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Examples of ski area negligence?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was thinking about all the closed ski areas, and why they are closed. Costly liability insurance a factor??? I don't know, which got me thinking of ways that a ski area could be considered negligent.

One that sticks in my mind is excessively high drop off the top of the chairlift. Several years ago I took my family to a small ski area in Wyoming that has a single quad chair. We all got on the chair, and although we didn't have 1st chair we were close. As we got near the top, I thought "sheet, the chair seems awful high". Sure enough, it was probably well over 3 feet from the chair to the ramp. Being pretty tall, I slid off the chair OK, but my wife and kids bailed out and biffed in a pile. I was pretty irate, and yelled at the liftie to fix the ramp. He wanted to argue sematics - whether the chair was too high or the ramp was too low. By the next chair ride the ramp had been built up to a reasonable height.

Any other examples of clear negligence? No, I'm not a lawyer.
post #2 of 29
I think it would be negligence only after they have injuries and complaints but don't do anything about it and treat those problems just as the cost of business. (See the details of hot coffee case).
The fact that they fixed it to me shows the opposite.

Maybe the above is "gross" negligence instead of just negligence?


Also, waiting for this thread to get moved...
Edited by raytseng - 11/7/13 at 3:59pm
post #3 of 29


Forgot to flip down the seat board?

post #4 of 29

This one would not net a lawsuit, but I still think it's negligence.  

 

At a nearby mountain known for its gentle groomed pitches, there's a very mild trail that often gets non-locals into trouble.  It pulls off the the right and looks gentle and wide as far as you can see; it's definitely a green at this point.  But if you head down it, it suddenly changes into a tree run with bumps.  This trail is never ever groomed beyond its misleading upper portion.  There is no escape; you either ski bumped up trees all the way down or walk back up.  Many of the skiers at this mountain are seniors seeking mild skiing.  Walking up carrying your skis on your shoulder is an issue if you're 70 years old and don't ski bumps.  I've run into frustrated retirees on this trail so many times it's silly.  They are stuck at the spot where it changes, trying to figure out which is worse, having a heart attack while carrying their skis all the way back up or breaking a bone trying to negotiate their way down the bumps.  This shouldn't happen; it's so unnecessary.

 

What effort would it take to put up a sign saying "BUMPS AHEAD?" 

post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

Forgot to flip down the seat board?

 

Seat board negligence by lifties is my number one safety concern at ski areas.  My ass has paid the price for their negligence, literally.

post #6 of 29

I don't think I've ever encountered anything flagrant.  Lots of iffy design in loading/unloading areas of lifts that potentially borders on dangerous in the right situations and plenty of inattentive lifties, but that's pretty much it. 

 

More often I see resorts go way overboard on the warning signage  than the other way around.  Nakiska, for example, had the entrance to the west side of the mountain off the main base chair fenced all the way across with one narrow little path to get through.  Sign in front saying EXPERTS ONLY.  I have no idea why.  There is one black run and one blue run in that direction.  Both groomed.  And that's it.  o__0

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbiebug View Post
 

I don't think I've ever encountered anything flagrant.  Lots of iffy design in loading/unloading areas of lifts that potentially borders on dangerous in the right situations and plenty of inattentive lifties, but that's pretty much it. 

 

More often I see resorts go way overboard on the warning signage  than the other way around.  Nakiska, for example, had the entrance to the west side of the mountain off the main base chair fenced all the way across with one narrow little path to get through.  Sign in front saying EXPERTS ONLY.  I have no idea why.  There is one black run and one blue run in that direction.  Both groomed.  And that's it.  o__0

You'll never know~~better safe than sorry imo. People nowadays can come up with ridiculous reasoning just to sue someone in order to get some sort of compensations, regardless of whether their pain is caused by their own stupidity or not. And the chances are, sometimes the one with ridiculous reasoning can actually win the case! I wouldn't want to be sued by one of those morons...

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

 

Seat board negligence by lifties is my number one safety concern at ski areas.  My ass has paid the price for their negligence, literally.

Speaking of asses,  risk management guy  banned Ski Patrol from his bar and he defamed govt-appointed investigators. Lo and behold facebook filled with secret deal documents, a federal prosecution case against him by our SEC and a investment regulator, and the tax office and others got involved. Picking on Ski Patrol and investigators is pretty stupid imo.
 

post #9 of 29
Come to think of it, there was a day early last season that they were warning people off Hellfire, a blue here at Whitefish, because lower down was really sketchy and thin, which was not obvious at the top. Knowing the trail, I can believe it could have been darn dangerous. I usually avoid it early season anyway because of ice, rocks, stumps, creeks, and no other way out once you start.

So, maybe Nakiska had their reasons.
post #10 of 29

I think Mt. Baker is entirely negligent in its training and supervision of employees, and lifties in particular.  Baker has all fixed grip chairs and I can't count the times that the loader has just let the chair hit me without any real help by pulling the chair back.  But the one I can't figure out is the one at the top.  It's the rare time that I'm actually observed getting off of the chair.  Usually they're talking on the phone, or reading, or playing guitar, or outside away from the controls talking to someone, or just not visible.  I have a hard time understanding how the management can allow this kind of non-behavior but they do.  It happens more times than not.  I don't know what happens when someone has a problem; luckily I've not seen any really bad ones.  Those chairs come fast and hard.

