To ski in Colorado comes with legal responsibility. The Colorado legislature established the Colorado Ski Safety Act in 1979, stating that certain dangers and risks are inherent in the sport of skiing. To receive protection from lawsuits, ski resorts depend on liability waivers. Either agree to release the resort’s liability, or you don’t get to buy a pass. At the core, you sign away your rights to sue for negligence, no matter the situation.
If you signed a season pass and didn’t read the fine print, you may not have waived all of your rights. Under Colorado law, “a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.” Yet, there are no police on the mountain to investigate accidents and to determine who is at fault if more than one party is involved. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reports that, during the 2019-2020 winter ski season, there were 29 catastrophic injuries and 42 fatalities in the United States. At Ramos Law, we strive to fairly represent you in personal injury cases.
Colorado Ski Accidents
All participants on the mountain share responsibilities in Colorado according to the Ski Safety Act. Many of these responsibilities are guidelines to enforce safe skiing. For example, the downhill rider always has the right of way and if you are traversing the mountain, merging skiers must yield to skiers crossing downhill. All skiers need to recognize their ability and ski within the appropriate terrain while avoiding reckless behavior, which may harm others or yourself.
If you are involved in a ski accident, do not let the person leave the scene. You should record the person’s name, address, phone number, and the name of their homeowner’s or renters’ insurance company. Oftentimes, skiers have insurance that will cover them for their fault but it is important to gather their information even if you do not feel injured at the time — you might be in shock and not know how injured you are. It is also important to get the incident documented right away with Ski Patrol. You should make sure you get your injuries addressed, as well. Medical documentation and treatment are important to your case and of course, getting you better. If another person is at fault for the collision, contact the ski accident attorneys at Ramos Law and we will take the necessary steps for you.
Other Accidents at Colorado Ski Areas
Ski resort employees, particularly those with operation duties, have liability protection written into law but they also include limitations. Ski areas do have legal requirements related to chairlift operation, grooming machines, snowmobiles, and the installation of manmade features and boundary ropes. Failure to abide by the legal requirements, for both resorts and skiers, constitutes as negligence and the situation can end up in the courtroom.
- Avalanche Safety: http://www.avalanche.org/
- Terrain Park Safety: http://www.terrainparksafety.org/
Steamboat Resort is committed to promoting safety on the mountain in which skiers and riders must comply with the Colorado Ski Safety Act, Your Responsibility Code, and the Colorado law. They also take pride in their SlopeWise policy, prohibiting reckless skiing, offensive behavior and any violations, to ensure safe conditions. If any rules or laws are violated, uniformed personnel are reserved the right to terminate privileges on a first offense.
In Case of Ski Injury
If you are with an injured participant, do not remove their skis or snowboard, otherwise, they risk sliding down the mountain. Instead, place your own equipment in a cross form, uphill from the patient. Most importantly, do not move them unless necessary and contact Ski Patrol with information of the exact location, the number of the phone from which you are calling, and the description of the injury.
Members of the Ski Patrol are easy to spot in red uniforms with white crosses on them. Their main responsibilities are to provide pre-hospital care for injured guests, safe skiing education and guest services. If you need help, do not hesitate to call Patrol or stop a patroller to ask questions, directions, or for other information.
Steamboat Ski Patrol Locations
- Patrol Headquarters (PHQ) is at the top of the Sunshine and Sundown lifts; feel free to stop in to warm up or ask questions.
- Mountain Dispatch is in the Thunderhead Building at the top of the gondola to the right as you walk down to the snow.
- Fetcher Base, for general first aid and transport, is located in One Steamboat Place on the Promenade near the far left magic carpets as you come down the mountain.
- Yampa Valley Medical Center provides emergency care 24 hours a day. Call 970-879-1322
- Ski Patrol: 970-871-5911
- Steamboat Security: 970-846-1055