.  (A) The ski area operator shall conspicuously mark the top of each trail or slope with the appropriate symbol for that particular trail’s or slope’s degree of difficulty in accordance with this chapter. Those portions of the trails or slopes that are of extra hazardous nature or are closed shall be marked at the top with the appropriate symbol; and

      (B) Whenever maintenance personnel or equipment is being employed upon any trail or slope while such trail or slope is open to the public, the ski area operator shall place, or cause to be placed, a conspicuous notice to that effect at or near the top of such trail or slope.

68-114-107.  Actions against ski area operators — Insurance.

  (a) Unless a ski area operator is in violation of this chapter or other state acts pertaining to ski areas, which violation is causal of the injury complained of, no action shall lie against any such operator by any skier or passenger or representative of a skier or passenger; this prohibition shall not, however, prevent the maintenance of an action against a ski area operator for negligent design construction, or operation maintenance of the passenger tramway itself.

(b) Each ski area operator shall maintain liability insurance with limits of not less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) per occurrence, except that the insurance need not be maintained with respect to passenger tramways not open to the general public, operated without charge to the users of the tramway. This exception shall not apply, however, to passenger tramways operated by schools, ski clubs and other similar organizations.

(c) No action shall be maintained against any ski area operator for injuries to any skier or passenger, unless the action is commenced within one (1) year from the time of injury; provided, that as a condition precedent to an action, the ski area operator shall be notified by registered mail within ninety (90) days of the injury as to the alleged violation of this chapter or other acts pertaining to ski areas, unless the court finds under the circumstances of the particular case that the operator or any of its employees either had actual knowledge of the injury or had a reasonable opportunity to learn of the injury within the ninety-day period, or was otherwise not substantially prejudiced by reason of not having been given actual written notice of the injury within the period; provided, that in any case where lack of written notice, actual knowledge, or a reasonable opportunity to obtain knowledge of any injury within the ninety-day period is alleged by a ski area operator, the burden of proof shall be on the operator to show that it was substantially prejudiced by the lack of written notice, actual knowledge or opportunity to obtain knowledge.

 

TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

Title 68  Health, Safety and Environmental Protection 

Safety 

Chapter 121  Elevators, Dumbwaiters, Escalators, and Aerial Tramways

GO TO THE TENNESSEE ANNOTATED STATUTES ARCHIVE DIRECTORY

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-121-101 (2012)

68-121-101.  Chapter definitions.

  As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

   (1) “Aerial passenger tramways” means recreational transportation of passengers on devices that are usually referred to by the following names:

      (A) Reversible Aerial Tramways. That class of aerial passenger tramways and lifts in which the passengers are transported in carriers and are not in contact with the ground or snow surface, and in which the carriers reciprocate between terminals;

         (i) Single-Reversible Tramways. That type of reversible aerial tramway that has a single carrier, or single group of carriers, that moves back and forth between terminals on a single path of travel and is sometimes called “to-and-fro” aerial tramway; and

         (ii) Double-Reversible Tramways. That type of reversible aerial tramway that has two (2) carriers, or two (2) groups of carriers, that oscillate back and forth between terminals on two (2) paths of travel and is sometimes called “jig-back” tramway;

      (B) Aerial Lifts and Ski Mobiles. That class of aerial passenger tramways and lifts in which the passengers are transported in carriers and are not in contact with the ground or snow surface and in which the carriers circulate around a closed system and are activated by a wire rope or chain. The carriers usually make U-turns in the terminals and move along generally parallel and opposing paths of travel. The carriers may be open or enclosed cabins, cars, or platforms. The carriers may be fixed or detachable;

         (i) Gondola Lifts. That type of lift where the passengers are transported in open or enclosed cabins. The passengers embark and disembark while the carriers are stationary or moving slowly under a controlled arrangement;

         (ii) Chair Lifts. That type of lift where the passengers are transported in chairs, either open or partially enclosed;

         (iii) Ski Mobiles. That type of lift where the passengers are transported in open or enclosed cars that ride on a rigid structural system and are propelled by a wire rope or chain; and

         (iv) Similar Equipment. Lifts which utilize carrier configurations not specified in subdivision (1)(B)(i), (1)(B)(ii) or (1)(B)(iii), but do not require that the passenger remain in contact with the ground or snow surface;

      (C) Surface Lifts. That class of conveyance where the passengers are propelled by means of a circulating overhead wire rope while remaining in contact with the ground or snow surface. Transportation is limited to one (1) direction. Connection between the passengers and the wire rope is by means of a device attached to and circulating with the haul rope known as a “towing outfit”;

         (i) T-bar Lifts. That type of lift where the device between the haul rope and passengers forms the shape of an inverted “T,” propelling passengers located on both sides of the stem of the “T;”

         (ii) J-bar Lifts. That type of lift where the device between the haul rope and passenger is in the general form of a “J,” propelling a single passenger located on the one (1) side of the stem of the “J;”

         (iii) Platter Lifts. That type of lift where the device between the haul rope and passenger is a single stem with a platter or disc attached to the lower end of the stem, propelling the passenger astride the stem of the platter, or disc; and

         (iv) Similar Equipment. Lifts that utilize towing device configurations not specified in subdivision (1)(C)(i), (1)(C)(ii) or (1)(C)(iii), but require that passengers remain in contact with the ground or snow surface, and conform to the general description of this subdivision (1); and

      (D) Tows. That class of conveyance where the passengers grasp the circulating haul rope, a handle attached to the circulating haul rope, or attach a gripping device to the circulating haul rope and are propelled by the circulating haul rope. The passengers remain in contact with the ground or snow surface. The upward-traveling haul rope remains adjacent to the uphill track of the passengers and at an elevation that permits them to maintain their grasp on the haul rope, handle, or gripping device throughout that portion of the tow length that is designed to be traveled;

         (i) Fiber Rope Tow. A tow having a fiber, natural or synthetic, haul rope; and

         (ii) Wire Rope Tow. A tow having a metallic haul rope;

   (2) “Alteration” means any change or addition to the equipment other than ordinary repairs or replacement;

   (3) “Amusement device” means:

      (A) Any mechanical or structural device that carries or conveys a person, or that permits a person to walk along, around or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area, including the entrances and exits to the device, for the purpose of giving persons amusement, pleasure, thrills or excitement. “Amusement device” includes, but is not limited to, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, glasshouses, and walk-through dark houses;

      (B) “Amusement device” also includes:

         (i) Any dry slide over twenty feet (20′) in height excluding water slides; and

         (ii) Any portable tram, open car, or combination of open cars or wagons pulled by a tractor or other motorized device, except hay rides, those used solely for transporting patrons to and from parking areas, or those used for guided or educational tours, but that do not necessarily follow a fixed or restricted course; and

      (C) “Amusement device” does not include the following:

         (i) Devices operated on a river, lake, or any other natural body of water;

         (ii) Wavepools;

         (iii) Roller skating rinks;

         (iv) Ice skating rinks;

         (v) Skateboard ramps or courses;

         (vi) Mechanical bulls;

         (vii) Buildings or concourses used in laser games;

         (viii) All terrain vehicles;

         (ix) Motorcycles;

         (x) Bicycles;

         (xi) Mopeds;

         (xii) Go karts;

         (xiii) Bungee cord or similar elastic device;

         (xiv) An amusement device that is owned and operated by a nonprofit religious, educational or charitable institution or association, if the device is located within a building subject to inspection by the state fire marshal or by any political subdivision of the state under its building, fire, electrical and related public safety ordinances; and

         (xv) An amusement device that attaches to an animal so that while being ridden the path of the animal is on a fixed or restricted path;

   (4) “Board” means the elevator and amusement device safety board, created in § 68-121-102;

   (5) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of labor and workforce development;

