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It may be March, but with wacky weather patterns plaguing most of the U.S., it looks like ski season isn't going to end any time soon. This is why it's important to brush up on your ski safety, and to know what your rights are if you get hurt.
So, if you're heading up to the slopes in the near future, keep in mind these tips for avoiding a ski accident. And if you've already been in one, jump down below to learn about your rights.
1. Buddy up and stay close. If you're off the beaten path, it's important not to go at it alone. Bring a partner. It's also suggested that you keep one another in sight, especially in deep snow. This way, if you're involved in a skiing accident, Mt. Shasta News explains that someone can rescue you. Or, at the very least, dig your head out. After all, a skiing accident is better than a fatal skiing accident.
2. Avoid trees. As the paper explains, trees often times are surrounded by undetectable holes--branches block snow, causing it to fall unevenly. These holes are one of the foremost causes of ski accidents and fatalities on the slopes.
3. Be serious. Don't play on ski lifts or swing around your poles. And for heaven's sake, you're flinging yourself down a hill. It may be fun, but unless you want to be injured or cause a ski accident, don't treat it like a joke.
Now, say that, despite adhering to these guidelines, you end up in a ski accident. Who's liable?
It depends. Skiing is an inherently dangerous sport, so when you gear up and fly down, you're assuming the risk of being hurt. Those ordinary, expected tumbles are most likely your fault.
However, sometimes they're not. Ski park operators may be liable if they negligently maintained equipment, ski lifts, and the slopes. And if they're not regularly checking paths for holes and dangerous conditions, they may also be liable for any tree-related injuries.