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Nine people have died in the past 10 days in the U.S. as a result of avalanches. While most of these were in the back country, a recent decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals has a big impact on who is liable when a skier at a resort dies in an avalanche.
On Feb. 13, the court handed down a decision in Fleury v. IntraWest Winter Park Operations Corp.
In 2012, 28-year-old Christopher Norris, a skier was killed in an avalanche while skiing in-bounds at Winter Park Resort. His wife, Salynda Fleury, sued the operator of the resort. The suit was dismissed on the grounds that the ski area operator had immunity under the Ski Safety Act.
The majority of the court stated that under the Ski Safety Act in Colorado, in-bounds avalanches are an inherent risk of skiing. But they also stated, “If the General Assembly wishes to hold ski areas accountable for avalanche-related injuries or deaths, it should amend the Act.”
Jim Chalat, a Denver lawyer with extensive experience in ski law, joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to explain.