13 Rules of Colorado SkiingSteveL
An Iowa client asked me what happens in Colorado when one skier crashes into another. They wanted to know what their duties are in the event of a crash with another skier or snowboarder.
That question is one I can answer because as a lawyer who has skied in Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, and Winter Park the question was of interest.
Colorado has laws related to the duties of skiers and the penalties for not following the rules. Let’s go through those rules.
WHAT ARE YOUR DUTIES AS A SKIER?
- First, the skier has the sole responsibility for knowing the range of their abilities to ski on whatever terrain they choose to ski on.
- The skier has a duty to maintain control of his/her speed and course at all times.
- The skier has a duty to maintain a proper lookout.
- The skier has a duty to avoid other skiers and objects.
- The skier coming from above must avoid other skiers and objects below him.
- You can’t ski on a slope or train that is posted as “Closed”.
- Skiers have to stay clear of snow-grooming equipment, all vehicles, lift towers, signs and other equipment on the slopes and trails.
- Skiers have a duty to read and heed all posted information and other warnings.
- Even when visibility is reduced, it is the skier’s duty to locate and ascertain the meaning of all posted signs.
- All skiers and snowboarders must have a strap or other device that will stop a lose ski from going downhill.
- All skiers, before starting from a stopped position, has a duty to avoid moving skiers, who are already on the slope or trail.
- All skier’s whose abilities are impaired by alcohol or other substances, including pot, are prohibited from using any passenger tramway or use of any skier slope or trail.
DO SKIERS GET IN TROUBLE FOR NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES?
This is the one that reportedly got a snowboarder in trouble with the resort and then the court system.
- If you collide with someone, no matter who thinks the other is at fault, and in which there is an injury, can leave the area until they have provided an employee of the resort or a ski area operator or member of the ski patrol, with their name and current address. If immediate and emergent attention is required, they can leave the scene so long as they report themselves at the earliest opportunity after securing such aid.
Spencer McKee reports for a Colorado news service I received and earlier this week reported:
In November of 2021, Martinez collided with well-known ski instructor and author Ron LeMaster, 72, at Eldora Mountain Resort, resulting in LeMaster’s death. After briefly stopping, Martinez left the scene. Per Colorado law, one can’t leave the scene of an accident that results in injury without giving their name and current address to a resort employee or ski patrol.
My understanding is he was ordered to pay a $500 fine, court costs and also ordered to serve 40 hours of community service.
As we used to say, long skis truck, and short skis suck.
Be well and enjoy the outdoors.
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