Skier v. Snowmobile

by

Robinette v. Snowmass Ski Area (Colorado)
(Federal District Court Rules in Favor of Ski Resort in a Collision Case Based Upon Release)

The Aspen Daily News published an article today discussing the recent decision of a U.S. District Court Judge in Denver Colorado. The article can be found here: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/134580

As noted in the article, the release signed by the injured skier affected his private right to sue the resort for the injuries that he suffered when he collided with the snowmobile being driven by an employee of the resort.  The release covered “all claims of any sort whatsoever arising out of or related to [his] use of the facilities, ski area and lifts” and the document indicated that the skier assumed “all risks of sking/riding.”

Plaintiff’s counsel indicated that there will be an appeal based upon the argument that the release should not protect the facility from the employee who was riding the snowmobile in violation of state law.

NOTE: The article indicates that the snowmobile did not have a flashing siren-like light to warn skiers of its approach and that the rider was in violation of several aspects of the facility’s snowmobile safety manual. The “violation of law” aspect of the case could be interesting if a true violation can be identified. The courts certainly disfavor alleviating specific statutory protections for the public. As for violations of the safety manual, these were presumably negligent violations, which probably should be covered by the release so long as it is found to encompass negligence liability.

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