Friday, June 29, 2012

Judge Rules Massive Himalayan Ski Resort May Move Forward

photo credit: Himalayan Ski Village Private Ltd.

Alfred Ford's dream of setting up a massive Himalayan ski resort was resuscitated last week when a Himalayan judge ruled his "Himalayan Ski Village" project can go forward. The great-grandson of Henry Ford and presumptive heir to the Ford fortune suffered a major setback to his plan of building a luxury resort high in region when the provincial government issued an order blocking the project in 2010. Last week's ruling by Justice Rajiv Sharma paves the way for the project to continue by invalidating the 2010 order.

Ski, Esq. Has a Record Day

Perhaps law was in the air yesterday with the Supreme Court's decision in the Obamacare litigation, but Ski, Esq. recorded its highest number of pageviews ever yesterday. We also recorded our highest 2- and 3-day periods in the history of the site. Thanks to all our readers who continue to spread the word about Ski, Esq.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Snö Mountain to Be Auctioned at Sherriff's Sale

The Scranton Times-Tribune is reporting that financially troubled Snö Mountain, located near Scranton, PA will be sold at auction after the bank foreclosed on the resort's mortgage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June Mountain Closed Through 2013 (at least...)

click image for full size trail map (photo credit: Mammoth Mountain)

Thanks to numerous tipsters for informing Ski, Esq. California's June Mountain will not open for the 2012-2013 season or for summer activities this summer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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BREAKING NEWS: Killington Settles Case of Negligence in Rescue of Injured Skier

Lower Ovation at Killington

The Burlington Free Press has reported that Vermont's Killington ski resort has settled a case in which a plaintiff alleged that the resort was negligent in maintaining and marking its expert Ovation trail and that he sustained injuries during a ski patrol rescue after his initial fall. According to the report, the case settled before the second day of trial could commence early this morning in the U.S. District Court in Rutland.

Giants' and Jets' Lawsuit Would Block Meadowlands Ski Slope

View from MetLife Stadium facing the proposed ski slope at American Dream

On Friday, the New York Giants and New York Jets filed a lawsuit against the developers of the "American Dream" mall complex currently under construction in the Meadowlands. If successful, the lawsuit would block the creation of the United States' first indoor ski slope.

Monday, June 25, 2012

After Years of Litigation, Yet Another Lawsuit Slows Aspen's Burnt Mountain Expansion

Arrow showing location of Long Shot trail
On Friday, the Aspen Daily News published a story about Aspen Skiing Co.'s expansion project on Burnt Mountain, which after 5 years of litigation, appears closer than ever to becoming a reality. However, continued objections by environmental groups seem to have once again stalled the project.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bear Creek Fails to Pay Amusement Tax

photo credit: Bear Creek

According to a report published in the Reading Eagle, Pennsylavania's Bear Creek ski resort has failed to pay a municipal amusement tax and Longswamp Township is preparing legal action to collect back taxes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

9th Circuit Sanctions Indian Tribes' Attorney in Arizona Snowbowl Case

Map of states comprising the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Ski, Esq. has been closely monitoring the progress of litigation involving the Arizona Snowbowl and Native American tribes (original story and first update). The dispute dated back over a decade to when the Flagstaff area resort first proposed using reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking. Two rounds of litigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the Snowbowl finally prevailed, but not before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs' had attempted to game the system by bringing a second, nearly identical lawsuit against the resort.

In June, Ski, Esq. reported that the Snowbowl filed a motion for attorneys' fees. Yesterday, the 9th Circuit denied that motion, but sanctioned the tribes' attorney - Howard Shanker - and ordered him to pay court costs for the second lawsuit.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mount Bachelor to Reopen For Summer Skiing Weekend

A screenshot from the resort's homepage announcing the good news
Good news for skiers in the Pacific Northwest. Mount Bachelor has announced it will reopen this weekend for summer skiing. Along with Washington's Crystal Mountain, Mount Bachelor will be the only open ski resort in the United States next weekend. Additional info can be found on the resort's website, here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Austrian Man Sentenced After Conviction in Wife's Avalanche Death

Obertauern Ski Resort (photo credit: Gasthof zur Post)
The Austrian Times is reporting that a 65 year old man has been given a 3-month sentence after an appellate court upheld his involuntary manslaughter conviction for triggering an avalanche that caused his wife's death while the pair was skiing at the Obertauern ski resort. The court then immediately suspended the sentence, meaning that if the man - whose name has not been released - complies with certain terms and conditions, he will not serve any jail time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Connecticut Appellate Court Finds Ski Sundown Not Liable for Skier's Paralysis

 (photo credit: Ski Sundown)

A Connecticut Appellate Court has upheld a jury's finding of no liability for Ski Sundown following a 2007 terrain park accident that left a boy paralyzed.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

UPDATE: Bulgarian President Vetoes Proposed Ski Law

In an update to a story published on Friday, Reuters is reporting that Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has vetoed legislation that would have greatly expanded developers' rights.  Plevneliev issued a statement saying,

"The law raises reasonable doubts about...unbalanced decisions which will confront us with irreparable consequences to the environment." 

He added, however, that he still sought a way to expand the country's ski industry as a means of increasing tourism and that he hoped his veto would allow time for a compromise palatable to both environmentalists and resort owners.

Friday, June 15, 2012

In Bulgaria Ski Law Fuels Wild Protests

Protestors carried away by police (photo credit: Reuters)

How often does a new law concerning the ski industry evoke such sentiment that police are forced to don riot gear? In the United States - never. In Bulgaria - apparently two days in a row.

