A Pennsylvania court recently decided in Vu v. Ski Liberty Operating Corp., 2019 U.S. App. Lexis 4261 (3d Cir. Feb. 12, 2019) whether a ski resort was responsible for a skier’s injuries after they skied over the edge of a trail to avoid colliding with a snowboarder.
Plaintiff, Quan Vu, was skiing at Liberty Mountain when a snowboarder approached him and cut him off, causing Vu to veer toward the edge of he trail. Vu skied over the edge and landed in a pile of rocks. Vu suffered multiple injuries and sued the resort, alleging that his injuries were caused by his skiing over an unmarked artificial cliff at the slope’s edge created by the Defendants’ snowmaking and snow grooming practices. In his complaint, Vu alleged that the defendants were negligent for failing to keep the slope free from unsafe conditions, warn plaintiff of the dangerous condition, and erect a fence or boundary marker to prevent skiers from skiing over the edge and into the rocks below. Defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff’s action was barred because skiing off trail is an inherent risk of downhill skiing.
The court decided that, under the Skier’s Responsibility Act, ski resorts have no duty to protect skiers from the inherent risks of the sport that are common, frequent, and expected. Losing control and skiing off the side of a trail is an inherent risk of skiing and inherent risks need not be natural conditions. Because plaintiff failed to identify any particular industry standard that defendant violated, defendants were properly granted summary judgment.