Civil lawsuit filed against Sunlight Mountain Resort

Will Grandbois
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

A California couple is suing Sunlight Mountain Resort over an 2012 accident which injured Sally Rumpf, of San Diego.

The suit, filed with the United States District Court on Dec. 9 by Dallas law firm Stromberg Stock, lists both Rumpf and her husband, Louis, as plaintiffs. It describes Sally Rumpf as “very active and reasonably athletic” and the couple as “capable and responsible skiers who enjoy skiing within their abilities.”

According to the complaint, the Rumpfs had already completed several runs on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2012, and were approaching the lift when an attendant shouted “go, go, go,” in an attempt to get them to load.

“Obeying Sunlight’s negligently shouted instructions, as required by Colorado law, Mrs. Rumpf poled ahead and continued to attempt to load the lift,” it reads.

“Without enough time to safety position themselves on the oncoming lift, the center support pole struck Mr. Rumpf in the back of the right shoulder, and struck Mrs. Rumpf on her left shoulder and, possibly, her head,” it continues. “Immediately, Mr. Rumpf turned to the right as he was sliding back into the lift seat and saw Mrs. Rumpf … hanging lifeless on the outside of the chair with her right hand while the rest of her body began sliding under the lift. Mr. Rumpf then watched helpless as the lift dragged his wife up the mountain until her left shoulder caught a packed snow incline under the lift. It was this second impact that cause Mrs. Rumpf to be ripped from the outside of the chair and fall to the ground.”

WithLouis Rumpf unable to reach her, the document says, the lift operator attempted to lift the motionless Sally Rumpf, causing her to scream in pain. She was ultimately moved by ski patrol and taken by ambulance to a first-aid clinic and, ultimately, the hospital. She was diagnosed with a pair of fractures to her scapula, which the suit describes as “extensive and permanent damage to her shoulder,” which continues to cause her “constant severe pain.”

The plaintiffs are seeking reparations for loss of earnings of at least $16,000 and medical expenses totaling $77,000 on behalf of Sally Rumpf as well as a loss of consortium claim for Louis Rumpf. The complaint cites the Ski Safety Act of 1979 and the Passenger Tramway Safety section of the Colorado Revised Statutes in asserting Sunlight’s negligence in the case.

“Sunlight breached its duty of care to the Rumpfs by failing to operate its ski lift and by failing to properly instruct the Rumpfs at the ski lift loading area,” the complaint said.


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