 

At Stevens Pass you are always watched carefully as you unload and the lifty is at the controls at all times.  It's a stark difference.

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

I think Mt. Baker is entirely negligent in its training and supervision of employees, and lifties in particular.  Baker has all fixed grip chairs and I can't count the times that the loader has just let the chair hit me without any real help by pulling the chair back.  But the one I can't figure out is the one at the top.  It's the rare time that I'm actually observed getting off of the chair.  Usually they're talking on the phone, or reading, or playing guitar, or outside away from the controls talking to someone, or just not visible.  I have a hard time understanding how the management can allow this kind of non-behavior but they do.  It happens more times than not.  I don't know what happens when someone has a problem; luckily I've not seen any really bad ones.  Those chairs come fast and hard.

 

At Stevens Pass you are always watched carefully as you unload and the lifty is at the controls at all times.  It's a stark difference.


And what the attitude of the Baker management when you tell them about the lifties?

post #12 of 29

I don't really see the point of this thread. I've never seen any action I would call ski-area negligence- if I actually did, I would be reporting it ASAP and not skiing there if I didn't feel the problem was addressed. Negligence is a very loaded word.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I don't really see the point of this thread. I've never seen any action I would call ski-area negligence- if I actually did, I would be reporting it ASAP and not skiing there if I didn't feel the problem was addressed. Negligence is a very loaded word.

I'm with you. I don't understand the point of this thread either. To throw rocks?
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

. I've never seen any action I would call ski-area negligence

 

Judges have.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post
 

 

Judges have.


I've never seen it personally. I'm aware things have happened, but I don't understand why we are being invited to call negligence "not holding the chair back far enough when I get on."

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 


 I don't understand why we are being invited to call negligence "not holding the chair back far enough when I get on."

A Court decided that was negligent.. Here's a quick summary of issues from a Judgement about a chairlift hitting a lady.

 

 

NEGLIGENCE - BREACH OF IMPLIED TERM - accident boarding chairlift - failure to call doctor - lift ticket - purported contractual exclusion of implied term and liability - s 109 of the Constitution - duty of care - breach - whether lift operator inattentive - risk of harm from chair arriving in defective state - precaution of lift operator observing state of chair from location near loading point - causation - s 5D - inherent risk - s 5I - dangerous recreational activity - s 5L - risk warning - s 5M - contributory negligence - breach of implied term - damages - pre-accident afflictions - post-accident restrictions - failure to provide records - whether adverse interest should be drawn - economic loss -  whether rental income and management fees earnings - gratuitous attendant services - lost fees from days absent from work.

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbiebug View Post
 

I don't think I've ever encountered anything flagrant.  Lots of iffy design in loading/unloading areas of lifts that potentially borders on dangerous in the right situations and plenty of inattentive lifties, but that's pretty much it. 

 

More often I see resorts go way overboard on the warning signage  than the other way around.  Nakiska, for example, had the entrance to the west side of the mountain off the main base chair fenced all the way across with one narrow little path to get through.  Sign in front saying EXPERTS ONLY.  I have no idea why.  There is one black run and one blue run in that direction.  Both groomed.  And that's it.  o__0

 

I think a person died in the 90's sliding down one of those runs into the trees at high speed. I used to race there in that time and remember hearing the story (could be folklore, I know a similar incident did happen at Norquay). I agree it is not challenging terrain, but when it gets extremely icy you could fall into the trees pretty easily.

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

I think Mt. Baker is entirely negligent in its training and supervision of employees, and lifties in particular.  Baker has all fixed grip chairs and I can't count the times that the loader has just let the chair hit me without any real help by pulling the chair back.  But the one I can't figure out is the one at the top.  It's the rare time that I'm actually observed getting off of the chair.  Usually they're talking on the phone, or reading, or playing guitar, or outside away from the controls talking to someone, or just not visible.  I have a hard time understanding how the management can allow this kind of non-behavior but they do.  It happens more times than not.  I don't know what happens when someone has a problem; luckily I've not seen any really bad ones.  Those chairs come fast and hard.

 

At Stevens Pass you are always watched carefully as you unload and the lifty is at the controls at all times.  It's a stark difference.


And what the attitude of the Baker management when you tell them about the lifties?

 

When I complained about the lifties not holding back the chair, I was attempting to use this as an indication of the lack of attention to detail that I find at the ski area.  If the chair is not held for someone who is less experienced, or small at the speeds those fixed grip quads go it can flatten someone.  However, the one that really surprises and concerns me is the unloading problems.  Someone could be seriously hurt.

