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Vail Now Liable For Avalanche Death of Local Teen

A Broomfield, Colorado judge ruled that Vail Resorts can be sued for the death of a local teen, who died in an in-bounds avalanche last January. After an hour and a half of oral arguments, the judge found that the Colorado Skier Safety Act, which has protected the state's ski resorts from all kinds of negligence suits in the past, doesn't list in-bounds avalanches under its list of "inherent risks." Thus, Vail is now liable for negligence in its handling of the Prima Cornice terrain, in which 13-year old Taft Conlin died after an avalanche broke loose while he and five friends were skiing the terrain last January, carrying him into a stand of spruce trees from which Conlin would succumb to blunt-force trauma.

While the higher access points to the terrain were closed due to avalanche danger, Conlin and his friends entered the terrain from a lower gate and side-stepped 120 feet up the hill, and Vail has not said where the group crossed over into the closed section of the terrain. While Vail Resorts had asked to have the case dismissed because it had roped off the higher portions of the terrain, Broomfield District Court Judge Patrick Murphy ruled that the Colorado Skier Safety Act requires resorts to notify the public of a closed run at each identified entrance. No trial date has been set, and there has been no talk of a settlement.
· Judge: Vail Resorts can be sued for avalanche death [Vail Daily]