Suit: Skier partied at Cloud Nine before hit-and-run crash at Aspen Highlands

Cloud Nine is a restaurant and party spot midway up Aspen Highlands.
Lauren Glendenning/The Aspen Times file photo |

A Chicago man faces civil allegations that he fled the scene of a ski accident earlier this year at Aspen Highlands after partying at the on-mountain Cloud Nine Bistro.

A lawsuit in Pitkin County District Court said Dimitri Katamanin ran afoul of Colorado’s Ski Safety Act by not exchanging contact information with the skier he allegedly struck on the catwalk at the bottom of Upper Jerome, an intermediate run near the base of Highlands. Katamanin was skiing fast and intoxicated, and as the uphill skier he bore responsibility under the Ski Safety Act, the suit alleged.

The victim, also of Illinois, suffered a broken humerus and other injuries.

Days after the crash, the victim found the identity of the alleged runaway skier through a series of searches on Instagram that led him to pictures and videos of Katamanin spraying Champagne at Cloud Nine, a reservations-only party spot known for its patrons’ celebratory splurging and drinking. Katamanin was shown on film at approximately 3 p.m. Feb. 13, roughly an hour before the crash, the suit alleged.

The complaint was filed May 13 but has not been served on the defendant, a court clerk said Wednesday. Katamanin wouldn’t talk when reached by telephone.

“No,” he said, when asked if he was aware of the suit before ending the call.

The lawsuit said the skier was at a near stop on a catwalk when Katamanin, the uphill skier, slammed him from behind. The struck skier flew forward about 15 to 20 yards, both of his skis popping off. He also lost one pole.

“He yard-saled,” the suit said. “(The plaintiff) could not get up. He was visibly injured and laid on the ground in pain. Defendant appeared drunk.”

Katamanin approached the victim but “did not give his name or contact information,” the suit said.

“Defendant quickly put his skis back on and fled down the mountain before ski patrol arrived,” the suit said. The skier fled with three males and two females, the suit said, noting that one of the men in Katamanin’s group was an intoxicated doctor who declined to help the victim.

Ski patrol arrived at the scene at 4:16 p.m. and took the skier, who also hurt his thumb, down the hill in a toboggan. He was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment.

Local law firm Kalamaya | Goscha filed the suit.

“You just don’t ski into someone, cause obvious injury, and then ski away. It’s common sense, common decency, and the law,” said Michael Fox, an associate attorney with the firm, in a statement provided to The Aspen Times. “It’s almost four months after the crash, and our client still hasn’t recovered. Fortunately, our client was able to identify Dimitri Dean Katamanin from photographs posted on social media. We look forward to getting our day in court and holding Mr. Katamanin accountable for his actions.”