 

I must admit, that I have not approached the management about this specific concern, since I have been rebuffed by them a couple of times when I have asked (not complained) about things and so I guess I decided without really thinking it through that it wouldn't be useful to approach them.  You're right, I really should do it, and I will.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I don't really see the point of this thread. I've never seen any action I would call ski-area negligence- if I actually did, I would be reporting it ASAP and not skiing there if I didn't feel the problem was addressed. Negligence is a very loaded word.


 



The point of this thread? I think I described it fairly well in the #1 post. How can a resort be percieved as negligent? And in my example, I did report it ASAP. Within about 5 seconds. And no, I've not been there since.

If a resort never had to worry about being found negligent, would they even need insurance? How many closed areas would still be open?
Edited by SpikeDog - 11/8/13 at 9:10am
post #20 of 29

FWlittleIW, The US and Canada are about the only two places in the world that lifties hold the chair for riders.

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post

 How can a resort be percieved as negligent?

 

That's open to an attorneys interpretation, which could be just about anything!

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

FWlittleIW, The US and Canada are about the only two places in the world that lifties hold the chair for riders.


I should not have included that in my post because that is not what I find to be the big problem.  It diverted the focus way too much.  Mea culpa.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by gramboh View Post
 

 

I think a person died in the 90's sliding down one of those runs into the trees at high speed. I used to race there in that time and remember hearing the story (could be folklore, I know a similar incident did happen at Norquay). I agree it is not challenging terrain, but when it gets extremely icy you could fall into the trees pretty easily.


Wow!  Interesting.  That would certainly explain it, if true.

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
 

I should not have included that in my post because that is not what I find to be the big problem.  It diverted the focus way too much.  Mea culpa.

I've seen too many skiers and snowboarders coming the wrong way down on chair 3/4 at Baker because they messed up and didn't get off in the small loading zone and the lifty didn't bother to stop the chair and slow them down. It isn't exactly an expert chair where the riders are more or less expected to understand how to get off, either.

post #25 of 29

worst example of ski hill negligence i've seen:  a hill employee driving a snowmobile up a run (not on the side or a normal place for doing such during biz hours and certainly not an emergency patrol situation); up the steepest headwall on what is an awfully wide groomed run; nonetheless, a skiier cresting that headwall would never ever have had a chance to avoid collision with it!  Fortunately, no skiier materialized, thus, no lawsuit and i still get to ski there.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdave69 View Post
 

worst example of ski hill negligence i've seen:  a hill employee driving a snowmobile up a run (not on the side or a normal place for doing such during biz hours and certainly not an emergency patrol situation); up the steepest headwall on what is an awfully wide groomed run; nonetheless, a skiier cresting that headwall would never ever have had a chance to avoid collision with it!  Fortunately, no skiier materialized, thus, no lawsuit and i still get to ski there.

 

 

Yep, that's pretty bad.  Unfortunately several skiers have been injured and killed by snowmobiles in similar incidents:
 

http://www.westword.com/2005-01-06/news/slippery-slopes/

 

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=6391

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdave69 View Post
 

worst example of ski hill negligence i've seen:  a hill employee driving a snowmobile up a run (not on the side or a normal place for doing such during biz hours and certainly not an emergency patrol situation); up the steepest headwall on what is an awfully wide groomed run; nonetheless, a skiier cresting that headwall would never ever have had a chance to avoid collision with it!  Fortunately, no skiier materialized, thus, no lawsuit and i still get to ski there.


Reminds me of one incident that was a close call, but not negligent imho.  I recall coming over a rise on a narrow trail doing mach schnell (sorry no gps back in the day, so for you old timers it was at the speed where you need to tape over the vent holes in your goggles so your eyes don't tear up), and coming face to face with the grooming cat.  Apparently the run was closed, but when you're bombing down through the trees off (actually somewhere below) Top of the World Chutes instead of on a designated run so as not annoy patrons on the runs too much,  on Mt. Washington BC, it's easy to come out of them and not be too sure where you are.  It's all  just white  with white snow covered tree tops up there.

 

It was not negligent, imho, because it's on me to avoid objects (including grooming equipment) ahead of me, which I did.  It got my adrenaline going though, and probably gave the guy driving the cat a bigger scare, since he had no way of knowing if I was able to avoid him until I did.

 

They really should keep those big machines off all slopes that aren't somehow fenced off or otherwise inaccessible until the lifts close.

post #28 of 29

They used to groom OPEN runs at night when I was a teen.  We all used to jockey for position RIGHT behind the fluffer to ski the fresh POW POW hahaha.  And, yes.. I've come flying over a whale to see a cat coming right at me almost DRT (dead right there).  I'm glad they don't groom open trails anymore, but it didn't seem like such a bad idea back then even though it was pretty stupid in retrospect.

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
 

They used to groom OPEN runs at night when I was a teen.

 

Same deal when I was a teenager.  Bogus Basin, chair 2, night skiing, mid 70's.  I biffed a bit uphill from a cat doing it's thing, and among the yard sale items were my eyeglasses.  I was pretty puckered up looking for those spectacles as the onrushing groomer loomed.  I was about to throw my kid brother under the plow to slow it down.

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