Correction: The previous title stated that the defendant is countersuing when in fact he’s filed a “non-party designation”
At first glance, 72 year-old Michael Sura is not your everyday spring chicken looking to channel his inner Bode Miller. Yet that’s exactly what he’s being accused of doing after colliding with a volunteer skier at Aspen Snowmass back on April 7, 2016.
Sura was served with a lawsuit last December that claims he was skiing out of control prior to crashing into adaptive skiing instructor and Santa Fe resident, Stuart Pendleton during a National Disabled Veterans Sports Clinic. The lawsuit alleges that Sura was skiing “at a fast and uncontrolled speed” on the Mick’s Gulley trail before he slammed into Pendleton.
Pendleton was helping a bi-skier recover from a minor fall when the collision occurred.
In response to the lawsuit, Sura has since filed a motion that places blame on Aspen Skiing Co, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Disabled American Veterans, along with three other entities in what is commonly referred to as a “non-party designation.”
According to the Aspen Times, the designation claims that the volunteers at the event were insufficiently trained and even goes so far as to suggest that Aspen Skiing Co didn’t do enough to raise awareness about the presence of disabled skiers on the mountain that day. With the designation filed, the burden now lies on the defense to prove that the parties involved are to blame for the collision.
Witnesses and friends of the defendant claim the original lawsuit is way off base, telling The Aspen Times that Sura was known for skiing in control and that the bi-skier and Pendleton were positioned in a dangerous spot. “It was a blind spot. We almost ran over him,” said a friend of Sura’s who was skiing with him at the time.
The Aspen local suffered a broken ankle that required surgery and months of rehabilitation. The plaintiff also suffered a broken ankle and was treated in Grand Junction for the injury.
Find the entire Aspen Times article here: Sued skier blames Aspen Skiing Co., veterans group for Snowmass crash