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What are a ski resort's responsibilities to its visitors?

In the upcoming months, thousands of people will be hitting the ski slopes in Colorado -- sometimes literally. Injuries, from minor to extremely serious, are often an inevitable risk of the pastime. How do you determine whether an injury was unavoidable, due to your own inexperience or carelessness or whether the ski resort could have reasonably prevented it?

First, it's important to note that many ski resorts require skiers, particularly season pass holders, to sign a waiver that frees the resort from any liability if a skier is injured. Make sure you read any document carefully that you're required to sign before using the slopes. Make sure that you're not giving up your right to take legal action against the resort if it's warranted.

Most injuries at ski resorts occur, of course, on the slopes. It's essential to refrain from dangerous behavior that could cause you or others to be injured. However, resorts should keep their slopes, runs and trails well maintained to avoid unsafe conditions and to have personnel on the slopes to help ensure the safety of skiers. Even if you're injured due to another skier's actions, the resort still may be liable if it had no ski safety patrol.

A number of skiers are injured before they ever get to the slopes. Ski lift accidents are more common than many people realize. Resorts should keep their lifts in good repair. After all, they're moving people up to high altitudes, and a fall could be devastating.

Resorts have other responsibilities to their visitors. They should also make sure that any equipment they rent is in good repair. Further, just like other property owners, they should do their best to minimize conditions that can cause slip and fall injuries caused by ice and snow on walkways and surrounding their buildings.

If you've been injured at a ski resort, it's essential to report the injury as soon as possible to the appropriate personnel. If it's an injury that requires medical care, it's wise to find out what your legal options are for seeking compensation to pay for it.

Source: Findlaw, "When Is a Ski Resort Liable for Injuries?," Christopher Coble, accessed Sep. 14, 2016

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