Minnesota Ski Law

No ski safety statute. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 466.03 affords some statutory limitation of liability for government operators of parks and recreation area. Cross-country skiers subject to a user fee. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 85.41. Common law negligence for skier/skier collisions, and common law doctrine of primary assumption of the risk.


Review a few Ski Law cases from Minnesota below.

Prior to 2006

In a case recognizing a high level of immunity for a governmental operator, it was held that a sideward sloping hill leading off of a ski trail and into trees did not constitute an “artificial condition” for the purpose of applying the trespasser standard of care, reasoning that “even if the sloping hill was man-made it duplicated natural mountain environment of area.” Martin v. Spirit Mountain Recreation Area Authority, 566 N.W.2d 719 (Minn. 1997). Encountering a parked ATV on a ski trail not an “obvious and inherent risk of skiing” for purposes of Minnesota’s doctrine of primary assumption of risk. Verberkmoes v. Lutsen Mountains Corp., 844 F.Supp 1356 (D.Minn. 1994). A resort has no duty to protect against a skier/skier collision involving an intoxicated skier, absent actual or constructive notice of the danger. Phillips v. Wild Mountain Sports, Inc., 439 N.W.2d 58 (Minn. Ct. App. 1989). Introduction of tow ticket with exculpatory language upheld for limited purpose of showing plaintiff’s knowledge as an element of an assumption of risk defense. Larson v. Powder Ridge Ski Corp., 432 N.W.2d 774 (Minn. Ct. App. 1988). Skier/skier collision is a basis for action, and assumption of risk a jury issue “strictly on a comparative negligence basis,” per Seidl v. Trollhaugen, Inc., 232 N.W.2d 236 (Minn. 1975).