Should ski resorts be liable for avalanches?

Posted at 3:26 PM, Sep 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-29 17:26:54-04

Colorado's highest court is weighing whether ski resorts are liable for avalanches within their boundaries in a case with potentially far-reaching implications for the state's $3 billion-a-year ski industry.

The lawsuit involves Christopher Norris, who died in 2012 after he was caught in an avalanche at Winter Park. His widow is suing Winter Park's operator, Intrawest, arguing the resort should have closed the area where the slide happened.

An attorney for Norris' family told justices Tuesday that resorts have a responsibility to protect skiers from avalanches because they know where slides historically occur.

Lower courts have sided with the resort, noting state law says skiers willingly take a risk on the slopes. An attorney for the resort argues avalanches are an inherent danger in skiing.

A state Supreme Court ruling could take months.