Arizona Ski Law

Arizona’s “Ski Safety Act”, effective July 21, 1997, codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 5-701 to 5-707. In an action by a skier against a ski area operator, the skier is held to have assumed all inherent risks that are an “integral part of the sport of skiing, excluding acts of ordinary or gross negligence, or reckless or intentional conduct on the part of the ski area operator.” Id at §§ 5- 705, 5-701. Inherent risks expressly include “collisions with other skiers.” Id. at § 5-701. Operators must meet signage and notice requirements, as well as safety feature compliance on tramways and other equipment. Id. at §§ 5-703, 5-704. In an action by a skier against a ski area operator, the skier has enumerated statutory duties relating to their relationship with the operator and other skiers (§ 5-705); the statutory language chosen creates a latent issue as to whether duties owed between skiers are recognized in skier/skier cases.


Phelps v. Firebird Raceway, Inc., 113 P.3d 1003 (Ariz. 2001)

In a case of first impression, the court declared that Art. 18, Sect. 5 of the Arizona Constitution unambiguously provides that assumption of risk is a question of fact for the jury “in all cases whatsoever” and “at all times”; the case involved a contractual waiver by a race car driver. Miller v. Arnal Corp., 632 P.2d 987 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1981), the only Arizona ski rescue case on record, and one that exonerated a patrol for their failed but “reasonable” rescue attempts, remains good law.