California Court Holds Ski Resort Was Not Liable for Plaintiff’s Injuries Following Snowboarding Accident

ski lift

Photo Credit: Fesus Robert /

Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a California personal injury case involving a plaintiff’s claim against a ski resort. While the opinion discussed several issues that are pertinent to California injury claims, most interesting was the court’s discussion of liability release waivers and the doctrine of assumption of the risk.

The Factual Scenario

Per the court’s holding, the plaintiff sustained a serious injury when she ran into a snowcat at the end of a day of snowboarding at a ski resort (the defendant). Evidently, the plaintiff ran into the back of the snowcat after it made an abrupt turn, cutting her off. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff was seriously injured. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the ski resort claiming that it was grossly negligent.

Apparently, the plaintiff was a season pass holder at the defendant ski resort. And before the plaintiff was issued her season pass, she signed a liability release waiver. The waiver indicated that the plaintiff understood that skiing and snowboarding were dangerous sports and that she released the resort from any liability “for any damage, injury or death . . . arising from participation in the sport or use of the facilities” regardless of the cause of the accident, including the “alleged negligence” of the resort. The agreement also provided a list of hazards that should be expected, including the possibility of “collisions with natural and man-made objects, including trees, rocks, fences, posts, lift towers, snowmaking equipment, snowmobiles and other over-snow vehicles.”

The Court’s Opinion

The court ultimately dismissed the plaintiff’s case, finding that the resort did not act with gross negligence and that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury. The court first noted that the plaintiff signed a release waiver indicating she was on notice that snowboarding was a dangerous sport. The court went on to explain that snowcats are required to groom the snow so that it is suitable for skiers of average ability and that skiers and snowboarders should expect to see these vehicles while on the slopes. The court noted that previous decisions have held that snowcats and snowmaking equipment in general were “inherent risks” associated with skiing and snowboarding and the resort did nothing to add to the inherent risks of snowboarding.

Have You Been Injured on the Slopes?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a ski or snowboard accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. At the Neumann Law Group, we represent injury victims in a wide range of California personal injury cases, including premises liability claims, California car accidents, and medical malpractice cases. We have decades of experience successfully pursuing claims for compensation on behalf of our clients, and know what it takes to succeed. To learn more, call 800-525-NEUMANN to schedule your free consultation today.

See Related Posts:

California Plaintiffs Sue Breast Implant Manufacturers, California Injury Lawyer Blog, October 24, 2018.

Appeals Court in California Discusses Loss of Consortium Claims, California Injury Lawyer Blog, October 14, 2018.

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