Eldora Ski Collision Death On November 30, 2021

Bloch & Chapleau Dec 2nd, 2021 Press Releases

Tragically, on November 30, 2021, a 72-year old male skier was killed in a collision with a snowboarder at Eldora mountain.  While deaths caused by other snow riders are not common, Colorado’s ski areas can do much more to make skiing and snowboarding safer for their guests.

Bloch & Chapleau has been at the forefront of the effort to enact laws in Colorado to require ski areas to increase safety and transparency on the slopes. For the past several years, Bloch & Chapleau has drafted proposed legislation through the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) and other means to make ski areas safer, including the adoption of common-sense safety measures that are easy and inexpensive to implement, such as:

  • installing video cameras in high collision areas, lift towers, and all chair lifts;
  • designating formal investigators for all ski incidents;
  • mandating detailed reporting of all incidents;
  • ensuring adequate training of all ski operators and adequate staffing of all lifts;
  • requiring lift operators to stop lifts when riders experience trouble loading; and
  • free and easy access to records such as Incident Report Cards.

This proposed legislation is appropriately and fittingly titled by the firm “THE FOX GUARDING THE HENHOUSE” and can be immediately provided upon request.

The Colorado ski industry and its powerful lobbyists are a financial force and have opposed proposed legislation to make the ski areas safer. Earlier this year, an advocacy group called Safe Slopes Colorado proposed an amendment to the Colorado Ski Safety Act, titled Ski Area Safety Plans and Accident Reporting (SB21-184), which would require ski areas  to “adopt and disclose safety plans, disclose seasonal ski accident statistics, and maintain an accident database.” Not surprisingly, the Bill was promptly killed in committee without a Senate vote by the Colorado ski area lobby, including Colorado Ski Country USA, which represents nearly every Colorado ski area.

Despite this, Bloch & Chapleau continues to advocate for the adoption of legislation to make ski areas safer to decrease the occurrence of injuries and deaths on the mountain. This becomes more important every year as ski areas substantially increase the number of their guests without addressing the overcrowding of their slopes. Bloch & Chapleau is happy to discuss these issues in more detail. Please direct any questions to partners Joseph D. Bloch and Trenton J. Ongert at 970-926-1700 (office), 303-808-5776 (Joseph cell), 303-517-8772 (Trenton cell), or by email at jbloch@blochchapleau.com and tongert@blochchapleau.com.