By Adam (A.J.) Allegro, Esq.
The Skiing and snowboarding season is now upon us, and it is important to keep in mind that at the same time you are enjoying the trails, you are also assuming a great deal of risk.
Under Connecticut law, if you choose to ski, the owner/operator of the ski resort is often immune from liability for injuries that occur. Most notably, Connecticut courts have concluded that the person skiing assumes the risk of all injuries “inherent in the sport of skiing.”
Basically, this means that if the ski/snowboarding run has variations in surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions which were not actually caused or made by the ski operator/owners or their employees, the ski resort will not be liable for any injuries.
Further, even if the ski resort’s employees actually were directly at fault for creating the defective or dangerous condition, the resort will still be immune, so long as the defect was created in the process of (1) snowmaking, (2) snow grooming, or (3) rescue operations.
So, for the most part, a visitor to a Connecticut ski resort injured while skiing or snowboarding will generally be unable to sue the resort for injuries caused by defective conditions or variations in the runs/trails, unless the answer to both of the following questions is yes: (1) Was the resort or its employees directly responsible for creating the defect or variation?; and (2) Was defect or variation created outside of the process of snow making, grooming, or rescue operations?
Skiing and snowboarding serve as a great way to get exercise and enjoy the winter weather, but it is important to know that when you make the decision to hit the trails, you are also making a decision to accept the risks that come with it.
Connecticut ski law is often a slippery slope. So, when you jump off the lift and start heading down the mountain this winter, be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and watch out for any variations or defects which are visible on the run. Unfortunately, some accidents and injuries cannot be avoided and if you are hurt, be it on the trail or on the car ride back home afterwards, our attorneys and staff at Trantolo & Trantolo will be here to provide the legal assistance you need.