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by Bill Jones, Ski Instructor
ATTORNEY GENERAL, 5th JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF ISSUE WARNING AGAINST RECKLESS SKIING
December 4th, 2000
Denver-- Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, 5th Judicial District Attorney Michael Goodbee, and Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales today issued a Consumer Advisory warning skiers that they can be held civilly and criminally liable for their actions if they engage in reckless conduct endangering the health or safety of fellow skiers.
"Colorado skiing is the best in the world," Attorney General Salazar said. "We encourage all who want to ski to do so and support the ski industry's efforts to promote responsible skiing to ensure that all skiers, regardless of ability, have the most enjoyable experience possible. We add our voices to that effort by reminding those who would endanger the health or safety of fellow skiers that their conduct may have personal consequences."
"I am proud to stand with the Attorney General and Sheriff Morales to spread this important message of personal responsibility," District Attorney Mike Goodbee said. "This district and state should lead the world on this important point."
"In Summit County, as well as other ski area counties, we want our residents and guests to have a positive ski experience," Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales said. "The enforcement of the Skier Safety Act by not only law enforcement personnel but by the individuals who ski and board responsibly will only enhance the Colorado experience. Skiers and/or boarders will be held civilly and criminally liable for their actions if they engage in reckless conduct that endangers the health and safety of fellow skiers. We applaud the Colorado ski industry in their diligent support of the Skier Safety Act."
The following information summarizes a person's possible civil and criminal liability under Colorado law for skiing or snowboarding recklessly. This summary focuses on skier/boarder versus skier/boarder collisions.
M O R E
A person may sue a reckless skier/snowboarder for injuries, damages and death caused by the skier's negligent or reckless skiing under general principles of civil liability (also called "torts"). Possible claims may include negligence and wrongful death.
The Ski Safety Act of 1979 (the "Act") supplements tort law by providing that skiers have certain duties toward one another, and that a breach of any such duty establishes negligence per se (without additional proof that such conduct is negligent).
Under the Act, skiers' duties include skiing within one's own ability, maintaining control of speed and course at all times, maintaining a proper lookout so as to avoid other skiers and objects, and to refrain from conduct which may cause injury to others. Other statutory duties include not skiing in areas marked as closed, understanding and heeding all posted information and warnings, yielding to skiers already moving, not skiing while impaired by alcohol or drugs, failing to give name and current address when involved in an injury accident, and knowingly trespassing on lands adjacent to a ski area when such lands are closed and are marked accordingly.
Damages available under civil law to an injured skier include compensatory damages (economic, non-economic, and physical impairment or disfigurement) and punitive damages.
II. Criminal Liability
Criminal liability for reckless skiing may arise under both the Ski Safety Act and under the Colorado Criminal Code.
Under the Act, a skier commits a class 2 petty offense if a skier uses a ski slope or trail which is marked as closed, skis while impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs, fails to give his or her name and current address when involved in an injury accident, or knowingly enters adjacent land which is closed and marked as closed, then such skier commits a class 2 petty offense. Upon conviction, a fine of up to $300 may be imposed.
Also, in appropriate cases, a skier may face prosecution under provisions of the Colorado Criminal Code for manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault in the third degree, or reckless endangerment.
A person commits manslaughter, a class 4 felony, if such person recklessly
causes the death of another person, and conviction carries a fine from $2,000 to
$500,000 and imprisonment from 2 to 6 years.
The maximum term of imprisonment for both manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide may be doubled if extraordinary aggravating circumstances are present.
A person commits assault in the third degree, a class 1 misdemeanor, if such person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, and conviction carries a fine from $500 to $5,000 and imprisonment from 6 months to 24 months.
Finally, a person commits reckless endangerment, a class 3 misdemeanor, if such person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person, and conviction carries a fine from $50 to $750 and imprisonment up to 6 months.
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This "Attorney General, 5th Judicial District Attorney and Summit County Sheriff Issue Warning Against Reckless Skiing" page was last modified 07/28/2017 02:25:43 AM