Firm News

Recent Court Ruling Increases Risks for Colorado Skiers

By Heidi Culbertson

February 15, 2021  

Burg Simpson Shareholder Peter Burg Interviewed by Channel 7 TV News on the Recent Court Ruling that Increases Risks for Colorado Skiers

A ruling from the Colorado Court of Appeals regarding the waivers printed on lift-tickets and season-passes has raised concern among many of our state’s personal injury lawyers and victim advocates.

The court of appeals decision in the Charlotte Redden v. Clear Creek Skiing Corporation case, by a 2-1 vote in favor of Clear Creek Skiing, provides ski resorts with almost unlimited immunity when skiers and snowboarders obtain an annual pass or day tickets which contain small print waivers of liability and exculpatory provisions.

In the Redden case, which was filed in 2016, the plaintiff was injured while exiting a ski lift at Loveland Ski Area when she was blocked by another skier who fell while exiting the lift in front of Redden. She claimed negligence on the part of the ski resort due to the lift operator not slowing or stopping the lift to avoid the accident.

The court decision means when a skier or snowboarder agrees to the waiver that allows them on the ski slopes in Colorado, they are essentially releasing the ski resort from liability from injuries, including those arising from the operation of chair lifts and gondolas.

This is particularly concerning since the legislature as part of the Ski Safety Act, enacted after the 1976 Vail gondola failure killed 4 people, placed safety requirements upon ski areas related to the operation of lifts which protections now appear to be discarded by waiver language included in small print on virtually every ski pass, lift ticket, or ski area equipment rental agreement.

Burg Simpson shareholder and personal injury attorneys, Peter Burg, Jim Heckbert, and others have represented skiers and snowboarders injured on Colorado’s ski slopes. In a recent TV interview, Peter Burg pointed out that this decision brings greater risks of injury for everyone riding ski lifts or gondolas in the state while limiting the ability to hold ski resorts accountable for their negligent conduct.

“I think it’s really important that skiers understand they are now at risk anytime they get on a chair lift,” Burg said. “I’m appalled. I’m frightened.”

Peter Burg, who is representing a family whose father died last year while riding a chair lift at Vail, was among several lawyers interviewed about the impacts of the Redden decision in a recent Channel 7 news story.

See the Channel 7 TV News Segment here.

 

 

 

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