Mount Snow Sued After Death Allegedly Caused By 'Snowmaking Whale'

Mount Snow Sued After Death Allegedly Caused By 'Snowmaking Whale'


Mount Snow Sued After Death Allegedly Caused By 'Snowmaking Whale'


A woman from Simsbury, Connecticut is suing Mount Snow after her husband died snowboarding early last year in a head and chest first impact into a tree. The Brattleboro Reporter reports 56 year old Arthur David Deacon III was riding down the double black diamond run Ripcord when he lost control. The following is from the complaint:

“The steepest and most difficult trail on Mount Snow had been closed for most of the ski season due to lack of snow and treacherous ski conditions.  Conditions were hard-packed and icy, without any moguls that are typically known to exist on the steep trail. There was an outcropping of trees on the westerly side of Ripcord Trail, which had a double pitch both northerly and westerly.”

Attorneys claim Deacon fell about a third of the way down Ripcord, then slid down the steep icy pitch board first attempting to dig in an edge to self arrest:

“As Mr. Deacon was falling, he encountered an unnatural object, known as a ‘snowmaking whale’ which was a hard pile of ungroomed man-made snow, entirely iced over. The presence of the snowmaking whale and pitch of the slope of the trail in Mr. Deacon’s path caused Mr. Deacon to flip 180 degrees, falling head first, at which point he could not control his trajectory and was jettisoned head and chest first into a tree, after which his body went limp, hit a second tree, and then hit and landed on a snowmaking pipe. The snowmaking whales created an unexpected hazard that was neither an ordinary or necessary risk that a skier would be expected to anticipate.”

The complaint says that Mount Snow should have determined safety conditions of its trails before opening them to the public and ensured the snowmaking whales were properly groomed.  They also believe Mount Snow should have  maintained safe and unobstructed conditions on trails open to the public and warned guests of any foreseeable unsafe conditions. Attorneys for Deacon’s wife claim she is owed compensation for marital and financial losses.

Mount Snow’s attorneys said Deacon failed to maintain control of his equipment and was riding beyond his ability:

“Deacon failed to make reasonable and proper use of his senses while snowboarding; he failed to keep a proper lookout; he failed to take evasive action to avoid falling in the manner that he fell. Trees, snowmaking whales and moguls were not obstructed. They were open and obvious on the trail the day of the incident. He assumed the risk of injury.”

Litigation is pending and we will update this story as information becomes available.


[images from mount snow instagram]

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