Utah Ski Law

Aspects of ski accident claims specific to Utah

Utah Ski Collision Law

If you have been injured by another skier or snowboarder, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.

Utah applies ordinary negligence concepts to collisions between skiers and boarders, and holds them liable when their failure to ski in a reasonable manner leads to a collision with another skier or rider. A skier’s duty “to other skiers [is] to ski reasonably and within control.”  Ricci v. Schoultz, 963 P.2d 784, 786 (Utah Ct. App. 1998).
What constitutes reasonable care when skiing is well-defined by industry standards. “Your Responsibility Code,” created and adopted by the National Ski Areas Association, is routinely published all around the mountain, from trail information boards on the mountain, to the napkins in the on-mountain restaurants. “Your Responsibility Code” includes well-understood rules of ski etiquette and safety.  The uphill skier has to yield to skiers below, and merging skiers have to yield to skiers already in progress.
All cases are fact-specific. To see whether or not you might have a claim for your ski lift accident, call or email now for a free consultation. We are always happy to answer your questions even if you aren’t sure yet if you want to hire a lawyer.

Utah CHARLIFT accident Law

If you have been injured while loading, unloading or riding a chairlift or rope tow, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.

While Utah ski area operators are not responsible for injuries caused by inherent risks of the sport of skiing, The Utah Passenger Ropeway Systems Act, Utah Code Ann. 72-11-201 clearly exempts lift accidents from the inherent danger classification of accidents as to which the ski area operator has no duty. Passenger ropeways must meet “The United States of America Standard Institute Safety Code for Aerial Passenger Tramways,” or an equivalent standard established by rule.
Utah has adopted the ANSI B77.1 2014 and 2017 as the governing standards for ski lifts. These regulations are extensive and set requirements for nearly every element of a ski lift, from sheave assemblies to the obligations of a lift attendant. For example, a ski area is responsible for maintaining orderly passenger traffic in the unloading and loading areas and for stopping the lift should a condition develop that might endanger a passenger (such as another skier mis-loading or unloading in front of your chair).
Every case is different and fact-specific. To see whether or not you might have a claim for your ski lift accident, call or email now for a free consultation. We are always happy to answer your questions even if you aren’t sure yet if you want to hire a lawyer.

Other Accidents at Utah Ski Areas

If you were injured while skiing at a ski area, you may be able to recover monetary compensation from the ski area for your injuries.

While many risks of skiing are considered “inherent risks” that are not actionable, this is not always the case. In Utah, ski areas are not responsible for injuries that result from dangers that are inherent in the sport. Inherent risk of skiing means those dangers or conditions which are an integral part of the sport of skiing, including, but not limited to: changing weather conditions, variations or steepness in terrain; snow or ice conditions; surface or subsurface conditions such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, and impact with lift towers and other structures and their components. Utah Code Ann. § 78B-4-402.
However, a risk is only “inherent” if it is “an integral part of the sport of skiing.” Clover v. Snowbird Ski Resort, 808 P.2d 1037, 1044 (Utah 1991). This means that even if a risk is typically considered “inherent” to the sport of skiing, if the risk can be eliminated by the ski area with reasonable care, then the risk is not considered an “inherent risk” and the skier or snowboarder may have a claim. As an example, even though “snow conditions” are usually considered an inherent risk of skiing, a skier may be able to bring a claim if they are injured by an unusual or excessive buildup of man-made snow on an open ski trail if the existence of that man-made snow buildup is not “integral to the sport.”
It is a common belief that every skier signs a waiver, or gets a waiver of claims printed on the back of a lift ticket, which bars any claim against a ski area. In Utah, these pre-injury releases of liability in the ski context are void as against public policy. Rothstein v. Snowbird Corp., 2007 UT 96, 175 P.3d 560. However, there is a case currently pending before the Utah Supreme Court which may alter or modify the Rothstein decision on waivers and/or the Clover decision regarding inherent risks. Rutherford ex rel. Rutherford v. Talisker Canyons Fin. Co., LLC, 2014 UT App 190, 333 P.3d 1266