There’s No Business Like Snow Business
Year after year, Colorado’s ski resorts go to battle to attract and retain season pass holders and daily visitors. Lift tickets provide the foundation of ski-nomics, accounting for roughly 50% of each resort’s revenue every year. After all, if they don’t have anyone skiing down their mountains, what do they have? (Well, that’s subjective, but we can tell you what they won’t have: revenue from equipment rentals, food and beverage, and snow school – all of which generates the other 50% of revenue.).
The stiff competition among Colorado’s ski industry titans results in a fierce, annual season pass war. And with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the precarious climate, and inflation reaching a record high, this year’s duel over season pass sales got very interesting.
Vail Resorts, for example, slashed their Epic Pass prices by 20%, which proved to be a huge success. The price cut helped Vail sell 2.1 million passes for the 2021-22 season, 900,000 more than the 2019-2020 season.
Telluride’s new strategy? Add value without cutting prices.
Telluride’s New MILE HIGH Strategy
Telluride ski area, in partnership with tech startup, Spot, is now offering $25,000 accident medical expense coverage for skiers and snowboarders injured on the mountain. The coverage is automatically included in the price of every lift ticket and season pass Telluride sells during the 2021-2022 ski season.
Anyone who skis and snowboards knows there is risk involved with participation in these sports. So having a $25,000 security blanket, so to speak, for any medical expenses that result from a ski accident is great. But we wondered, how much does the average ski injury cost?
We sat down with Evan Banker, ski injury attorney, and partner at Chalat Hatten & Banker and asked:
Is $25,000 enough to cover medical expenses after a skiing accident?
“The interesting thing about personal injury law is that no two cases are ever the same,” Evan explains. “Every situation and every circumstance is unique, so the answer to that question is it depends. In some cases, yes, $25,000 could be enough to cover medical expenses after a skiing or snowboarding accident. Generally, however, the answer is no. A common injury resulting from a skier collision is an ACL tear. Medical expenses for a torn ACL, including doctor’s visits, MRI, surgery, location costs, medication, rehab/physical therapy, can easily be in the $30,000 range.”
In this example, with the Spot coverage, you might come out even, or maybe be out a few thousand dollars. “But,” Evan goes on to say, “you haven’t been compensated for your time off work. You haven’t been compensated for your pain, or the ordeal you’ve gone through. You haven’t been compensated for the damage to your knee going forward. You haven’t been compensated for the ruined vacation. Yes, it’s a good thing that $25,000 was covered, but it is not full compensation.”
While no two cases are the same, let’s play out this example. In our extensive experience with ski injury accidents, it is typical to see claims for skier collisions that resulted in an ACL tear, with a good healing result, in settlements in the range of $70,000 – $100,000. Even after paying an attorney and paying back your health insurance (they are secondary to the at-fault skier), here is a reasonable range of outcomes*:
Spot Medical Coverage
Out of pocket: $0.00;
Total compensation $0.00
$24,500 attorney fee, $10,000 repayment to health insurance**;
Total compensation: $35,500
$35,000 attorney fee, $10,000 repayment to health insurance**;
Total compensation: $55,000
*No two cases are the same, and past results are no guarantee of future success.
**Repayment to health insurance is taken from the settlement; there is no out-of-pocket expense to repay health insurance.
MODERATE SKI ACCIDENTS VS. SERIOUS SKI ACCIDENTS
An ACL tear with good healing results, although no laughing matter since they can be very painful and can require months to heal, would be considered a moderate injury. Sometimes, ski collisions can result in an ACL tear along with other injuries such as broken bones. Surgeries to repair a broken arm can cost up to $16,000, and a broken leg might cost up to $35,000.
It is not uncommon, however, for ski collisions to result in more severe injuries such as a traumatic brain injury which typically requires life-long treatment and care and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
If you were injured in a ski collision in Telluride, don’t be tempted by a $25k medical expense reimbursement policy without knowing all of your options. Do your research, call your friends and family, contact an experienced ski collision attorney before making any decision.
Denver, Co Ski Injury Attorneys at Chalat Hatten & Banker
For an appraisal of your case, please call and talk with a lawyer experienced in ski collision cases. We are here to walk you through your legal options and answer any questions you may have. We represent clients throughout the state of Colorado, including Denver, Aurora, Boulder, Lakewood, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Summit County and Eagle County.