   (6) “Complete elevator, dumbwaiter or escalator” means any elevator, dumbwaiter or escalator for which the plans and specifications and the application for the construction permit required by § 68-121-108 are filed on or after the effective date of the application of the rules and regulations adopted by the board as provided in § 68-121-103(a)(2). All other elevators, dumbwaiters and escalators shall be deemed to be existing installations;

   (7) “Department” means the department of labor and workforce development;

   (8) “Dormant elevator, dumbwaiter or escalator” means an elevator or dumbwaiter whose cables have been removed, whose car and counterweight rest at the bottom of the shaftway, and whose shaftway doors are permanently boarded up or barricaded on the inside, or an escalator whose main power feed lines have been disconnected;

   (9) “Dumbwaiter” means a hoisting and lowering mechanism equipped with a car that moves in guides in a substantially vertical direction, the floor area of which does not exceed nine square feet (9 sq. ft.), whose total compartment height does not exceed four feet (4′), the capacity of which does not exceed five hundred pounds (500 lbs.), and that is used exclusively for carrying freight. “Dumbwaiter” does not include a dormant dumbwaiter;

   (10) “Elevator” means a hoisting and lowering mechanism equipped with a car or platform that moves in guides in a substantially vertical direction and that serves two (2) or more floors of a building. “Elevator” also includes stairway inclined lifts and platform lifts for transportation of handicapped persons;

   (11) “Escalator” means a moving inclined continuous stairway or runway used for raising or lowering passengers;

   (12) “Freight elevator” means an elevator used primarily for carrying freight and on which only the operator and the persons necessary for loading and unloading are permitted to ride;

   (13) “Moving walks” means a moving runway for transporting passengers, where the passenger transporting surface remains parallel to its direction of motion and is uninterrupted;

   (14) “Operator” means a person or the agent of a person who owns or controls, or has the duty to control, the operation of an amusement device or related electrical equipment;

   (15) “Owner” means a person that owns, leases, controls or manages the operations of an amusement device and may include the state or any political subdivision of the state;

   (16) “Passenger elevator” means an elevator that is used to carry persons other than the operator and persons necessary for loading and unloading.

   (17) “Qualified inspector” means any person who is:

      (A) Found by the commissioner to possess the requisite training and experience in respect to amusement devices to perform competently the inspections required by this chapter;

      (B) Certified by the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) to have and maintain at least a level one certification; or

      (C) Is a member of, and certified by, the Amusement Industry Manufacturing and Suppliers (AIMS) and meets the qualifications established by the board;

   (18) “Related electrical equipment” means any electrical apparatus or wiring used in connection with amusement devices;

   (19) “Safety rules” means the rules and regulations governing rider conduct on an amusement device pursuant to § 68-121-125;

   (20) “Serious incident” means any single incident where any person or persons are immediately transported to a licensed off-site medical care facility for treatment of an injury as a result of being on, or the operation of, the amusement device; and

   (21) “Serious physical injury” means a patron’s personal injury immediately reported to the owner or operator as occurring on an amusement device and that results in death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement or other significant injury that requires immediate in-patient admission and twenty-four-hour hospitalization under the care of a licensed physician for other than medical observation.


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.

 


Vermont Skier Safety Act

Vermont Skier Safety Act

1 V.S.A. § 516 (2012)

§ 516. State sports

   The state winter sports shall be skiing and snowboarding.

 

VERMONT STATUTES ANNOTATED

TITLE TWELVE.  COURT PROCEDURE 

PART 2.  PROCEEDINGS BEFORE TRIAL 

CHAPTER 27.  PLEADING AND PRACTICE 

SUBCHAPTER 2.  PLEADINGS GENERALLY

§ 513. Skiing, injuries sustained while participating in sport of

   An action to recover for injuries sustained while participating in the sport of skiing shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrues, and not after.

12 V.S.A. § 1037 (2012)

§ 1037. Acceptance of inherent risks

   Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1036 of this title, a person who takes part in any sport accepts as a matter of law the dangers that inhere therein insofar as they are obvious and necessary.

§ 1038. Skiing off designated ski trails; collision; duty to report; recovery for rescue expenses

   (a) Use of ski area facilities. — No ski area, its owners, employees or agents shall be held responsible for ensuring the safety of or for damages, including injury or death, resulting to persons who utilize the facilities of a ski area to access terrain outside open and designated ski trails. Ski areas shall not be liable for damages, including injury or death, to persons who venture beyond such open and designated ski trails.

(b) Collision at a ski area.

   (1) Any person who is involved in a collision with a skier at a ski area which results in bodily injury to any party to the collision has a duty to provide his or her name and local and permanent address to the other parties to the collision and shall proceed to the ski area first aid facility and provide that information to the ski area first aid personnel.

   (2) No ski area, its employees or agents shall be held responsible for ensuring compliance with these duties by any person, nor shall it be liable in any way for a failure to obtain such person’s name or address.

(c) Civil action to recover. — A person who uses the facilities of a ski area to access terrain outside the open and designated ski trails, shall be liable in a civil action brought by any person, including a ski area, rescue organization, municipality or the state, to recover expenses incurred to provide rescue, medical or other services to such person for circumstances or injuries which resulted from such use. The entity seeking to recover may also recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs. No ski area, its owners, agents or employees, individual or entity, municipal or otherwise, shall be held liable for any acts or omissions taken in the course of such rescue operations unless such act or omission constitutes gross negligence.

 


Washington Skier Safety Act

Washington Skier Safety Act

ANNOTATED REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON

TITLE 70.  PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY 

CHAPTER 70.117.  SKIING AND COMMERCIAL SKI ACTIVITY

GO TO REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON ARCHIVE DIRECTORY

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 70.117.010 (2012)

§ 70.117.010. Ski area sign requirements

   Transferred.

§ 70.117.015. “Trails” or “runs” defined

   Transferred.

§ 70.117.020. Standard of conduct — Prohibited acts — Responsibility

   Transferred.

§ 70.117.025. Skiing outside of trails or boundaries — Notice of skier responsibility

   Transferred.

§ 70.117.030. Leaving scene of skiing accident — Penalty — Notice

   Transferred.

§ 70.117.040. Insurance requirements for operators

   Transferred.

§ 79A.45.010. Ski area sign requirements

   (1) The operator of any ski area shall maintain a sign system based on international or national standards and as may be required by the state parks and recreation commission.

All signs for instruction of the public shall be bold in design with wording short, simple, and to the point. All such signs shall be prominently placed.

Entrances to all machinery, operators’, and attendants’ rooms shall be posted to the effect that unauthorized persons are not permitted therein.

The sign “Working on Lift” or a similar warning sign shall be hung on the main disconnect switch and at control points for starting the auxiliary or prime mover when a person is working on the passenger tramway.

(2) All signs required for normal daytime operation shall be in place, and those pertaining to the tramway, lift, or tow operations shall be adequately lighted for night skiing.

(3) If a particular trail or run has been closed to the public by an operator, the operator shall place a notice thereof at the top of the trail or run involved, and no person shall ski on a run or trail which has been designated “Closed”.

(4) An operator shall place a notice at the embarking terminal or terminals of a lift or tow which has been closed that the lift or tow has been closed and that a person embarking on such a lift or tow shall be considered to be a trespasser.

(5) Any snow making machines or equipment shall be clearly visible and clearly marked. Snow grooming equipment or any other vehicles shall be equipped with a yellow flashing light at any time the vehicle is moving on or in the vicinity of a ski run; however, low profile vehicles, such as snowmobiles, may be identified in the alternative with a flag on a mast of not less than six feet in height.

(6) The operator of any ski area shall maintain a readily visible sign on each rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or other similar device, advising the users of the device that:

   (a) Any person not familiar with the operation of the lift shall ask the operator thereof for assistance and/or instruction; and

   (b) The skiing-ability level recommended for users of the lift and the runs served by the device shall be classified “easiest”, “more difficult”, and “most difficult”.

