Rhode Island Ski Law

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 41-8-1 to 41-8-4 provides that skiers have the primary responsibility for avoiding collision with “obstructions,” man made or otherwise, and are solely responsible for determining their own skiing ability. A skier skiing downhill shall have the primary duty to avoid any collision with any other skier below him or her, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the responsibility for collisions by any skier with any other skier or person shall be solely that of the skier or skiers or person involved and not that of the operator. Skiers involved in a skiing accident and who leave the scene are guilty of a misdemeanor. Operators must operate ski areas in a “reasonably safe condition or manner,” and are not responsible for skier/skier collisions. Passenger tramways must be registered and inspected, and are subject to continuing administrative regulation by department of environmental management. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 42-17.2-1 to 42-17.2-10. Comparative negligence statute does not apply to cases arising from snowmobile operation on public lands; passengers and operators assume the “obvious and necessary” inherent risks of such operation. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-20-5. By statute, department of environmental management is required to posts signs on public property warning snowmobilers that they assume the risk of injury; the lack of signs is inadmissible in negligence suits.


Salk v. Alpine Ski Shop, 342 A.2d 622 (1975)

Skier broke leg when bindings did not release. Skier sued manufacturer and retailer in negligence. In finding that plaintiff had not met her burden of proof, the court observed that “the mere happening of an accident does not ordinarily justify the inference that the defendant was negligent and that his negligence proximately caused the injury to plaintiff.” Id. at 625.