Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most popular winter activities, so much so that some people can’t wait for summer to be over so they can get back on the hill. The double-edged sword of these winter sports is that they are dangerous for the same reasons that they are exciting. As with any dangerous pastime, injuring yourself on the ski hill is a possibility that you acknowledge when undertaking the activity.
The most common cause of skiing and snowboarding injuries is overexerting yourself, or doing runs or maneuvers that are beyond your abilities. One of the most important parts of a good ski hill experience is knowing what runs are appropriate for your skill level. Without this knowledge, you can get stuck on runs that are dangerous for you, where the possibility of injury increases exponentially. At the base level, your safety is your responsibility, because at the end of the day, you are the one who will experience the consequences of your actions.
That being said, there are some instances when you can file a claim against a resort, after getting hurt while skiing or snowboarding. These are instances that fall outside of the ‘inherent risk’ that you accept when skiing or snowboarding.
What this means is that, if you are injured outside of normal ski/snowboard activities, you may have a legitimate claim. This doesn’t apply to your reckless behavior, but it does apply to places where the resort or its employees have been negligent, such as the following.
Injury Sustained From Ski Patroller or Resort Employee: While you cannot file a claim against a ski hill because of a fall on your own or a collision with another skier/snowboarder, you are allowed to bring action against a resort if you are injured when a ski patroller or ski school instructor hits you on the hill. The patroller/instructor must be skiing or snowboarding in a dangerous manner, and you cannot sue if you’re the one at fault, but their connection to the resort means that these collisions go beyond the ‘inherent risk’ of going down a ski hill. This instance also applies to cases where a ski school instructor leads you down a run that is far beyond your skill level, and you injure yourself on the run.
Malfunctioning Equipment or Poor Conditions: There is plenty of heavy machinery required to make a ski hill run efficiently and effectively. From snow machines to snowmobiles to chairlifts, there’s plenty to watch out for on the hill. All of this machinery can be dangerous, with the possibility of bringing harm to you. If you are injured by some machinery, you can bring a claim against the resort, as long as you were obeying the hill rules while skiing or taking the chairlift. The same applies to the case of faulty machinery, as it is outside the ‘inherent risk’ undertaken on the ski hill.
Off-The-Hill Injury: While you accept the ‘inherent risk’ of skiing or snowboarding while on the hill, off the hill, regular negligence laws apply to all resort property. This includes injuries sustained by slipping or tripping on sidewalks or walkways, employee negligence, and any of the other issues that regular businesses must be conscious of. If you are injured on resort property while not skiing or snowboarding, you do not accept any of the inherent risks that using the hill entails. It is the resort’s responsibility to ensure that they keep conditions safe for all guests, including all cases of employee negligence.
It’s important to always be safe on the ski hill. If you’re following all of the rules and still get injured, you may have a claim against the resort. Contact Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel today, and one of our team members will help you figure out if the resort takes any responsibility for what happened to you.
During these unprecedented times EPIC LAW will remain open and operating consistent with government restrictions and safety mandates. Our physical office will be closed to the public, but our attorneys will be working remotely and will be checking telephone and email messages daily. If you need to contact us for a case evaluation, or to provide an update on your case, please hit the “Contact Us” link or email the EPIC attorney at the addresses below.