Judge dismisses injured skier’s claims
VAIL – A judge has dismissed the negligence and liability claims of Julia Parsons, a local skier who sued Vail Resorts after she allegedly gashed her knee on a protruding metal bracket while skiing across the Lionshead Bridge at the base of Vail Mountain in 2004.The trial that was set for March was called off Wednesday. Vail Resorts has countersued Parsons alleging breach of contract, seeking attorney fees and costs.
Eagle County District Court Judge R. Thomas Moorhead last week ruled that the release form Parsons signed when she was issued her merchant ski pass does not allow Parsons to sue Vail Resorts for the alleged injury.Parsons’ attorneys had argued that the waiver was contrary to the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which says “it is in the interest of the state of Colorado to establish reasonable safety standards for the operations of ski areas and for the skiers using them.”But Moorhead ruled that the release is not in conflict with the act. Parsons’ attorneys didn’t cite any specific violation of the Ski Safety Act, the judge said.
Moorhead also wrote that the waiver was clear in saying the person who signed it assumed all risks and couldn’t sue.”The bold print clearly conveys that the skier assumes all risks and holds Vail harmless from any and all liability or claims for injury or death to a person arising from participation in recreational skiing, regardless of whether the injury is the result of Vail’s negligence,” Moorhead wrote.Parsons’ attorneys said in court filings that they will ask the judge to reconsider his ruling.
Last year, the court rejected Parsons’ claim that Vail Resorts failed to comply with the Ski Safety Act when it didn’t mark or cover the bracket.Parsons says she sustained a two-and-a-half-inch gash in her knee when she skied across the old Lionshead Bridge in February 2004, and that she needed three layers of stitches to close the wound. She alleged she hit a bent metal bracket that protruded from the bridge. Vail Resorts has questioned Parsons’ account of how she was injured.Parsons’ attorney, Joe Bloch, declined comment. Vail Resorts does not comment on pending litigation.
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