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Know the risks you take before hitting the ski slopes!

Posted at 9:41 PM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 23:41:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Safety on the slopes is top of mind for everyone, especially in January during National Ski Safety Month, but did you know there's an inherent risk you assume every time you hit the slopes?

If you happen to get in a ski accident at a Utah Ski Resort, personal injury attorney Robert Sykes says under Utah's Inherent Risks of Skiing Statute, you can't sue the resort for things that are inherent to the sport.

"Steepness of terrain, changing weather conditions, that happens all the time when you're skiing, snow or ice conditions that is not something you can sue the resort for," Sykes said.

However, Sykes says you can sue a resort if they were negligent.

"A few years ago, there was a case involving a situation at one of the resorts where people were jumping over another trail down below, very dangerous, that's not an inherent risk of skiing that's something that was set up negligently," Sykes said.

If there's another person involved, Sykes says finding a witness is important, but just because you were injured by another skier doesn't mean you have a lawsuit.

"It has to be negligent; something has to be doing something below the standard of care for skiers skiing too fast, not watching where you're going is something that you can sue another skier," Sykes said.

If you're ever in the unfortunate situation of a hit and run, Sykes says it's hard to have a case unless the other person involved can be found.

"You don't have a case because there's no one to sue, it's not the resort's fault that another skier was careless, it's not the resort's fault that no one got the name of the skier that caused the accident," Sykes said.

Safety while skiing is important to everyone, including Utah's Ski Resorts which is why Alison Palmintere with Ski Utah encourages everyone to brush up on the skier responsibility code before they hit the slopes.

"Some of the major tenants are making sure you allow the person in front of you to continue down the slope before you move on, making sure you wear a helmet of course, just general common-sense things making sure you keep your equipment close," Palmintere said.

For more information on the skier's responsibility code, you can go to the NSAA website here.