Tort Law

Ski resorts have no liability for avalanches, Colorado Supreme Court rules

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Ski resorts in Colorado are protected from liability for avalanches because they are an inherent risk of skiing, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

The 5-2 decision is a loss for Salyndra Fleury, whose husband died in a January 2012 avalanche at the Winter Park ski area, report the Denver Post and the Associated Press. Lawyers for Fleury argued the ski run should have been closed on the day of Christopher Norris’ death because of a high danger for avalanches.

The court interpreted a Colorado law that protects ski resorts from liability for “snow conditions as they exist or may change.”

Lawyer Jim Heckbert represented Fleury. He told the Denver Post the decision won’t affect another pending case in which he represents the family of a 13-year-old boy, Tate Conlin, killed the same day in an avalanche at Vail. The Vail case includes an allegation that the ski resort intended to close a ski trail because of avalanche risk, but closed only one of two gates to the trail.

“That means it is for the jury to decide if Vail violated its statutory duty to close all entrances to a trail it intended to close,” Heckbert said.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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