Skiing Death Complicated by City Ownership of Ski Area

Lakewood, Colorado Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Denver, Boulder, and Nearby Areas

Posted: May 1, 2018

Skiing is a well-known recreational activity for people living in Denver, Colorado, even though there are inherent dangers in the winter pastime. Those that do it are aware of the injuries they could suffer if they make a mistake and often wear protection designed to mitigate such damage. Even with those protections, an individual can still be killed while skiing. Many people have died doing it and from time to time, it results in a wrongful death suit being filed.

This is exactly what happened after a woman lost her son in March 2011. The young man reportedly fell headfirst into snow while skiing at the Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The mother believes the city is responsible for her son’s death and decided to file a lawsuit accusing Steamboat Springs of negligence. The problem with this case is that Howelsen Hill Ski Area is of a rare breed because it is owned by the city. This has caused at least one major barricade to unexpectedly appear for her case.

The barricade came in the form of the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act. According to reports, this statute protects governmental entities from having a tort claim filed against them. Tort claims involve civil wrongs that cause harm to another party and in most cases, a city cannot be held liable for such a situation. There is the exception of dangerous conditions being present at a public facility – this exception allowed the suit to continue because a judge decided that the circumstances leading to the young man’s death constituted dangerous conditions. Apparently, he entered a closed area of the ski hill through a section that was not roped off to indicate its closure.

Now the case is with the Colorado Court of Appeals and it is unclear how the suit will conclude. If you have been injured in a skiing accident or any other situation that involves another party that can be held responsible, speak to an attorney about your case.

Steamboat Today, “Larsh lawsuit a case without much precedent” Michael Schrantz, Jul. 21, 2013