Skiing is a wonderful pastime where individuals can enjoy the outdoors and get in some exercise. To ensure the safety of all skiers, guidelines have been put in place in Colorado. If these rules are not adhered to properly, a fatal accident may not be far behind.
In 2011, a Colorado mother sued the city of Steamboat Springs because of her son’s death. She claims that his death was due to the top of an Alpine Slide area not being closed properly. The case has been halted until a final decision can be made as to whether or not the city has waived its government immunity. Currently, the city is appealing the original decision where it was ruled that its government immunity was waived due to the evidence presented in the case.
The final decision will be based on whether or not the lack of a rope across the area in proximity of where the man died was a design issue or a maintenance issue. If the lack of rope in the area is ultimately deemed to have created a dangerous condition, then the city’s immunity will continue to be waived. On the other hand, if the lack of a rope is determined to be a problem with the design, the immunity will be allowed.
According to the city, the area in question had been closed indefinitely. The city also claims that all other precautions in the area’s vicinity should have indicated that the area was not open. The plaintiff’s defense says that the area should have been marked off completely with signs and ropes according to the Ski Safety Act.
No matter which way this case turns out, a skier has died in the process. The final decision may set a precedent for how runs are marked off in the future in an attempt to prevent another fatal accident. Colorado skiers should feel safe knowing that the areas that they are allowed to use are clearly designated. Families of a deceased skier may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim in civil court if there is evidence that negligence contributed to the dangerous conditions that caused the victim’s’ death.
Source: steamboattoday.com, Howelsen Hill skier death case has oral arguments before Colorado Court of Appeals, Michael Schrantz, Jan. 30, 2014