Snowmass man hit with negligent skiing lawsuit
A Santa Fe, New Mexico, instructor of disabled athletes has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Snowmass Village man of negligently skiing into him earlier this year.
Stuart Pendleton’s complaint, which was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Denver, alleges that Michael Sura crashed into him on the intermediate-level Mick’s Gully run at Snowmass ski area on the morning of April 7. The result was a severely broken ankle that required Pendleton to undergo multiple surgeries and be treated through rehabilitation and physical therapy, the suit alleges.
Pendleton was in Snowmass for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, where he was working as a volunteer, according to the suit.
He was assisting a paraplegic veteran skiing on a bi-ski, which basically is two skis attached to a bucket seat. As Pendleton helped the skier get going down the run — he was skiing behind the paraplegic skier, guiding him with tethers — Sura was racing another skier down the run and “did not have control of his speed,” the suit alleges.
Sura was the uphill skier and approached Pendleton and “the disabled skier at a fast and uncontrolled speed,” the suit says.
Sura struck both Pendleton and the bi-ski device, sending the paraplegic 20 yards down the ski trail, the suit says. Sura fell, too, sliding more than 100 yards down the run.
The suit says Sura had more than 20 years of skiing experience and once was a ski patroller. His phone number was unlisted and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Pendleton did not return a message and his attorney, Jim Leventhal of Denver, could not immediately be reached.
The suit seeks at least $75,000 from Sura to cover medical expenses and other costs associated with the crash. Court files show the case has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty.
The Winter Sports Clinic turned 30 earlier this year, holding its 16th edition in Snowmass. April’s event drew more than 300 disabled veteran and active-duty participants ranging from 21 to 84 years old. It is held in partnership with the U.S. Department of Affairs and the Disabled American Veterans charity.
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