A snowboarder’s lawsuit against Jay Peak over an unmarked hole has proved unsuccessful.
The Caledonian Record reports that a federal court jury in Burlington, Vermont rejected injury claims brought by a snowboarder against Jay Peak Resort. The jury only took thirty minutes of deliberations to make its ruling.
On January 18th, 2020, Dr. Michael Rosen was snowboarding at Jay Peak. During his first run of the day, he ventured over to the Deer Run trail. While going down the slope, he fell into an allegedly unmarked hole, which was estimated to be 3-to-4 feet wide and 3-to-4 feet deep.
Rosen broke both of his ankles and was taken to the hospital after being rescued by ski patrol. He was in the hospital for nineteen days. Dr. Rosen said that he has not worked since the incident occurred.
Jay Peak argued in the case that there is an inherent risk in skiing and snowboarding, which is described in waivers signed by guests, and that the incident could have been caused by someone around him while he was shredding.
Jay Peak was represented by Thomas P. Aicher of Cleary, Shahi & Aicher, who is a longtime member of the Association of Ski Defense Attorneys, serving on their board. He called four witnesses (three Jay Peak ski patrollers and an expert) and introduced a dozen exhibits (photographs, maps, and Jay Peak’s records). On the other side, Rosen represented himself. He originally was represented by a highly regarded Vermont personal injury lawyer when the civil lawsuit was filed in 2021, but they parted ways well before the trial began.
The obvious and necessary risk with the sport of skiing defined by Vermont sports injury law was the deciding factor, as the jury ultimately sided with Jay Peak. Ultimately, lawsuits like this are why ski resorts make people sign waivers.
Image Credits: Jay Peak Resort