Assigning Fault in the Ski Industry : Who Is to Blame?
Schweyen, Michael R.
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The sport of skiing can be one of thrills and excitement. The potential danger is a natural part of the activity that for many people is a large part of its appeal. By its very nature, injuries and even fatalities are a part of reality. The elimination of the risks that cause harm is impossible for the ski industry. For resorts that are measured in square miles, it is economically prohibitive to monitor all potential trails for hazards. It is impossible to monitor these areas for hazards such as bushes or thin snow. The only realistic solution would be to eliminate these areas, creating instead of trails, one large open hill that could be plowed daily for any potential risks. To hold resorts to such a high standard and give them the added concern of large damages from litigation will result in one of two things, a decrease in the difficulty of terrain (intermediate and expert runs have more trees, bushes, etc, which are potential hazards) or worse, a decrease in the amount of ski hill operators. I do not argue for blanket legislation that protects ski resorts from all negligence, but rather common sense laws that put the burden of proof on the participants, giving resorts some security, but preventing them from operating a death trap.