Utah Supreme Court Rejects Waivers as Defense for Ski Resorts

In an interesting ruling, the Utah Supreme Court has rejected the use of a standard waiver of liability by a ski resort as against public policy.

The case involved William Rothstein who suffered severe internal injuries when he skied into a wall at the Snowbird ski resort in February 2003. He had signed a standard waiver (twice) that assumed all risks and waiving liability for any ” negligence of Snowbird, its employees and agents.”

Rothstein skied off a connecting trail to an area that was marked off by rope by the resort, However, the rope had a gap, which Rothstein thought was an entrance to an open trail. He hit a wall made of railroad ties that was covered in snow.

Waivers have remained a difficult question for courts. They are often upheld but not uniformly. In the medical area, waivers have been found to be too broad and thus unconscionable. These waivers also raise evidentiary questions of consent due to their language or the conditions under which they were signed.

For the opinion, click here