§ 79A.45.020. “Trails” or “runs” defined

   As used in this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

   “Trails” or “runs” means those trails or runs that have been marked, signed, or designated by the ski area operator as ski trails or ski runs within the ski area boundary.

§ 79A.45.030. Standard of conduct — Prohibited acts — Responsibility

   (1) In addition to the specific requirements of this section, all skiers shall conduct themselves within the limits of their individual ability and shall not act in a manner that may contribute to the injury of themselves or any other person.

(2) No person shall:

   (a) Embark or disembark upon a ski lift except at a designated area;

   (b) Throw or expel any object from any tramway, ski lift, commercial skimobile, or other similar device while riding on the device;

   (c) Act in any manner while riding on a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or similar device that may interfere with the proper or safe operation of the lift or tow;

   (d) Wilfully engage in any type of conduct which may injure any person, or place any object in the uphill ski track which may cause another to fall, while traveling uphill on a ski lift; or

   (e) Cross the uphill track of a j-bar, t-bar, rope tow, wire rope tow, or other similar device except at designated locations.

(3) Every person shall maintain control of his or her speed and course at all times, and shall stay clear of any snowgrooming equipment, any vehicle, any lift tower, and any other equipment on the mountain.

(4) A person shall be the sole judge of his or her ability to negotiate any trail, run, or uphill track and no action shall be maintained against any operator by reason of the condition of the track, trail, or run unless the condition results from the negligence of the operator.

(5) Any person who boards a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or other similar device shall be presumed to have sufficient abilities to use the device. No liability shall attach to any operator or attendant for failure to instruct the person on the use of the device, but a person shall follow any written or verbal instructions that are given regarding the use.

(6) Because of the inherent risks in the sport of skiing all persons using the ski hill shall exercise reasonable care for their own safety. However, the primary duty shall be on the person skiing downhill to avoid any collision with any person or object below him or her.

(7) Any person skiing outside the confines of trails open for skiing or runs open for skiing within the ski area boundary shall be responsible for any injuries or losses resulting from his or her action.

(8) Any person on foot or on any type of sliding device shall be responsible for any collision whether the collision is with another person or with an object.

(9) A person embarking on a lift or tow without authority shall be considered to be a trespasser.

§ 79A.45.040. Skiing outside of trails or boundaries — Notice of skier responsibility

   Ski area operators shall place a notice of the provisions of RCW 79A.45.030(7) on their trail maps, at or near the ticket booth, and at the bottom of each ski lift or similar device.

§ 79A.45.050. Leaving scene of skiing accident — Penalty — Notice

   (1) Any person who is involved in a skiing accident and who departs from the scene of the accident without leaving personal identification or otherwise clearly identifying himself or herself before notifying the proper authorities or obtaining assistance, knowing that any other person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) An operator shall place a prominent notice containing the substance of this section in such places as are necessary to notify the public.

§ 79A.45.060. Insurance requirements for operators

   (1) Every tramway, ski lift, or commercial skimobile operator shall maintain liability insurance of not less than one hundred thousand dollars per person per accident and of not less than two hundred thousand dollars per accident.

(2) Every operator of a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, or similar device shall maintain liability insurance of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars per person per accident and of not less than fifty thousand dollars per accident.

(3) This section shall not apply to operators of tramways that are not open to the general public and that are operated without charge, except that this section shall apply to operators of tramways that are operated by schools, ski clubs, or similar organizations.

§ 79A.45.070. Skiing in an area or trail closed to the public — Penalty

   A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person knowingly skis in an area or on a ski trail, owned or controlled by a ski area operator, that is closed to the public and that has signs posted indicating the closure.


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.)

§ 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”.

§ 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.

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

§ 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.

§ 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.

§ 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.

§ 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.

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

§ 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.

 

 

 

 

 

§ 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.

 

 

§ 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.

 


Georgia Ski Safety Act

Georgia Ski Safety Act

OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED

Copyright 2012 by The State of Georgia

TITLE 43. PROFESSIONS AND BUSINESSES

CHAPTER 43A. SNOW SKIING SAFETY

GO TO GEORGIA STATUTES ARCHIVE DIRECTORY

O.C.G.A. § 43-43A-1 (2012)

§ 43-43A-1. Definitions

As used in this chapter, the term:

(1) “Base area lift” means a passenger tramway to gain access to some other part of the ski area.

(2) “Competitor” means a skier engaging in competition or preparing for competition on a slope or trail designated by the ski area or used by the skier for the purpose of competition or training for competition.

(3) “Conditions of ordinary visibility” means all periods of daylight, and, when visibility is not restricted by weather or other atmospheric conditions, nighttime.

(4) “Inherent dangers and risks of skiing” means categories of danger or risks of skiing, or conditions of the sport of skiing that cause or can cause any injury, death, or property damage, including:

(A) Changing weather conditions;

(B) Surface and subsurface snow or ice conditions as they may exist or change from time to time, including variable conditions such as hard packed powder, packed powder, wind-blown snow, wind-packed snow, corn snow, crust slush, snow modified by skier use, or cut up snow; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions as they exist or may change as the result of weather changes or skier use; snow created by or resulting from snow making or snow grooming operations; or collisions or falls resulting from such conditions;

(C) Surface or subsurface conditions other than those specified in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, including dirt, grass, rocks, trees, stumps, other forms of forest or vegetative growth, stream beds, or other natural objects or debris; or collisions or falls resulting from such conditions;

(D) Collisions with: lift towers; components of lift towers; signs, posts, fences, mazes, or other enclosure devices; hydrants, pipes, or any other portions of snow making or snow delivery systems; snow grooming equipment or other over-snow vehicles marked or lighted as required by this chapter; or collisions with or falls resulting from any such structures or any other manmade structures or their components;

(E) Variations in surface, contour, or steepness of terrain, including, but not limited to, moguls, ski jumps, roads, depressions, water bars, and cat walks; other terrain changes or modifications which occur naturally or result from slope design or construction, snow making, snow grooming, maintenance operations, or skier use; or collisions with or falls resulting from such variations; and

(F) Collisions with other skiers unless such collisions are caused by the failure on the part of other skiers to conduct themselves in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(5) “Passenger” means a person who is lawfully being transported by a passenger tramway.

(6) “Passenger tramway” means any mechanical device used to transport passengers uphill, but such term does not include over-snow vehicles.

(7) “Ski area” means all snow ski slopes or trails and other places under the control of a ski area operator at a defined business location within this state.

(8) “Ski area operator” means an individual, partnership, corporation, or other commercial entity who owns, manages, or otherwise directs or has operational responsibility for any ski area.

(9) “Ski slopes or trails” means those areas open to the skiing public and designated by the ski area operator to be used by a skier. The designation may be generally set forth on trail maps and further designated by signage posted to indicate to the skiing public the intent that the areas be used by the skier for the purpose of skiing. Nothing in this paragraph implies that ski slopes or trails may not be restricted for use at the discretion of the ski area operator.

(10) “Skier” means any person who uses any part of a ski area for the purpose of skiing, snowboard skiing, or sliding or moving on any device other than a motorized device or any person except a passenger who uses any of the facilities of the ski area, including the ski slopes and trails.

(11) “Surface lift” means any passenger tramway that allows the skier’s sliding equipment to stay in contact with the skier and the snow during all of the uphill transportation.

§ 43-43A-2. Use of passenger tramway; passenger rules

(a) No passenger shall use a passenger tramway if the passenger does not have sufficient knowledge, ability, or physical dexterity to negotiate or use the facility safely unless and until the passenger has asked for and received information sufficient to enable the passenger to use the equipment safely. A passenger is required to follow any written, verbal, or other instructions that are given by ski area personnel regarding the use of the passenger tramway.

