Hitting the Slopes This Winter: Stay Warm and Stay Safe
While some people travel to Florida, California or exotic resorts to spend the winter months in the sunshine, there are many who come to Colorado to take advantage of the cold weather, snow and the slopes.
Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter pastimes and Colorado is home to some of the leading mountain resorts in the country. But as with any sport, skiing and snowboarding have their risks, personal injury lawyers in Denver report and the state’s legislators have taken steps to ensure standard requirements for safety and responsibility.
The Colorado Ski Safety Act
The most prominent guideline for determining responsibility and safety standards on the slopes is the Colorado Ski Safety Act passed in 1979. Under this law, the state establishes a set of safety standards for those who operate ski facilities and areas and those who visit them. Skiing and snowboarding have inherent risks-high speeds, icy conditions, less than athletic (or new) enthusiasts, etc.—and both operators and sportspersons have the responsibility to make winter sports as safe as possible.
The Ski Safety Act puts the onus on skiers and snowboarders to assume the risk of any injuries incurred to themselves or property (skis, snowboards, equipment) when they are out on the slopes, particularly if such injuries occurred as a result of the inherent dangers of the sport. The Act specifically lists dangers and risks that are natural for snow sports, including but not limited to:
- Weather conditions, including changes and existing conditions in snow or ice
- Bare spots on the slope
- Terrain dangers, including rocks, trees, stumps, and other foliage; terrain changes
- Collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, and other skiers/snowboarders
- Failure to ski/snowboard within your own abilities
This list is not comprehensive, but it gives skiers and snowboarders an idea of the wide range of risks that go hand in hand with winter sports. The responsibility is clearly on each individual to maintain safety at all times and to be alert to changing conditions and dangers that could crop up unexpectedly.
Owners/Operators Have Obligations Too
However, the onus is not entirely on the skiers and snowboarders to ensure safety. Although people using a ski facility need to take ownership of their own personal safety and surroundings, the facility owners and operators have a duty to maintain equipment and comply with security standards to keep the facilities running smoothly and safely.
Colorado is not the only state to establish safety standards for skiers and ski operations, personal injury lawyers in Denver say. Because of the inherent risks of these winter sports, more than 25 other states have similar Safety Acts in place to minimize risk and inform both operators and patrons of ski areas of the responsibilities they have to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them.
Denver personal injury lawyer Jordan Levine at Levine Law represents clients who have been injured out on the slopes, whether through an equipment malfunction or negligence on behalf of the operators. For a free, no-strings consultation about your case, contact him today.