New Hampshire Ski Law
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 225-A et seq. provides for statutory assumption of inherent risks and hazards of skiing and tramway use, regardless of safety measures taken by operators. All skier and passenger claims against an operator must be brought within two years. Id. at § 225-A:25. Operators are not common carriers. Id. Approved legislation pending full effect expands the act to include not only skiing but also “snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing;” it also supplements the Passenger Tramway Safety Board governing trams and ski jumps with a Commission to study “additional winter sports” that “may need to be included in the ski area exemption from liability and skier safety.” 2005 N.H. Laws 145 (H.B. 619). This appears to be a legislative response to cases such as the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision inSweeney v. Ragged Mountain Ski Area, Inc., 855 A.2d 427 (N.H. 2004), that refused to extend the act’s protections to a ski area sued for a snow tubing injury.
Review a few Ski Law cases from New Hampshire below.
Prior to 2006
Adie v. Temple Mountain Ski Area, Inc., 238 A.2d 738 (N.H. 1968), holding that risk of injury is on the skier, except in cases of negligent instruction; accord, Beringer v. Meadow Green-Wildcat Corp., 945 F.2d 4 (1st Cir. 1991), which held that ski areas not liable to skiers for injuries resulting from the inherent risks of skiing. However, rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Safety pertaining to tramway safety do not eliminate common law claims arising from negligent maintenance and construction of tramways. Ford v. Black Mountain Tramways, Inc., 259 A.2d 129 (N.H. 1968). If a ski area customarily charges for spectator access, non-paying spectators’ claims are properly subject to the ski safety act, not the general recreational use statute. Soraghan v. Mt. Cranmore Ski Resort, Inc., 881 A.2d 693 (N.H. 2005).