Buy ski pass, sign away your rights

Even when they’re negligent, resorts may be covered by liability “waiver” written in fine print on the back of lift ticket, court finds


You may have missed this surprise decision from the Ontario Court of Justice, which dismissed the case of a snowboarder who sued Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ont. But Lawyers Weekly didn’t. The man had swung wide to avoid a mound of snow, only to collide with a snowmaking hydrant that was fixed to the ground, and had been obscured from view by the mound and fresh snowfall. The judge actually found that the resort had been negligent in failing to ensure the hydrant was visibly marked. But he also found that the standard exclusion from liability clause printed on the back of the boarders ticket–that’s right, the one you never read–negated the man’s case against the resort. Sports operators are still expected to uphold “fundamental terms” of these “contracts” with their customers, but the gist of the decision is clear: with a few words in tiny font, they are allowed a good deal of stupidity.

Lawyer’s Weekly

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Buy ski pass, sign away your rights

  1. Any responsible skier knows the relavent section of the responsibility code (which is posted prominently at the bottom of Blue Mountain Lifts) here.
    “Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. ”
    Ovbiously, this person wasn’t in control.

    For a different perspective on this, one should realize that instead of a snowmaking hydrant, there could have been a small fallen child. If that was the case, the lawsuit would have been the parents suing the man for skiing out of control.

    Anybody with skiing experience knows that Blue Mountain is in fact one of the most well marked resorts. In other provinces (like those with real mountains!), this probably would never have come to court, as most skiers generally realize that going down a snow-covered slope on long skis designed to keep you going fast is inherently dangerous.

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