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Ruling allows resort's waiver for injury or death liability

Do you and your family go skiing every year when the snows start covering the slopes?

Before you trust yourself (or anybody you love) to the care of the resort you choose, however, take a moment to read the ticket that the ski resort has you purchase for the slopes, the ski lift and anything else you plan on doing while you're there.

If it's anything like the waiver or "indemnification clause" used by a Colorado ski resort, you may want to rethink your hobby -- or at least where you pursue it.

In essence, an appeals court has held the extreme waiver of liability that was micro-printed on the back of a ski-lift ticket at the Colorado resort is enforceable -- even though it basically holds the resort liable for absolutely nothing. The waiver has some lengthy language, but it amounts to some basic facts for anyone daring to purchase a ticket to the ski lift:

  • You can be wounded, maimed or killed due to the absolute negligence of anybody working for the resort and you can't sue.
  • You agree to pay all of the resorts legal costs for their defense against your lawsuit if you do try to sue them.

At issue was an accident that was suffered by an adult woman from Florida. Not only was she a beginner, but her instructor wasn't certified yet to teach -- although the Florida woman didn't know that.

As she was being lifted to the beginner's slope by the ski lift, which is an older model and not considered as safe as newer ones in use elsewhere, the lift caught on her boot. The lift's operator didn't stop the lift -- likely because the resort discourages operators from doing so because of wear-and-tear on the machine and the fact it irritates other riders. He simply slowed it down, which lead to a severe fracture in the woman's leg.

She's had multiple surgeries to correct it, lost close to two million in current and future income from her professional practice and will probably never walk properly again -- and now she has to pay the resort's legal fees for its defense.

Before you agree to any dangerous activity, make sure you realize what sort of waiver you might be agreeing to -- otherwise, your ability to recover for personal injuries caused by negligence may be sharply limited.

Source: www.westword.com, "Keystone Ski Area Ruling Says Resort's Off the Hook If You're Injured, Killed," Michael Roberts, Jan. 16, 2018

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