Like it, or loathe it, the season for skiing and snowboarding is here! Many people are getting their lift passes from their favorite resort, and for those who are unaware, you have to sign a waiver when you buy a lift pass at any ski area.
Have you ever read the fine print on a ski area waiver?
Most people don’t, and that is a huge mistake.
The waiver a season pass-holder signs when purchasing a pass from the resort bars a skier or snowboarder from suing the company, even in cases when claims are based on resort negligence. For example: the top of the liability waiver is a statement bolded and highlighted that reads, “Warning: Please read carefully before signing! This is a release of liability & waiver of certain legal rights including the right to sue or claim compensation.” By signing this waiver, pass-holders sign away their right to sue or make any claims for any injury, including death.
This language is expressed in all ski area waivers, including in the EPIC Pass that you can purchase from Vail Resorts. A-Basin’s waiver, on the other hand, does not absolve the ski area of all liability; nevertheless, it’s very strong in legal verbiage.
The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, a state agency that oversees lifts, provided an overview of chairlift incidents in recent years:
Between January 2013 and March 2018, there were 74 falls or slips from chairlifts at resorts around the state. About a third of those were children. Many of those claims were against lift operators not paying attention.
However, chair lifts are not the only place where people can be injured at resorts — the vast majority of injuries take place on the slopes.
During the 2017-2018 ski season, National Ski Areas Association reported 37 catastrophic injuries at resorts across the country. Resorts also track what they consider to be less serious injuries.
Colorado state law says skiers assume the legal responsibilities from injuries resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.
So shouldn’t we know what those risks are if we’re assuming those risks?
Need some legal documents for a ski accident?
Check out our court-used documents below: