State law, pass waivers protect ski resort companies
March 18, 2013
Editor’s note: This is a portion of a series by the Denver Post investigating ski area liability. The Vail Daily will run the series throughout the week. To read this story in its entirety, go to http://www.denverpost.com.
Colorado ski operators, protected by state law and further insulated by season-pass waivers, have escaped liability for such incidents as an in-bounds avalanche, a ski instructor running into a 9-year-old, and a decaying bridge injuring a skier.
In the 34 years since Colorado’s Ski and Safety Act was passed to protect mom-and-pop ski areas from lawsuits and soaring insurance costs, multibillion-dollar real-estate-development companies have come to own many of the state’s 25 resorts.
Yet not only do they continue to enjoy protections under the ski act, season-pass waivers release them from additional negligence claims and require the person who sues them to reimburse their attorney fees and costs, a Denver Post review of 30 years of lawsuits found. In the few lawsuits that do move forward, skiers and snowboarders are limited to a $250,000 cap for noneconomic damages.