OK, I'll take a deep breath here, brace, and note a recent article in Sunday's NYT that showed how we as a society have changed from being demanding about the behavior of wealthy corporations through most of the 20th century to being acquiescent and passive today. We've gone from trust busting and social reform to idolizing start up billionaires as creative rebels that we should hoist on our shoulders. We used to worry about the needs of the many, now we worry about the transmission of wealth to the few.
So IMHO, the quality of evaluation around here about ski resorts follows the same model. Generally very buyer beware, individuals knowingly take the risks. Generally the poor resorts need to be shielded from responsibility because they're, well, big corporations who work hard to keep us happy. If we're demanding, they'll pack up their toys and go home and then what do we do? (Nordic, anyone? )
Look, this wasn't some idiot who ducked under the ropes in a high avalanche zone, ignoring all the warning signs. This was a "law abiding" skier within bounds. And I doubt many of us here dig profiles alongside groomers before heading out. We trust that the resort and the patrollers either have made the place safe enough we can go blow our ACL's out, or we find ropes and signs about closed areas because of conditions or blasting. Latter happens all over, very common. So before we injure ourselves knee jerking our support for the poor embattled resort (with the weary sub-message that ohmygawd if this guys wins, the ski will fall), we might pay attention, for instance, that the suit apparently mentions failure to close a dangerous area. It may well be as much about that, and whether the resort was negligent, than about whether inbounds avalanches are a normal and intrinsic aspect of skiing.
Allright. Back to defending the rich. Important activity, advocated by the Supreme Court. The Koch brothers would approve.
Space here for the obligatory paeans to how the resorts are really very poor, barely getting by, and John Wayne said that ______________________________________________________________!
I'm not saying that the resort should or should not be responsible as I don't know enough about the area that the avalanche happened in but there are simply too many areas within a resort that could slide to hold them reliable for everyone. In order for a resort to do that it would essentially have to eliminate all off piste skiing. It doesn't take a very large avalanche to be fatal, especially in trees where all it takes someone getting swept off their feet and hitting a tree. You have the avalanche funnel into a small ravine and suddenly that small avalanche that would be almost no danger on an open slope becomes capable of burying you.
It's an unreasonable standard. It would be like holding the state responsible for not closing a road every time there was ice on it