Colorado Supreme Court ends decade-long fight over teen skier’s death in Vail inbounds avalanche |

Colorado Supreme Court ends decade-long fight over teen skier’s death in Vail inbounds avalanche

Taft Conlin was killed in an avalanche on Prima Cornice in 2012. His family argued for years that Vail Mountain failed to properly close the run when slide danger was high.

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
The top entrance to the Prima Cornice run at Vail Mountain. The run, a double black diamond, is loaded with challenges including very steep terrain, cliffs and very tight tree skiing before it opens into a steep mogul run towards the bottom. On January 22, 2012, a group of young skiers entered the Prima Cornice run, which was closed at the top entrance, from a lower entrance and triggered an in-bounds avalanche which killed 13-year-old Taft Conlin.

The Colorado Supreme Court has denied an appeal by the family of a 13-year-old skier killed in an inbounds avalanche in 2012 at Vail ski area.

The court’s denial to hear the case effectively ends a nearly 10-year fight by the parents of Taft Conlin. Louise Ingalls and Steve Conlin argued that Vail ski area should have done more to close the Prima Cornice run that slid and swept their son through dense trees. The Eagle teen and several friends had entered an open lower gate on the run on Jan. 12, 2012, but sidestepped up a ridge to terrain below a closed upper gate.

An Eagle County District Court jury in June 2018 ruled Vail had properly closed the upper run. Ingalls and Conlin argued skiers for years had sidestepped up that ridge and the boundaries of the closure were unclear. They argued the ski area violated the Ski Safety Act by not closing both entrances to Prima Cornice. The case was one of the few times the venerable Ski Safety Act was tested in a jury trial. Most every lawsuit challenging the legislation is dismissed well before trial.

The parents appealed the district court ruling and promised that any money collected from their negligence lawsuit would go toward a scholarship in their son’s name.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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