Articles Posted in Ski accidents

Maine is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding. And while skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports that all ages can enjoy, they can also present significant dangers. One common question that comes up after Maine skiing accidents is whether the ski resort can be held liable for a skier’s injuries. The answer, as is often the case in personal injury law, is “sometimes.”

Generally speaking, landowners owe a duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. Thus, absent any other legislation, it would seem that ski resorts are bound by this duty and could be held liable for a skier’s injuries. However, the Maine State Legislature has the ability to clarify or eliminate a duty of care if it sees fit. Not surprisingly, given the fact that the ski tourism industry is a significant source of revenue for the state, lawmakers provide some legal protections to ski resorts.

Under Maine Revised Statutes section 15217, lawmakers have determined that skiers and snowboarders assume certain risks by engaging in these winter sports. In effect, section 15217 provides broad immunity to ski resorts by stating that skiers and snowboarders accept “the risks inherent in the sport and, to that extent, may not maintain an action against or recover from the ski area operator … for any losses, injuries, damages or death that result from the inherent risks of skiing.” The statute notes that weather conditions, surface conditions, and collisions with fixed objects, among other risks, are all inherent risks of the sport.

The Bangor Daily News reported one teen was killed and another seriously injured in a January sledding accident at a Maine ski resort.

Media reports indicate two teens were riding a sled down a ski trail at about 2 a.m. when they hit a tree, badly injuring one rider and killing the other teen. Both teens reportedly attended Portsmouth High School. An Oxford County sheriff’s deputy said the teens were riding a rubber tube on an expert level course. A resort spokesperson said the resort was closed at the time of the accident and does not allow sledding.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) reports sledding fatalities are rare. However, serious and fatal Maine ski accidents are not. The agency reported 33 catastrophic injuries at U.S. ski areas last year. With more than a dozen major ski resorts, Maine remains among the nation’s most active skiing destinations, according to the Ski Maine Association.

A manufacturer of chairlifts used in ski resorts in Maine has issued a warning to resorts across the country to check the devices for defects.

Company engineers have conceded there is an inherent design flaw that likely contributed to the recent Portland ski injuries suffered by seven people in a single accident after they fell some 30 feet to the ground.

The accident speaks to the aging infrastructure of the ski resort industry in New England, and the dangers visitors may face.

A recent skiing accident on Sugarloaf Mountain killed a man as he headed to the hospital in the back of an ambulance, according to Bangor Daily News. The accident happened after the 41-year-old skier hit a tree at roughly 3:30 p.m. as he was making his way down the Lower Timberline Trail. He died just a few hours later.Our Bangor ski accident attorneys understand that skiing is a recreational sport many residents take part in for fun. Unfortunately, there are many serious and fatal injuries sustained in the winter activity, many of them preventable. Take the accident that happened last December, for example. You may remember this incident, when high-speed winds contributed to an accident on a Maine ski chair lift that caused skiers to fall 30 feet after the double-chair lift’s cable derailed. According to CBS News, eight skiers were injured and others were trapped for hours. Inspectors with the Maine Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety said that the lift was in fact up to safety code, but was in line to be replaced and was known to be vulnerable to strong winds.

Skiing and Snowboard Statistics from the National Ski Areas Association:

-Average number of fatalities a year over the last 10 years:s40.6

-In 2009/2010, there were 38 people who died.

-Twenty-five of the deaths were skiers and thirteen were snowboarders.

-There were more than 10 million skiers and snowboarders in 2008.

There are a few simple ways that skiers and snowboarders can help to reduce risks of injury or death while skiing. If you enjoy hitting the snowy, white hills, please review the following safety tips. Consider sharing them with friends and family members to help to increase their safety, too.

Skiing Safety Tips:

-Wear a helmet. It isn’t mandated, but it is recommended by the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the National Ski Patrol (NSP).

-Get your exercise. You’ll have more fun and be safer on the slopes if you’re in good physical shape. Exercise before you plan on hitting the hills.

-Make sure you have the proper ski equipment. Get your gear from a ski shop or a ski resort. It’s extra important to make sure that your boots fir properly and that your bindings are properly adjusted.

-You’re urged to wear a helmet.

-Be ready for the weather by wearing layers of clothing. Bring an extra pair or mittens or gloves, in case the first pair gets wet.

-If you’re not a veteran skier, get some ski lessons from a professional before heading out.

-Wear ski goggles.

-If you feel tired, take a break.

-Be sure to eat and drink plenty. Skiing burns a lot of energy.

-Always ski with a buddy so you can look after each other.

-Know your limits. Never try a ski trail that’s above your skill level.

-Always follow the rules of the slope and never go off trail. Trails are marked for a reason and trail closures are to help reduce the risks of injury.

-Remember that skiers who are in front of you, and below you, on the trail have the right-of-way.

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As reported in the Portland Press Herald on December 28, 2010

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A chair lift derailed in high winds at Maine’s tallest ski mountain Tuesday, sending screaming skiers plummeting as far as 30 feet to the slope below and injuring several of them.

The Sugarloaf resort in Carrabassett Valley, about 120 miles north of Portland, said about six people were injured when five chairs fell an estimated 25 to 30 feet. The resort’s ski patrol evacuated the lift, which had passed an inspection.

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