Bulgaria's parliament has approved legislation making it easier for ski resorts to develop new trails, lifts, and infrastructure within the country. Reuters is reporting that the new law sparked wild protests from Bulgarian environmental activists, angered by what they view as the "plundering" of the country's forests. For a second straight day, as many as 1,500 protestors demonstrated in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia  and 9 were arrested.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Legal Issues Surrounding 2012-2013 Park City Season Passes: (What Passholders Should Know)

(photo credit: Park City Mountain Resort)

Summer is the time of year when resorts push to sell their season passes for the upcoming winter. By offering big discounts to those who buy early, resorts are able to generate revenue when the mountain is closed and are more likely to have a constricted cash flow.

Utah's Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) is no different, except in one regard. Embroiled in litigation with its landlord (Talisker, owner of the nearby Canyon's resort), PCMR cannot say with absolute certainty that it will be open for the 2012-2013 season. At this point, all indications are that PCMR will in fact operate, but lawyers are risk averse so there are some changes to the PCMR season pass process for 2012-2013.

What you need to know if you're considering buying a PCMR season pass after the jump.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Echo Mountain for Sale

Another week, another ski resort for sale. This time Echo Mountain, the closest ski resort to Denver, joins the list.

Details after the jump.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Court Allows Knights of Columbus to Intervene in Whitefish Mountain Jesus Statue Lawsuit

A Montana federal judge has ruled that the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, may intervene in a lawsuit over the removal of a statue of Jesus from Whitefish Mountain, MT. The court held that the KOC, who installed the monument in 1955 and have been its custodians ever since, have a protectable interest in the lawsuit by virtue of the special use permit they hold for the statute. Consequently, the court held they may intervene.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Switzerland's Highest Court Rules Google's Ski Slope and Street View Images Can Remain Online

The seal of the Switzerland's highest court

Switzerland's Bundesgericht handed Google a big victory on Friday by allowing the company to publish images without completely obscuring private information.

GoogleEarth introduced a popular new service in 2012 when it videotaped Swiss ski runs and published the images on as part of its "Street View" product.  In February, Bloomberg reported that Google planned to add images of a total of 350 kilometers (218 miles) of Swiss ski pistes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tamarack's Wildwood Express Removed (VIDEO REPORT)

Yet another setback for Idaho's Tamarack Resort - multiple sources are reporting that Bank of America has repossessed the resort's Wildwood Express Quad chairlift. The Wildwood Express serviced mainly intermediate and expert terrain. Full details after the jump.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Link: Bob Berwyn Comments on Consequences of Aspen Hot Dog Lawsuit

The Summit County Citizens Voice published an article today on the Aspen "hot dog" lawsuit discussed by Ski, Esq. back in May. The author, Bob Berwyn, makes an interesting observation. He notes that "[j]udges in Colorado ski towns are starting to carve out a little bit of room for skiers to claim damages when ski areas are found to violate specific provisions of the Ski Safety Act." He discusses case as one that will set the limits on the effectiveness of waivers.

Ski, Esq. described the case in slightly different terms. Rather than focusing on the effectiveness of the waiver, we instead focused on the difference between negligence and negligence per se. The former is clearly barred by statute (or by waiver), while the latter proceeds because parties cannot abrogate statutory requirements.

In my opinion, the case has less to do with the Ski Safety Act and more to do with the cause of action. A plaintiff could potentially recover against a resort that violated any number of statutes under a negligence per se theory. Mr. Berwyn frames the issue as something akin to loophole in the waiver. I might characterize it instead as something beyond the scope of the waiver entirely.  Statutes trump contracts.

The article is worth a read and can be found at:

Mailbag: Belleayre Comp Question

A reader recently wrote in with the following question about the Belleayre article that ran last week.

"What if an individual law enforcement officer received more than one comped lift ticket over the course of a ski season; e.g., what if an officer used this benefit 10 days in a season, for a total value of $570? Would that be a violation of the law? I would think it would at least violate the INTENT of the law."

My answer after the jump.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Watchdog Group Sues for Release of Records Relating to Obama Family's Aspen Ski Trip

The Obamas in Aspen (photo credit: Politico)
Barack Obama has a lot of things on his mind, but as Washington's famous summer swelter sets in, skiing was almost certainly not one of them. However, winter is very much on the mind of one public interest group that has demanded answers about the First Family's 2012 ski trip to Aspen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

UPDATE: Wolk Creek Resort Fails to Sell at Auction

(photo credit: Wolf Creek Properties LP)
Several weeks ago Ski, Esq. published an article about the auction of Wolf Creek Ski Resort in Eden, Utah. The auction took place last Friday, but the bidding was anything but warm.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maryland's Wisp Resort for Sale

Wisp's trail map (click to enlarge, photo credit: Wisp Resort)

A local CBS affiliate is reporting that the owners of Wisp Resort in Deep Creek Lake, MD are looking to sell the resort to "stave off financial failure."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

UPDATE: Plaintiffs' Attorney in Arizona Snowbowl Litigation Responds to Resort's Demand for Attorneys' Fees

(photo credit: Arizona Snowbowl)

Some readers may recall the ongoing fight over snowmaking at the Arizona Snowbowl.  Ski, Esq. wrote an article in May discussing the battle, but in short, the dispute dates back over a decade to when the Flagstaff area resort first proposed using reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking. Two rounds of litigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the Snowbowl finally prevailed, but not before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs' had attempted to game the system by bringing a second, nearly identical lawsuit against the resort.

The Snowbowl filed a motion for attorneys' fees, to which the tribes' attorney, Mr. Howard Shanker has just replied.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Impropriety Alleged in Belleayre Cop Comps

For years, neighboring Catskill resorts have argued that state-owned Belleayre Ski Center in Highmount, NY has been undercutting them by giving away an overabundance of free or discount lift tickets while taxpayers picked up the tab for the resort's operating losses. Now new information about the intricacies of that program have come to light and one Catskill newspaper is crying foul.