SAM Magazine—Hartford, Conn., June 19, 2012—The Connecticut Appellate Court upheld a jury verdict in a case brought against Ski Sundown, Conn., by James Malaguit, who was rendered quadriplegic in a 2006 accident at the ski area. In October 2010, a jury found that the plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries and that the ski area was not negligent.
Malaguit took the case to the Appellate Court where he argued that the jury was given flawed instructions. The Court, however, upheld the original verdict.
"We were confident that the Appellate Court would affirm the jury's unanimous verdict in this case, which it has now done," defense attorney Charles Gfeller told SAM. "We are hopeful that the case will finally end here so that James and his family, as well as Ski Sundown, Inc., may move on from this tragedy."
The Waterbury paper provides the same story/details as this Hartford Courant (AP) article.
Court: Ski Area Not Liable For Skier's Injuries
9:02 a.m. EDT, June 19, 2012
The state Appellate Court says a ski area in New Hartford isn't liable for an accident in 2006 that paralyzed a 15-year-old boy.
The Republican-American of Waterbury reports (http://bit.ly/KQpS8A ) that the Appellate Court on Monday upheld a jury verdict in favor of Ski Sundown Inc. in a lawsuit brought by James Malaguit.
Malaguit suffered spinal injuries after skiing off a jump at the ski area. He is now a quadriplegic.
Malaguit accused the ski area in his lawsuit of negligently building and maintaining a snow jump. But the jury sided with the ski area's arguments that Malaguit assumed the risk for any injury and his injuries were caused by his own negligence.
Malaguit argued in his appeal that a Litchfield Superior Court judge gave the jury flawed instructions.
Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com
Ah, yes. Thanks. I now vaguely remember reading that.
With, what appears to be more and more of these cases, will ski areas migrate to requiring signing release forms? Granted, this won't stop all lawsuits as you cannot waive liability for neglegence. I certainly have to sign a form like that for my pass, but am not required to sign one if I bought day tickets to my ski area, which is kind of weird as I imagine a passholder would be of greater skiing ability and less inclined for suing.
I am always curious about the economics of a full-sized terrain park. Obviously resorts must feel they are getting a return, but between snowmaking and constant grooming, not to mention the rails, etc, staff and legal hassles I would think a park would have to account for a whole lot of tickets and passes to be worth it. I imagine it drives high school passes and family sales (kids bonk in the park while the big kids ski/drink in the pub). They are big fun, though.
I remember when I was a kid (decades ago) the ski patrol would knock down any jumps we built. Now the mountain builds the parks, and in some cases, really, really big ones.
I wonder if the liability insurance folks are laughing all the way to the bank. "Oh sure, put in a park, premiums will be minimal." Now that a park is de rigueur for a ski area, I suppose they can charge whatever they want.
I too question the business model. I'd say a park takes 3 times the snow making and 5 times the grooming that a similar trail would require.
Also, It's not cheap defending a lawsuit even if insured. You don't get your legal fees reimbursed if you win. (That's probably a discussion best fit for The Pit though).
The cost of construction and up keep may exceed the revenue generated by ticket sales to direct users, but it doesn't matter... it's the cost of doing business these days. I would be willing to bet that on paper, most parks at smaller mountains operate at a loss.
Now, I thought the "park waiver" was standard everywhere these days. At Mission, everything is roped, and there's a punk kid () at the gate enforcing the policy. You can't enter unless your pass/ticket indicates that you have signed the waiver and watched the safety video.
What parks are not lift-served? I think all the major resorts have lifts over the parks...
It's not that parks are not lift serviced. At Crotched Mt., I've seen riders and free-style skiers spending all day on the Zero-G lift (lower lift that serves a terrain park) and will often choose to walk back up to a feature they like. They also tend to spend more time watching, waiting and analyzing a feature rather than just going up and down.
This translates to less demand on the lifts that serve the mountain summit and the areas of the mountain that are not Park areas.
Not only that but parks sometimes use less popular sections of the mountain and lifts that would otherwise be under-utilized, as at Sunapee I should think, and Okemo, and now Mt. Snow. (However at Sundown the park is on probably their second-best run.)
Agreed, the park at Sundown is on the 2nd best if not the best trail and that is with good reasons. A great majority of our clientele like to ski and ride park. Stinger sees 20 times the traffic it ever saw as a groomed trail. You can see it from the road, parking lot, base area and from both main lifts. It is open and obvious. It is easy for our staff to monitor. A patroller or other staff member rides over it every few minutes.
The first year I moved the park to Stinger I had a guy track me down to tell me how upset he was that the trail was now a park. He went on to say he had not been here in over a decade. In the most diplomatic way I could, I explained that the people who have been here over the past decade (our customers) demanded it.
Our problem is simple. We need more trails.
I’m almost fifty years old and have been on skis since I was six. Within a very shot time after learning to control myself on the snow I was looking for something to jump off. It has always been part of the sport and always will be. As far as rails and other jibs go I see that as an evolution of the sport that is fun but I prefer to not ruin my skis.
Terrain Parks are a great risk management tool. Before we had one people were making their own jumps where ever they wanted and usually in pretty bad spots with no regard for skiers and riders that did not want to use them. I would come across trees and old snow making pipe dragged out on the trails as makeshift rails.
Now they are all open and obvious in a designated area and no one builds their own jumps any more.
Indecently the rate of injuries at ski areas has decreased since the advent of terrain parks.
Posted: Jun 21, 2012 - 4:48 PM GMT
Edited: Jun 21, 2012 - 4:52 PM GMT
If I may jump in and answer ( ), I think it is the tremendous cost associated with making and maintaining a pipe that has led to their demise. Regardless of the cost of a park, a pipe is much more costly. First, they take a lot of snow to build the huge walls, even if you have a trench dug in the summer. Then you need an expensive piece of grooming equipment to cut it. And that equipment can only be used on the pipe.
Finally, they would see limited use. Because they took so much snow to make, pipes were placed at the bottom of the totem pole and would routinely would open very late after all other snowmaking bases were built. I recall 10/15 years ago, when it seemed that everyone and their uncle had a pipe, they routinely opened at the end of January or in February. We all know that sker visits drop off precipitously after February school vacation week. I think ski areas either figured it was too costly or there was a better use of their snowmaking budgets.
Now if only Killington would realize the Dew Tour is disastrous to their operations by requiring 30 foot mountains for the participants to jump from.
I think half pipe growth is hampered by a few things. The lack of opportunities for progression being foremost. There are few well maintained small pipes around. It is pretty intimidating to learn on an 18 plus foot feature. They require huge amounts of snow and cat hours as well as expensive specialized equipment.
A jump or a rail is subjective. Different riders may like our dislike a particular set up and choose to hit it or not. Some people like more pop some people like more float. Some people like ride on features some people like gap on. You can put a variety of offering in the park and open and close individually them as maintenance is needed.
A half pipe is either shaped correctly (like half of a pipe) or it is not right and no one will use it.