(b) No passenger shall:

(1) Attempt to enter, use, exit, or leave a passenger tramway except at a location designated by ski area signage for that purpose, except that, in the event of a stoppage of the passenger tramway, a passenger may exit under the supervision and direction of the operator or its representatives, or, in the event of an emergency, a passenger may exit in order to prevent an injury to the passenger or others;

(2) Throw, drop, or release any object from a passenger tramway except as directed by the operator or its representatives;

(3) Act in any manner that may interfere with the proper or safe operation of the passenger tramway or cause any risk, harm, or injury to any person;

(4) Place in an uphill track of any surface lift any object that may cause damage to property or injury to any person;

(5) Use or attempt to use any passenger tramway marked as closed; or

(6) Disobey any instructions posted in accordance with this chapter or any verbal or other instructions of the ski area operator or its lawful designee regarding the use of passenger tramways.

§ 43-43A-3. Sign system; inspection; explanation of signs and symbols; warning signs; degree of difficulty signs

(a) Each ski area operator shall maintain a sign system with information for the instruction of passengers and skiers. Signs must be in English and visible in conditions of ordinary visibility and, where applicable, lighted for nighttime passengers. Without limitation, the signs shall be posted:

(1) At or near the loading point of each passenger tramway, regardless of the type, advising all persons that if they are not familiar with the operation of the device, they must ask the operator of the device for assistance and instructions and that they must understand such instructions before they attempt to use the passenger tramway; and

(2) At or near the boarding area of each lift, setting forth the warning regarding inherent dangers and risks and duties as provided in this chapter.

(b) The ski area operator, before opening a passenger tramway to the public each day, shall inspect the passenger tramway for the presence and visibility of all required signs.

(c) The ski area operator shall post a sign visible to skiers who are proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift which shall depict and explain the following signs and symbols that a skier may encounter at the ski area:

(1) A green circle and the word “easier” designating the ski area’s least difficult trails and slopes;

(2) A blue square and the words “more difficult” designating the ski area’s trails and slopes that have a degree of difficulty that lies between the least difficult and most difficult trails and slopes;

(3) A black diamond and the words “most difficult” designating the ski area’s most difficult trails and slopes;

(4) Two black diamonds and the words “most difficult” designating a slope or trail which meets the description of “most difficult” but which is particularly challenging; and

(5) Crossed poles or other images clearly indicating that a trail or slope is closed and may not be used by skiers.

(d) If applicable, a warning sign shall be placed at or near the loading point of a passenger tramway indicating that it provides access to only “most difficult” or “more difficult” slopes or trails.

(e) The ski area operator shall place a sign at or near the beginning of each trail or slope indicating the relative degree of difficulty of that particular trail or slope.

§ 43-43A-4. Warning notice

(a) The ski area operator shall post and maintain signs that contain the following warning notice:

“WARNING: Under Georgia law, every skier accepts the risk of any injury or death and damage to property resulting from any of the inherent dangers or risks of skiing. The inherent dangers or risks of skiing, or conditions of the sport of skiing that cause or can cause injury, death, or property damage, include:

(1) Changing weather conditions;

(2) Surface and subsurface snow or ice conditions as they may exist or change from time to time, including variable conditions such as hard packed powder, packed powder, wind-blown snow, wind-packed snow, corn snow, crust slush, snow modified by skier use, or cut up snow; surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions as they exist or may change as the result of weather changes or skier use; snow created by or resulting from snow making or snow grooming operations; or collisions or falls resulting from such conditions;

(3) Surface or subsurface conditions other than those specified in paragraph (2), including dirt, grass, rocks, trees, stumps, other forms of forest or vegetative growth, stream beds, or other natural objects or debris; or collisions or falls resulting from such conditions;

(4) Collisions with: lift towers; components of lift towers; signs, posts, fences, mazes, or other enclosure devices; hydrants, pipes, or any other portions of snow making or snow delivery systems; snow grooming equipment or other over-snow vehicles marked or lighted as required by this chapter; or collisions with or falls resulting from any such structures or any other manmade structures or their components;

(5) Variations in surface, contour, or steepness of terrain, including, but not limited to, moguls, ski jumps, roads, depressions, water bars, and cat walks; other terrain changes or modifications which occur naturally or result from slope design or construction, snow making, snow grooming, maintenance operations, or skier use; or collisions with or falls resulting from such variations; and

(6) Collisions with other skiers.”

(b) A warning sign as described in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be placed:

(1) At the ski area in the location where lift tickets or ski school lessons are sold;

(2) In the vicinity of the uphill loading point of each base area lift; and

(3) At such other places as the ski area operator may select.

(c) Each sign required by subsection (a) of this Code section shall be no smaller than 3 feet by 3 feet and shall be white or yellow with black and red letters as specified in this subsection. The word “WARNING” shall appear on the sign in red letters. The warning notice specified in subsection (a) of this Code section shall appear on the sign in black letters with each letter being a minimum of one inch in height.

(d) Every passenger tramway ticket sold may contain the warning notice specified in subsection (a) of this Code section.

§ 43-43A-6. Revocation of skiing privileges

Each ski area operator, upon finding a person skiing in violation of any posted regulations governing skiing conduct, may revoke that person’s skiing privileges. This Code section shall not in any way be construed to create an affirmative duty on the part of the ski area operator to protect skiers from their own or other skiers’ careless or reckless behavior, including any skier’s violation of any duties set forth in this chapter.

§ 43-43A-7. Duties and responsibilities of each skier; assumption of risk

Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding:

(1) Each individual skier has the responsibility for knowing the range of his or her own ability to negotiate any ski slope or trail or any portion thereof and must ski within the limits of his or her ability. Each skier expressly accepts and assumes the risk of any injury or death or damage to property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, as set forth in this chapter; provided, however, that injuries sustained in a collision with another skier are not an inherent risk of the sport for purposes of this Code section;

(2) Each skier has the duty to maintain control of his or her speed and course at all times and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects, natural or manmade. The skier shall have the primary duty to avoid colliding with any persons or objects below him or her on the trail;

(3) No skier shall ski on a ski slope or trail that has been posted as closed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter;

(4) Each skier shall stay clear of all snow grooming or snow making equipment, vehicles, lift towers, signs, and any other equipment at the ski area;

(5) Each skier shall obey all posted information, warnings, and requirements and shall refrain from acting in any manner that might cause or contribute to the injury of the skier or any other person. Each skier shall be charged with having seen and understood all information posted as required or permitted in this chapter. Each skier shall locate and ascertain the meaning of all signs posted in accordance with this chapter;

(6) Each sliding device used by a skier shall be equipped with a strap or other device designed to help reduce the risk of any runaway equipment should it become unattached from the skier;

(7) No skier shall cross the uphill track of any surface lift device except at locations designated by the operator, nor shall any person place any object in the uphill track of such a device;

(8) Before beginning to ski from a stationary position, or before entering a ski slope or trail, the skier shall have the duty of yielding to moving skiers already using the slope or trail;

(9) No skier shall stop where he or she obstructs a trail or is not visible from higher on the slope or trail; and

(10) No skier shall board or use or attempt to board or use any passenger tramway of any type or use any ski slope or trail while that skier’s ability to do so is impaired by alcohol, drugs, or any controlled substance.


Arizona Ski Safety Statutes

Arizona Ski Safety Statutes

ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES

TITLE 5. Amusements and Sports

Chapter 7. Skiing

Article 1. General Provisions

Go to the Arizona Code Archive Directory

A.R.S. § 5-701 (2012)

§ 5-701. Definitions

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Base area lift” means a passenger tramway that skiers ordinarily use without first using another passenger tramway.

2. “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.

3. “Competitor” means a skier actually engaged in competition or in practice for competition with the permission of a ski area operator on any slope or trail or portion of any slope or trail designated for competition by the ski area operator.

