Senate Passes Bill To Protect Ski Operators

Feb 22, 2017

Credit Zach Dischner

After a lengthy debate, the Wyoming Senate gave final approval to what’s known as the Ski Safety Act. The bill is intended to protect ski areas from litigation in case of injury or death.

Supporters say frivolous lawsuits drive up insurance costs for smaller ski areas. Cheyenne Senator Tara Nethercott added an amendment to make sure there was proper signage to protect skiers. She said those using the slopes are looking for a safe experience.

“That’s just absurd, that the people who are severely injured and or killed are considered predators rather than making sure that these ski resorts maintain a responsible business ensuring the safety of our tourists and our citizens who use these resorts.”

Laramie Senator Chris Rothfuss argued that the legislation went too far in favor of ski areas.              

“These are our Wyoming people as well as folks from all over the country coming to Wyoming to ski at our ski resorts that expect a safe, positive, experience and a good time. They don’t expect summary judgments to be unconditional if they have a catastrophic event.”

Cody Senator Hank Coe said the legislation will help reduce the cost of liability insurance for many small ski areas and Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey added that the legislation mirrors what has been enacted in neighboring states. The House still must approve Senate changes in the bill before it goes to the governor.