Karen E. Crummy
The Denver Post

Parents of skier who died in slide claim Vail Ski Patrol gave false testimony

Vail's ski patrol director led a state agency to believe the resort had conducted avalanche mitigation work on the Prima Cornice trail in the weeks leading up to an avalanche that killed 13-year-old Taft Conlin — but the work was never done, according to the director's own deposition testimony.

Additionally, another skier on that run, as well as screen shots from Conlin's helmet camera recorded minutes before he died, appear to contradict documents and testimony from two ski patrollers who said they did cornice kicking — a type of avalanche control — on the trail between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. that day.

The depositions, obtained by The Denver Post, are part of a lawsuit brought by Conlin's parents against The Vail Corp. Their lawyer filed a motion Wednesday to add a claim for punitive damages, alleging there is "substantial evidence" that Vail's employees have given "false testimony and have altered documents after the avalanche" and that ski patrol, despite knowing there was "a substantial risk of an avalanche" on Prima Cornice, did not use avalanche-control measures.

Kelly Ladyga, vice president of Vail corporate communications, said Wednesday evening that safety and protecting every guest is the ski patrol's No. 1 one priority.

"The suggestion that any member of Vail Ski Patrol lied or deliberately misled (a state agency) or anyone else is baseless and absolutely false," she said.

To read this article in its entirety, click http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24278230/parents-skier-who-died-slide-claim-patrol-gavetarget="_blank">http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_24278230/parents-skier-who-died-slide-claim-patrol-gave

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The VailDaily Updated Oct 10, 2013 12:49PM Published Oct 14, 2013 11:27AM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.