4. “Conditions of ordinary visibility” means daylight and, if applicable, nighttime in nonprecipitating weather.

5. “Inherent dangers and risks of skiing” means those dangers or conditions that are an integral part of the sport of skiing, excluding acts of ordinary or gross negligence, or reckless or intentional conduct on the part of the ski area operator. Inherent dangers and risks of skiing include:

(a) Changing weather conditions.

(b) Existing and changing snow surface conditions, such as ice, hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up and machine-made snow.

(c) Surface or subsurface conditions, whether marked or unmarked, such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, trees or other natural objects.

(d) Impacts with lift towers, signs, posts, fences or other enclosures, hydrants, water pipes or other man-made structures and their components, whether marked or unmarked.

(e) Variations in steepness or terrain, including roads, catwalks and other terrain modifications, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snowmaking or grooming operations.

(f) Collisions with other skiers.

(g) The failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

6. “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, belts or ropes, usually supported by trestles or towers with one or more spans.

7. “Rope tow” means a mode of transportation that pulls a skier riding on skis as the skier grasps the rope with the skier’s hands.

8. “Ski area” means all ski slopes and trails or other places within the boundary of a ski area operator’s property, administered as a single enterprise in this state.

9. “Ski area operator” means any corporation, company, partnership, firm, association or other commercial entity, including a natural person, and its employees, agents, members, successors in interest, affiliates and assigns that have responsibility for the operations of a ski area.

10. “Ski Slopes and Trails” means those areas designated by a ski area operator for use by skiers for any of the purposes listed in paragraph 11.

11. “Skier” means a person using a ski area for the purpose of skiing or sliding downhill on snow or ice on skis, a toboggan, sled, tube, skibob or snowboard or any other device, using any of the facilities of a ski area, including ski slopes and trails, or observing any activities in a ski area as a sightseer or visitor.

12. “Surface lift” means a mode of transportation that pulls skiers riding on skis by means of attachment to an overhead cable supported by trestles or towers. Surface lift includes a J-bar, a T-bar, a platter pull and any similar device.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-702. Posting passenger information signs

A. A ski area operator shall maintain a sign system with concise, simple and pertinent information for the protection and instruction of people on a passenger tramway.

B. A ski area operator shall prominently display signs that are readable in conditions of ordinary visibility and, if applicable, that are adequately lighted for nighttime passengers, as follows:

1. At or near the loading point of each passenger tramway, rope tow and surface lift advising that any person not familiar with the operation of the tramway, rope tow or surface lift should ask ski area personnel for assistance and instruction.

2. In a conspicuous place at the loading area of each two-car or multicar passenger tramway that states the maximum capacity in pounds of the car and the maximum number of persons allowed in the car.

3. In the interior of each car in a two-car or multicar passenger tramway that states the maximum capacity in pounds of the car and the maximum number of persons allowed in the car and that gives instructions for procedures in the case of emergencies.

4. At all chair lifts stating the following:

(a) “Check for loose clothing and equipment”, which shall be posted ahead of the “prepare to unload” sign described in subdivision (c) of this paragraph.

(b) “Keep ski tips up” or “keep tips up”, which shall be posted ahead of any point where skis may come in contact with a platform or the snow surface while a skier is seated in the chair lift.

(c) “Prepare to unload”, which shall be posted at least fifty feet ahead of the unloading area.

(d) “Remove pole straps from wrists”, which shall be posted where applicable.

(e) “Stop gate”, which shall be posted where applicable.

(f) “Unload here”, which shall be posted at the point designated for unloading.

5. At all rope tows and surface lifts stating the following:

(a) “Check for loose clothing and equipment”, which shall be posted ahead of the “prepare to unload” sign described in subdivision (b) of this paragraph.

(b) “Prepare to unload”, which shall be posted at least fifty feet ahead of each unloading area.

(c) “Remove pole straps from wrists”, which shall be posted where applicable.

(d) “Safety gate”, “stay in tracks” or “stop gate”, which shall be posted where applicable.

(e) “Unload here”, which shall be posted at the point designated for unloading or where applicable.

C. At the operator’s discretion a ski area operator may post additional signs not required by subsection B.

D. Before opening a passenger tramway to the public each day, a ski area operator shall inspect the tramway for the presence of the signs required by subsection B or that are posted pursuant to subsection C.

E. The extent of the responsibility of a ski area operator under this section is to post and maintain the signs required by subsection B and to maintain any signs posted pursuant to subsection C. It is a rebuttable presumption that all passengers and skiers saw and understood the signs if evidence exists that the signs required by subsection B or that are posted pursuant to subsection C were posted and the signs were maintained.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-703. Posting ski information signs

A. A ski area operator shall maintain a sign and marking system with concise, simple and pertinent information for the protection and instruction of skiers. The signs required by this section shall be readable in conditions of ordinary visibility and, if applicable, that are adequately lighted for nighttime skiers.

B. A ski area operator shall place a sign that depicts and explains signs and symbols that skiers may encounter in the ski area in a position where all skiers who are proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift will see the sign. The sign shall depict and explain at least the following signs and symbols:

1. A green circle and the word “easier”, which designates the least difficult ski slopes and trails of the ski area.

2. A blue square and the words “more difficult”, which designates the ski slopes and trails of the ski area that have a degree of difficulty between the least difficult and most difficult slopes and trails.

3. A black diamond and the words “most difficult”, which designates the most difficult ski slopes and trails of the ski area.

4. A figure in the shape of a skier with a band running diagonally from corner to corner of the sign with the word “closed” printed beneath the emblem.

C. If applicable, a ski area operator shall place a sign at or near the loading point of a passenger tramway that states one of the following:

1. If the tramway transports passengers only to the more difficult or most difficult ski slopes and trails in the ski area, the sign shall state: “WARNING: This lift services ‘more difficult’ (blue square emblem) and ‘most difficult’ (black diamond emblem) slopes and trails only.”.

2. If the tramway transports passengers only to the most difficult ski slopes and trails in the ski area, the sign shall state: “WARNING: This lift services ‘most difficult’ (black diamond emblem) slopes and trails only.”.

D. If a ski area operator closes a ski slope or trail or a portion of a ski slope or trail to the public, the operator shall place a sign notifying skiers that the slope or trail or portion of the slope or trail is closed at each identified entrance to the slope or trail or closed portion of the slope or trail. In lieu of placing a sign at each identified entrance, the ski area operator may close off the entrance with rope or fences.

E. A ski area operator shall place a sign at or near the beginning of each ski slope or trail that contains the appropriate symbol of the relative degree of difficulty of that slope or trail as set forth in subsection B. The requirements of this subsection do not apply to a ski slope or trail that is designated “easier” if a skier may substantially view the slope or trail in its entirety before beginning to ski the slope or trail.

F. A ski area operator shall mark the ski area boundaries that are designated on the trail map.

G. A ski area operator shall mark all ski lift tickets and season passes that the operator sells or makes available to skiers with the following in clearly readable print:

WARNING: Under Arizona law, a skier accepts the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including changing weather conditions, existing and changing snow surface conditions, surface or subsurface conditions, whether marked or unmarked, collisions with natural or man-made objects, whether marked or unmarked and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

H. A ski area operator shall post and maintain signs where ski lift tickets and ski school lessons are sold and in a location that is clearly visible to skiers who are proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift that state the following in clearly readable print:

WARNING—IMPORTANT: Under Arizona law, a skier accepts the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing. Some of these risks are listed on your lift ticket or season pass. Please review your ticket or pass and ask the ski area personnel for more information.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-704. Additional duties of ski area operators

A. If maintenance equipment is being used to maintain or groom any ski slope or trail that a ski area operator has not designated as closed pursuant to section 5-703, subsection D, the ski area operator shall place a conspicuous notice at or near the beginning of the slope or trail and at any entrance points to the slope or trail that notifies skiers about the presence of the equipment.

B. All snowmobiles operated on the ski slopes or trails of a ski area shall be equipped with at least the following:

1. One lighted head lamp.

2. One lighted red tail lamp.

3. A red or orange flag that is at least forty square inches in size and that is mounted at least five feet above the bottom of the tracks.

C. A ski area operator has no duties to any skier who skis beyond the designated boundaries of the ski area.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-705. Duties of skiers in any action against the ski area operator

In any civil action brought by a skier against a ski area operator, the duties of a skier shall be as follows:

1. At all times a skier has the sole responsibility to know the range of the skier’s own ability to negotiate a ski slope or trail and to ski within the limits of that ability. A skier expressly accepts the total risk of and all legal responsibility for injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.

2. Before using a chair lift, passenger tramway, rope tow or surface lift, a skier shall have the knowledge and ability to safely load, ride and unload from the device.

3. A skier shall maintain control of the skier’s speed and course at all times when skiing and shall maintain a proper lookout to enable the skier to avoid collisions with other skiers and with natural and man-made objects, whether marked or unmarked.

4. A skier shall avoid snow maintenance and grooming equipment, vehicles, lift towers, signs and other equipment located on ski slopes and trails.

5. A skier shall heed all posted information, signs and other warnings and shall refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute to the injury of the skier or other persons or property. A skier is presumed to have seen and understood all signs and notices posted pursuant to sections 5-702, 5-703 and 5-704. Under conditions of decreased visibility, the duty rests on the skier to locate and ascertain the meaning of all the signs and notices.

6. A skier shall only use skis, snowboards and other equipment that have been equipped with a functional strap or other device designed to reduce the risk of runaway equipment.

7. A skier shall not ski on a ski slope or trail or a portion of a ski slope or trail that a ski area operator has designated as closed pursuant to section 5-703, subsection D.

8. A skier shall not begin to ski from a stationary position or enter a ski slope or trail from the side unless the skier is able to avoid colliding with moving skiers already on the ski slope or trail.

9. A skier shall not cross the uphill track or place any object in the uphill track of a rope tow or surface lift except at locations that have been designated for crossing by a ski area operator.

10. A skier shall not move uphill on any passenger tramway or use any ski slope or trail while the skier’s ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or by the use of any narcotic or other drug.

11. A skier involved in a collision with another skier that results in an injury shall not leave the vicinity of the collision before giving the skier’s name and current address to an employee of the ski area operator or a member of a paid or voluntary ski patrol. This paragraph does not prohibit a skier from leaving the scene of a collision to secure first aid for a person who is injured in the collision. If a skier leaves the scene of a collision to secure first aid, the skier shall leave the skier’s name and current address as required by this paragraph after securing the first aid.

12. A skier shall not knowingly enter the public or private lands of an adjoining ski area if the owner of that land has closed that land to skiers and the landowner or the ski area operator has designated the adjoining land as closed.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-706. Release of liability

In any action brought by a skier against a ski area operator, if the ski area operator proves that the skier signed a valid release, the ski area operator’s liability shall be determined by the terms of the release.

History: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997

§ 5-707. Competition

A. Before the beginning of any competition, a ski area operator shall allow any competitor a reasonable visual inspection of the course or area where the competition is to be held.

B. A competitor accepts the risk of all course conditions, including weather and snow conditions, course construction or layout and obstacles that a visual inspection immediately before the run could have revealed.

C. In any action brought by a competitor against any ski area operator, if the ski area operator proves that the participant in the competition signed a valid release, the ski area operator’s liability shall be determined by the terms of the release.

HISTORY: Last year in which legislation affected this section: 1997


Alaska Ski Safety Statute

Alaska Ski Safety Statute

TITLE 5. AMUSEMENTS AND SPORTS

CHAPTER 45. SKI LIABILITY, SAFETY, AND RESPONSIBILITY

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Alaska Stat. § 05.45.010 (2013)

Sec. 05.45.010. Limitation on actions arising from skiing

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may not bring an action against a ski area operator for an injury resulting from an inherent danger and risk of skiing.

History: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

Notes Applicable To Entire Title

Revisor’s Notes.—The provisions of this title were redrafted in 1985 to remove personal pronouns pursuant to § 4, ch. 58, SLA 1982, and in 1981, 1985, 1989, 1994, and 2004 to make other minor word changes.

Notes Applicable To Entire Chapter

Cross References.—For safety, inspection and regulation of recreational devices, see AS 05.20; for legislative findings and purpose in connection with the enactment of this chapter, see § 1, ch. 63, SLA 1994 in the Temporary and Special Acts.

Sec. 05.45.020. Effect of violations

(a) A ski area operator or other person who violates a requirement of this chapter, a provision of a plan of operation prepared under AS 05.45.040, or a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under AS 05.20.070 is negligent and civilly liable to the extent the violation causes injury to a person or damage to property.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of AS 09.17.080,

(1) the limitation of liability described under AS 05.45.010 is a complete defense in an action against a ski area operator for an injury if an inherent danger or risk of skiing is determined to be a contributory factor in the resulting injury, unless the ski area operator has violated a requirement of this chapter, a provision of a plan of operation prepared under AS 05.45.040, or a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under AS 05.20.070;

(2) a violation of the passenger duties imposed under AS 05.45.030 or skier duties imposed under AS 05.45.100 is a complete defense in an action against a ski area operator if the violation is determined to be a contributory factor in the resulting injury, unless the ski area operator has violated a requirement of this chapter, a provision of a plan of operation prepared under AS 05.45.040, or a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under AS 05.20.070.

(c) If the ski area operator is determined to have violated a requirement of this chapter, a provision of a plan of operation prepared under AS 05.45.040, or a regulation adopted by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under AS 05.20.070, the provisions of AS 09.17.080 apply in an action against a ski area operator for an injury resulting from the violation.

History: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

Notes: Revisor’s Notes.—In 1999, “Department of Labor” was changed to “Department of Labor and Workforce Development” in each subsection in accordance with § 90, ch. 58, SLA 1999.

User Note: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.030. Duties of passengers

(a) A passenger may not board a tramway if the passenger does not have

(1) sufficient physical dexterity or ability and knowledge to negotiate or use the facility safely; or

(2) the assistance of a person authorized by the ski area operator to assist a skier.

(b) A passenger may not

(1) embark upon or disembark from a tramway except at a designated area unless reasonably necessary to prevent injury to the passenger or others; this paragraph does not apply if the tramway stops and the operator assists the passengers to disembark from the tramway;

(2) intentionally throw or expel an object from a tramway while riding on the tramway, except as permitted by the operator;

(3) act while riding on a tramway in a manner that may interfere with proper or safe operation of the tramway;

(4) engage in conduct that may contribute to or cause injury to a person;

(5) intentionally place in an uphill track of a J-bar, T-bar, platter pull, rope tow, or another surface lift an object that could cause another skier to fall;

(6) embark upon a tramway marked as closed;

(7) disobey instructions posted in accordance with this chapter or oral instructions by the ski area operator regarding the proper or safe use of a tramway unless the oral instructions are contrary to this chapter or contrary to posted instructions.

History: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

User Note: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.040. Required plan and patrol by ski area operators

(a) A ski area operator shall prepare a plan of operation for each ski season and shall implement the plan throughout the ski season. A plan of operation must include written provisions for ski patrol, avalanche control, avalanche rescue, grooming procedures, tramway evacuation, hazard marking, missing person procedures, and first aid. Before the operation of the ski area for that season, the plan shall be reviewed and approved by the commissioner of natural resources except that if an agency of the United States manages the land on which the ski area operates, the plan shall be reviewed and approved by that agency. The commissioner of natural resources may require a ski area operator to pay a fee not to exceed the department’s cost of reviewing the plan, and may adopt regulations to implement this subsection.

