Vail Resort Says Teen's Negligence Caused Own Ski Death

Vail Resort Says Teen's Negligence Caused Own Ski Death

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Vail Resort Says Teen's Negligence Caused Own Ski Death

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vaildaily.com – Taft Conlin was 13 when an avalanche on Prima Cornice killed him last January. Conlin’s parents sued the ski company, claiming their son died because the company’s negligence created an “avalanche trap” that killed him.

The ski company filed its answer Monday afternoon in Broomfield County District Court, claiming Conlin caused his own death.

“Taft Conlin was negligent and such negligence was either the sole, or a contributing cause,” Vail Resorts said in its response.

In their response, the ski company claimed there is an Upper Prima Cornice trail, and a Lower Prima Cornice Trail, and that Taft climbed from one to the other before the avalanche killed him.

Vail’s trail map makes no such distinction, said Jim Heckbert, an attorney with Burg Simpson, who is representing Taft’s parents, Dr. Louise Ingalls and Dr. Stephen Conlin.

Vail’s line in the snow?

On Jan. 22, 2012, around 1 p.m., Conlin was on telemark skis when he and five young skiers entered the lower Prima Cornice area through an open gate looking for fresh snow, according to a Colorado Avalanche Information Center report.

A rope blocked the gate at the top of the Prima Cornice run.

Several others had skied onto Prima Cornice that Sunday, after one of last winter’s rare storms dropped new snow, the report said.

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