(Note: IANAL. YMMV.)
I've got to think that today's litigation is the result of peoples' own insurance not wanting to pay their medical bills when they can try to find someone else to blame/extract the money from. Back in the day, you suffered damage, you filed a claim, and insurance paid it. Now they don't pay much of anything anymore so folks are suing other folks a lot more often.
Actually, it's usually the insurance companies filing the lawsuits if the two sides can't agree on who is responsible. Often insurance contracts stipulate that they have the right to sue on your behalf to recover money they had to pay for your medical claims.
This thread seems to miss a simple point. Recklessness is simply defining the standard of negligence, and it does need to be defined.
How are you negligent in skiing without at least being reckless?
The short answer is "it's complicated".
I think a couple people touched on this earlier, but in cases where this sort of thing actually goes to court decisions tend to hinge on things like 'reasonable precaution'. In other words, would a normal, reasonable person have acted in the same way as the person who is being accused of negligence/recklessness. Or could they have taken reasonable actions to prevent the accident from occurring. This tends to be subjective, and often highly specific to the nature of the exact accident that occurred. The 'responsibility code' could be taken into account in situations like this, but that's not the only consideration.
JimSki posted this earlier:
Shin v. Ahn, 165 P.3d. 581 (Cal. 2007) -- involving the inherently risky sport of golfing! -- stated that "liability attaches only to those defendants whose actions are 'so reckless as to be totally outside the range' of normal participation in [the particular sport]".
and I've seen that ruling referenced in other skiing/boarding-related cases in CA as well.
As a more concrete example, just "skiing/riding fast" is not necessarily reckless. However, skiing close to other people at speed could be. But if you're going fast on what seems like an empty, wide-open slope and someone comes flying out of the woods at speed right in front of you, the person who was on the open piste is not at fault.
Taking a blind jump without a spotter or checking the landing first is reckless IMO. But if you're clearly lining up to hit a terrain park feature and someone cuts in front of you or through the landing zone at the last second, it's the interloper's fault.
Putting yourself into a position where falling would cause you to slide uncontrollably into someone else at high speed is reckless IMO. (Anybody could hit an unexpected obstacle or have a binding malfunction result in losing a ski at almost any time.) But sometimes the terrain dictates that you cannot reasonably ski any other way.
"Always stay in control" is aspirational. In practical terms, you can do lots of things that may lead to a loss of control while skiing, without being an always at the edge of any control jackass. Again, skiing is different from driving. It is a sport. People fall. Stuff happens.
Obviously it is impossible to always be 100% in control of what will happen, and that is not the standard applied to civil liability (on the hill or otherwise). However, neither is "stuff happens".
You shouldn't be doing things that significantly increase the risk of losing control if the loss of control is likely to hurt someone else. Skiing is a sport, but it's not a contact sport.