(b) A ski area operator shall provide a ski patrol whose members meet or exceed the training standards of the National Ski Patrol System, Inc. This subsection does not apply to a ski area if the operator transports skiers using only a single tramway consisting of a rope tow, the rope tow does not transport skiers more than 500 vertical feet, and the ski area is operated by a nonprofit corporation or a municipality. In this subsection, “nonprofit corporation” means a corporation that qualifies for exemption from taxation under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3) or (4) (Internal Revenue Code).

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the state and the commissioner of natural resources are not civilly liable for damages resulting from an act or omission in reviewing, approving, or disapproving a plan of operation under (a) of this section.

History: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

User Note: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.050. Required signs for tramways; duties of operators

(a) A ski area operator who operates a tramway shall maintain a sign system with concise, simple, and pertinent information for the protection and instruction of passengers. Signs shall be prominently placed on each tramway, readable in conditions of ordinary visibility, and where applicable adequately lighted for nighttime passengers. Signs shall be posted

(1) at or near the loading point of each tramway, regardless of the type, advising that a person not familiar with the operation of the device must ask the operator of the device for assistance and instruction;

(2) in the interior of each two-car and multicar tramway showing

(A) the maximum capacity in pounds of the car and the maximum number of passengers allowed;

(B) instructions for procedures in emergencies;

(3) in a conspicuous place at each loading area of two-car and multicar tramways stating the maximum capacity in pounds of the car and the maximum number of passengers allowed;

(4) at all chair lifts stating the following:

(A) “Prepare to Unload,” which shall be located not less than 50 feet ahead of the unloading area;

(B) “Keep Ski Tips Up,” which shall be located ahead of any point where the skis may come in contact with a platform or the snow surface;

(C) “Unload Here,” which shall be located at the point designated for unloading;

(D) “Stop Gate,” which shall be located where applicable;

(E) “Remove Pole Straps from Wrists,” which shall be located prominently at each loading area;

(F) “Check for Loose Clothing and Equipment,” which shall be located before the “Prepare to Unload” sign;

(5) at all J-bars, T-bars, platter pulls, rope tows, and any other surface lift, stating the following:

(A) “Remove Pole Straps from Wrists,” which shall be placed at or near the loading area;

(B) “Stay in Tracks,” “Unload Here,” and “Safety Gate,” which shall be located where applicable;

(C) “Prepare to Unload,” which shall be located not less than 50 feet ahead of each unloading area;

(6) near the boarding area of all J-bars, T-bars, platter pulls, rope tows, and any other surface lift, advising passengers to check to be certain that clothing, scarves, and hair will not become entangled with the lift;

(7) at or near the boarding area of all lifts, stating the skier’s duty set out in AS 05.45.100(c)(2).

(b) Signs not specified by (a) of this section may be posted at the discretion of the ski area operator.

(c) A ski area operator, before opening the tramway to the public each day, shall inspect the tramway for the presence and visibility of the signs required by (a) of this section.

(d) A ski area operator shall post and maintain signs that are required by (a) of this section in a manner that they may be viewed during conditions of ordinary visibility.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)JHMoss

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.060. Required signs for trails and slopes; duties of operators

(a) A ski area operator shall maintain a sign and marking system as required in this section in addition to that required by AS 05.45.050. All signs required by this section shall be maintained so as to be readable and recognizable under conditions of ordinary visibility.

(b) A ski area operator shall post a sign recognizable to skiers proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift that depicts and explains signs and symbols that the skier may encounter at the ski area. The sign must include the following:

(1) the least difficult trails and slopes, designated by a green circle and the word “easier”;

(2) the most difficult trails and slopes, designated by a black diamond and the words “most difficult”; trails intended for expert skiers may be marked with a double black diamond and the words “expert only”;

(3) the trails and slopes that have a degree of difficulty that falls between the green circle and the black diamond designation, designated by a blue square and the words “more difficult”;

(4) danger areas designated by a red exclamation point inside a yellow triangle with a red band around the triangle and the word “danger” printed beneath the emblem;

(5) closed trails or slopes designated by a sign with a circle or octagon around a figure in the shape of a skier with a band running diagonally across the sign from the upper right-hand side to the lower left-hand side and with the word “closed” printed beneath the emblem.

(c) If applicable, a sign shall be placed at or near the loading point of each tramway as follows:

WARNING: This lift services (most difficult) or (most difficult and more difficult) or (more difficult) slopes only.

(d) If a particular trail or slope or portion of a trail or slope is closed to the public by a ski area operator, the operator shall place a sign notifying the public of that fact at each identified entrance of each portion of the trail or slope involved. A slope without an entrance defined by terrain or forest growth may be closed with a line of signs in a manner readily visible to skiers under conditions of ordinary visibility. This subsection does not apply if the trail or slope is closed with ropes or fences.

(e) A ski area operator shall

(1) place a sign at or near the beginning of each trail or slope, which must contain the appropriate symbol of the relative degree of difficulty of that particular trail or slope as described in (b) of this section; this paragraph does not apply to a slope or trail designated “easier” that to a skier is substantially visible in its entirety under conditions of ordinary visibility before beginning to ski the slope or trail;

(2) mark the ski area boundaries in a fashion readily visible to skiers under conditions of ordinary visibility;

(3) mark that portion of the boundary with signs as required by (b)(5) of this section if the owner of land adjoining a ski area closes all or part of the land and notifies the ski area operator of the closure;

(4) mark hydrants, water pipes, and all other man-made structures on slopes and trails that are not readily visible to skiers under conditions of ordinary visibility from a distance of at least 100 feet and adequately and appropriately cover man-made structures that create obstructions with a shock absorbent material that will lessen injuries; any type of marker is sufficient, including wooden poles, flags, or signs, if the marker is visible from a distance of 100 feet and if the marker itself does not constitute a serious hazard to skiers; in this paragraph, “man-made structures” does not include variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snow making, grooming operations, roads and catwalks, or other terrain modifications;

(5) mark exposed forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, trees, or other natural objects that are located on a slope or trail that is regularly used by skiers or that is regularly packed and prepared by a ski area operator using a snow vehicle and attached implements and that are not readily visible to skiers under conditions of ordinary visibility from a distance of at least 100 feet;

(6) mark roads, catwalks, cliffs, or other terrain modifications that are not readily visible to skiers under conditions of ordinary visibility from a distance of at least 100 feet;

(7) post and maintain signs that contain the warning notice specified in (g) of this section; the notice shall be placed in a clearly visible location at the ski area where lift tickets and ski school lessons are sold and in a position to be recognizable as a sign to skiers proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift; the signs may not be smaller than three feet by three feet and must be white with black and red letters as specified in this paragraph; the word “WARNING” must appear on the sign in red letters; the warning notice specified in this paragraph must appear on the sign in black letters with each letter to be a minimum of one inch in height.

(f) A ski lift ticket sold or made available for sale to skiers by a ski area operator must contain in clearly readable print the warning notice specified in (g) of this section.

(g) The signs described in (e)(7) of this section and the lift tickets described in (f) of this section must contain the following warning notice:

WARNING

Under Alaska law, the risk of an injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing rests with the skier. Inherent dangers and risks of skiing include changing weather conditions; existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots, rocks, stumps and 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.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.070. Other duties of ski area operators

(a) A ski area operator shall equip a motorized snow-grooming vehicle with a light visible at any time the vehicle is moving on or in the vicinity of a ski slope or trail.

(b) When maintenance equipment is being employed to maintain or groom a ski slope or trail while the ski slope or trail is open to the public, the ski area operator shall place a conspicuous notice regarding the maintenance or grooming at or near the top of that ski slope or trail.

(c) A motor vehicle operated on the ski slope or trails of a ski area shall be equipped with at least

(1) one lighted head lamp;

(2) one lighted red tail lamp;

(3) a brake system maintained in operable condition; and

(4) a fluorescent flag at least 40 square inches mounted at least six feet above the bottom of the tracks.

