Skiing and Snowboarding Accidents: Who Is Responsible?

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Like many Quebecers, you might be hitting the slopes this winter. Fortunately, ski hills are open during the pandemic. But who’s responsible if you get injured while skiing or snowboarding? Here’s what you need to know. 

You accept the risks associated with your activity

As a skier or snowboarder, you must accept the risks associated with your activity. This is generally true for all sports. For example, you might hit a tree, run over a bump, or fall. This can lead to serious injury.

However, when you ski or snowboard, you’re not accepting all possible risks. You must only accept the risks that are normal, reasonable, and foreseeable.

Both you and the ski hill operator have responsibilities

Ski hill operators have responsibilities to you. For example, they must take reasonable precautions to make sure visitors are safe. Ski hill operators must also carefully monitor their trails for unusual or unforeseeable dangers (for example, pipes hidden by the snow).   

On your end, you must watch your speed and where you’re going. You must be able to stop and avoid people and obstacles on the trail.

Whose fault is it?

The judge will consider the specific circumstances of each accident when deciding who’s responsible for your injuries. The ski hill operator? You? Both you and the ski hill operator? The judge takes the following factors into account when deciding on responsibility:

  • Your level of experience in the sport
  • Your familiarity with the location where the accident occurred
  • Whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident
  • Weather conditions
  • How well the ski trails were maintained
  • Visibility of the object that caused the accident