Denver, Colorado – Following a Colorado Supreme Court ruling, the future of liability waivers for ski resorts in the state is currently murky.

In May, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the waivers of liability that skiers and riders sign before going out on the slopes don’t protect ski resorts when they break state laws or regulations. This means that if Colorado ski resorts break the law and display negligence, they can be liable for damages. In response, Colorado’s Legislature may step in to protect the ski resorts.

Jason Blevins of The Colorado Sun reports that due to the loss of potential protection from future liability cases, the Colorado Legislature could end up passing legislation next year to safeguard ski resorts. This is partially based on actions taken by Utah’s Legislature because of a state Supreme Court ruling which questioned the soundness of ski resort waivers. In 2020, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that updated the waiver, which ultimately protects ski resorts from certain claims brought forth by afflicted guests.

Kari Jones Dulin, who’s a litigator and trial attorney, described to The Colorado Sun what the ski industry is likely to do to make sure a successful lawsuit like this doesn’t happen again:

“The ski industry will be looking at their waivers and like-minded industries will be doing the same thing. They are not going to let a claim slip by because they don’t have updated language.”

This situation has been created following a skier falling from a chairlift, resulting in her father suing Vail Resorts for three causes of negligence. On March 16th, 2022, Michael Miller was on a ski trip to Crested Butte with his daughter Annie. While boarding the Paradise Express chairlift, Annie couldn’t settle into the seat before the ascent. Despite people near the scene begging the workers to stop the lift, the workers allegedly didn’t do anything, as there wasn’t anyone present. Annie held onto the chair until she couldn’t, ultimately falling thirty feet onto the snow. The chairlift allegedly never stopped, even when Annie fell. She will never be able to walk again. Some of her other injuries include a bruised heart, lacerated liver, injuries to her lungs, and shattered C7 vertebrae.

Click here to read Jason Blevin’s piece in full, which dives further into the future of Colorado liability waivers and the potential effects on kids’ ability to engage in outdoor recreation. In addition, consider donating to the Colorado Sun, as they do great work covering the Centennial State.

Image Credits: Crested Butte Mountain Resort

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