South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Statutory Immunity Extends Only to Clearly Covered Activities
Description New Hampshire high court held that a state law granting immunity to ski area operators from suits arising from injuries incurred while participating in the "sport of skiing" does not give immunity to ski area operators who offer other sports, such as snow tubing. It is subject to common law liability.
Topic Torts
Key Words Negligence, Sports, Skiing, Statutory Immunity
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Sweeney went snow tubing at Ragged Mountain Ski Area (RM). It operates traditional downhill and cross-country skiing areas as well as a snow tubing area. Sweeney was injured when she went out of control on a snow tube and ran into another tuber. She sued RM for negligence in the operation of its snow tubing operation. RM moved for dismissal because a state statute bars recovery by those injured in the "sport of skiing." The trial court dismissed Sweeney's complaint. She appealed.
Decision

Reversed and remanded. Sweeney did not participate in the "sport of skiing" within the meaning of the state statute. Skiing includes alpine and Nordic skiing, but its definition does not include snow tubing, so the immunity provided to ski area operators does not cover this activity. Her suit may proceed.

Citation Sweeney v. Ragged Mountain Ski Area, 855 A.2d 427 (Sup. Ct., NH, 2004)

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