(d) A ski area operator shall make available at reasonable fees, instruction and education regarding the inherent danger and risk of skiing and the duties imposed on skiers under this chapter. Notice of the availability of the instruction and education required under this subsection shall be placed in a clearly visible location at the ski area where lift tickets and ski school lessons are sold, in a position to be recognizable as a sign to skiers proceeding to the uphill loading point of each base area lift, and printed on equipment rental agreements.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.080. Skiers outside marked boundaries

A ski area operator does not have a duty arising out of the operator’s status as a ski area operator to a skier skiing beyond the area boundaries if the boundaries are marked as required by AS 05.45.060(e)(2).

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.090. Reckless skiers; revocation of skiing privileges

(a) A ski area operator shall develop and maintain a written policy covering situations involving reckless skiers, including a definition of reckless skiing, procedures for approaching and warning skiers regarding reckless conduct, and procedures for taking action against reckless skiers, including revocation of ski privileges. A ski area operator shall designate ski patrol personnel responsible for implementing the ski area operator’s policy regarding reckless skiers.

(b) A ski area operator, upon finding a person skiing in a careless and reckless manner, may revoke that person’s skiing privileges. This section may not be construed to create an affirmative duty on the part of the ski area operator to protect skiers from their own or from another skier’s carelessness or recklessness.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.100. Duties and responsibilities of skiers

(a) A skier is responsible for knowing the range of the skier’s own ability to negotiate a ski slope or trail and to ski within the limits of the skier’s ability. A skier is responsible for an injury to a person or property resulting from an inherent danger and risk of skiing, except that a skier is not precluded under this chapter from suing another skier for an injury to person or property resulting from the other skier’s acts or omissions. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the risk of a skier’s collision with another skier is not an inherent danger or risk of skiing in an action by one skier against another.

(b) A skier has the duty to maintain control of the skier’s speed and course at all times when skiing and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid other skiers and objects. However, a person skiing downhill has the primary duty to avoid collision with a person or object below the skier.

(c) A skier may not

(1) ski on a ski slope or trail that has been posted as “closed” under AS 05.45.060(b)(5) and (d);

(2) use a ski unless the ski is equipped with a strap or other device capable of stopping the ski should the ski become unattached from the skier;

(3) cross the uphill track of a J-bar, T-bar, platter pull, or rope tow except at locations designated by the operator, or place an object in an uphill track;

(4) move uphill on a tramway or use a ski slope or trail while the skier’s ability is impaired by the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance as defined in AS 11.71.900 or other drug;

(5) knowingly enter upon public or private land from an adjoining ski area when the land has been closed by an owner and is posted by the owner or by the ski area operator under AS 05.45.060(e)(3).

(d) A skier shall stay clear of snow grooming equipment, vehicles, lift towers, signs, and other equipment on the ski slopes and trails.

(e) A skier has the duty to heed all posted information and other warnings and to refrain from acting in a manner that may cause or contribute to the injury of the skier or others. Evidence that the signs required by AS 05.45.050 and 05.45.060 were present, visible, and readable at the beginning of a given day creates a presumption that all skiers using the ski area on that day have seen and understood the signs.

(f) Before beginning to ski from a stationary position or before entering a ski slope or trail from the side, a skier has the duty to avoid moving skiers already on the ski slope or trail.

(g) Except for the purpose of securing aid for a person injured in the collision, a skier involved in a collision with another skier or person that results in an injury may not leave the vicinity of the collision before giving the skier’s name and current address to the other person involved in the collision and to an employee of the ski area operator or a member of the voluntary ski patrol. A person who leaves the scene of a collision to obtain aid shall give the person’s name and current address as required by this subsection after obtaining aid.

(h) A person who violates a provision of (c) or (g) of this section is guilty of a violation as defined in AS 11.81.900. The commissioner of natural resources, a person designated by the ski area operator who is authorized by the commissioner, or an employee of the Department of Natural Resources authorized by the commissioner may issue a citation in accordance with the provisions of AS 41.21.960 to a person who violates (c) or (g) of this section within a ski area.

(i) The supreme court shall establish by rule or order a schedule of bail amounts that may be forfeited without a court appearance for a violation of (c) or (g) of this section.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994; am §§ 1, 2 ch 64 SLA 2004)

NOTES: EFFECT OF AMENDMENTS.—The 2004 amendment, effective September 14, 2004, deleted “over which the state has jurisdiction” at the end of subsection (h), and added subsection (i).

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.110. Competition; immunity for ski area operator

(a) The ski area operator shall, before the beginning of a ski competition, allow an athlete who will ski in the competition a reasonable visual inspection of the course or area where the competition is to be held.

(b) An athlete skiing in competition assumes the risk of all course or area conditions, including weather and snow conditions, course construction or layout, and obstacles that a visual inspection would have revealed. A ski area operator is not liable for injury to an athlete who skis in competition and who is injured as a result of a risk described in this subsection.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.120. Use of liability releases

(a) A ski area operator may not require a skier to sign an agreement releasing the ski area operator from liability in exchange for the right to ride a ski area tramway and ski in the ski area. A release that violates this subsection is void and may not be enforced.

(b) Notwithstanding (a) of this section, a ski area operator may

(1) require a special event coach, participant, helper, spectator, or rental customer to sign an agreement releasing the ski area operator from liability in exchange for the right to coach, participate, assist in, or observe the special event; or

(2) use a release agreement required by a third party as a condition of operating a rental program or special event at the ski area.

(c) In this section, “special event” means an event, pass, race, program, rental program, or service that offers competition or other benefits in addition to a ticket representing the right to ride a ski area tramway and ski on the ski slopes or trails, whether or not additional consideration is paid.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.

Sec. 05.45.200. Definitions

In this chapter,

(1) “base area lift” means a tramway that skiers ordinarily use without first using some other tramway;

(2) “conditions of ordinary visibility” means daylight or, where applicable, nighttime, in nonprecipitating weather;

(3) “inherent danger and risk of skiing” means a danger or condition that is an integral part of the sport of skiing, including changing weather conditions; snow conditions as they exist or may change, including ice, hard pack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn, crust, slush, cut-up snow, and machine-made snow; surface or subsurface conditions including bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streams, streambeds, and trees, or other natural objects, and collisions with natural objects; impact with lift towers, signs, posts, fences or enclosures, hydrants, water pipes, other man-made structures, and their components; variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or as a result of slope design, snowmaking or grooming operations, including roads and catwalks or other terrain modifications; collision with other skiers; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities; the term “inherent danger and risk of skiing” does not include the negligence of a ski area operator under AS 05.45.020, or acts or omissions of a ski area operator involving the use or operation of ski lifts;

(4) “injury” means property damage, personal injury, or death;

(5) “passenger” means a person who is lawfully using a tramway;

(6) “ski area” means all downhill ski slopes or trails and other places under the control of a downhill ski area operator; “ski area” does not include a cross-country ski trail;

(7) “ski area operator” means a person having operational responsibility for a downhill ski area, and includes an agency of the state or a political subdivision of the state;

(8) “skier” means an individual using a downhill ski area for the purpose of

(A) skiing;

(B) sliding downhill on snow or ice on skis, a toboggan, a sled, a tube, a ski-bob, a snowboard, or another skiing or sliding device; or

(C) using any of the facilities of a ski area, including ski slopes and trails;

(9) “ski slopes or trails” means those areas designated by a ski area operator to be used by a skier;

(10) “tramway” means a device that is a passenger tramway, aerial or surface lift, ski lift, or rope tow regulated under AS 05.20.

HISTORY: (§ 2 ch 63 SLA 1994)

USER NOTE: For more generally applicable notes, see notes under the first section of this article, chapter or title.