Avalanche victim’s family sues Winter Park
May 23, 2012
Sky-Hi Daily News
Aspen, CO Colorado
GRANBY, Colo. – The family of Christopher Norris, who died in January at Winter Park Resort after being caught in an avalanche, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Grand County District Court.
The complaint has been filed against Intrawest Winter Park Operations Corp., which manages and operates Winter Park Resort.
The complaint alleges that Winter Park officials knew or should have known about the slopes within the boundaries of the resort that could have been prone to avalanche. The document also states that the resort knew about avalanche warnings that day and that it should have known the area was likely to experience avalanches and therefore was not safe.
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Winter Park Resort officials “had the duty to close those areas within its boundary which it knew or should have known posed an avalanche hazard to skiers under the conditions existing on January 22, 2012,” according to the complaint.
Intrawest officials in Denver referred inquiries to Winter Park Resort, which did not respond to three phone calls beginning May 18 seeking response to the lawsuit’s allegations.
Salyndra E. Fleury is the surviving spouse and has hired attorney James Heckbert of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh and Jardine P.C., who is working from his office in Steamboat Springs, as her attorney.
“There were avalanche warnings in the backcountry, and they were telling people to go to the safety of ski areas where they control avalanches,” said Heckbert in a phone interview May 17.
“Ski areas are the experts. There is inherent risk
as a part of skiing. You may hit a rock. That is part
of skiing in a ski area. That is inherent risk. An avalanche is not part of the inherent risk in a ski resort,” he said.
The area was not roped off and was not posted as closed, he said.