May 10, 2014
A Wyoming Federal Court jury took less than 30 minutes to decide that Snow King Ski Area and Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was not liable for a minor’s fall from a chairlift in December of 2009. Texas residents Leya and Glenn Oswald, the child’s parents, sued Snow King Ski Area and Mountain Resort along with the Jackson Hole Ski Club in Federal Court after the accident, alleging that the fall from the lift was the fault of both Snow King and the Ski Club. The Ski Club resolved its claims with the Oswalds prior to trial. The Oswalds sought approximately 1.4 million dollars in damages against Snow King.
It’s a good thing that this lift was being tested and nobody was on it! The footage is of a destructive testing of an old lift done at Winter Park, Co. If a ski lift spins in reverse, jumping is the only option.
Jackson attorneys James Lubing and Leah Corrigan, representing Snow King Ski Area and Mountain Resort, acknowledged that the minor fell from the lift and sustained injuries in the fall, but maintained that Snow King was not responsible for the fall. The Wyoming Recreation Safety Act holds individuals personally responsible for injuries and damages they sustain that result from an inherent risk of the recreational activity they participate in, and provides that the provider is not liable for the damages. The Act applies to virtually all common outdoor recreational activities such as river rafting, horseback riding and other similar activities. Attorneys Lubing and Corrigan argued that the minor’s fall and subsequent injuries resulted from an inherent risk of alpine skiing. The jury agreed.