In January of this year, a skier was skilled while on the slopes at Winter Park ski area during an avalanche. Now, the wife of the skier who lost his life is filing a wrongful death suit targeting the ski area owned by Denver operator, Intrawest. Claiming gross negligence, Ms. S. Fleury, now a widow, will be taking to court the ski area's operators for failing to rope off dangerous areas of the ski zone that were less than safe. With no idea that there was even the potential to be in the midst of an avalanche, Fleury's husband, C. Norris, willingly went up to the slopes for a day of fun, never to return again.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the potential for an avalanche was high on the day that Norris set out on the slopes. Heavy snow and high winds prompted the center to issue an avalanche forecast warning, stating specifically that there were, "widespread dangerous avalanche conditions." However, despite these warnings, the ski zone kept up its signs urging skiers to "enjoy the powder in the safety of the ski area." Nothing about the danger of an avalanche was ever mentioned.
Reports indicate that Norris crossed beneath the ski slope onto a low-angle terrain below an outcrop of rocks, triggering a 40-foot wide slide that ran 30 vertical feet. Although the slide was respectively small, it was enough to catch up Norris, burying him in the process. Reported missing by his father-in-law who was with him on the slopes, patrollers did not uncover Norris until sunset, at which time he was found buried under three feet of snow, made visible only by one gloved hand which remained above the snow and surrounding debris.
It has been argued that ski patrollers knew or at least should have known that the Trestle Trees area was less than safe in the current weather trends that were taking place that day. According to some, it was the duty of Intrawest to close off areas within its boundaries that could be potentially dangerous and prone to avalanches on a day with weather conditions such as those that were under way on January 22, 2012. In fact, another death that happened the same day further solidifies this belief. Thirteen-year-old professional skier, T. Conlin, also lost his life while skiing in a closed section of Vail Mountain that day.
Colorado operates under an industry standard Ski Safety Act that limits the liability that any resort will hold in lawsuits filed by the family members of those killed in ski accidents. As determined by the act, no more than $250,000 will be awarded to families of wrongful death lawsuits pertaining to ski accidents in the state. However, only time will tell what will ultimately become of the case that has been brought by Ms. Fleury, as some legal professionals anticipate the case being a sort of tester for others in the future.
Accidents resulting in injury and death can happen in any arena, as is evidenced by the recent lawsuit taking place over a ski death in Colorado. Residents of North Carolina are just as susceptible to being involved in an obscure accident that could take their lives. As such, it is important that the upmost safety be practiced in every situation. Acting vigilantly will be the best way to avoid the potential of an accident that could be fatal. For those whose actions are still not enough to prevent an accident of this nature, the Whitely Law Firm is here to help. When you
contact the firm, your case will be immediately addressed by a professional with the knowledge and competence to effectively meet your needs.