Woman sues Glenwood Caverns over accident on alpine coaster | AspenTimes.com

Woman sues Glenwood Caverns over accident on alpine coaster

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A woman filed a lawsuit claiming it’s the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s fault she rammed someone on the company’s alpine coaster and got hurt in 2006.

But the owners say the woman disregarded crucial safety instructions and has only herself to blame for the collision.

A 10-paragraph civil complaint says Linda Pappas rode the “alpine slide” on July 11, 2006, and collided with another car stopped on the track and severely injured herself.

The complaint alleges Pappas’ injuries were caused by the park’s negligence or carelessness in the way the “alpine slide” was built and operated, and says the park should have been able to warn Pappas someone was stopped on the coaster.

“Defendants knew, or reasonably should have known, of the dangerous condition that existed on their facilities but failed to warn or otherwise take precautions to protect the plaintiff,” the complaint states.

Park owners Steve and Jeanne Beckley wrote in a statement, “One of the most important instructions that we tell each rider on the alpine coaster is to leave sufficient room between cars to avoid a collision. That’s why we stagger the release of the cars at the start of each ride. If a guest disregards the safety instructions and, as in this case, runs into another car on the tracks, then that guest is responsible for the collision.”

The park’s website says the Canyon Flyer is the first alpine coaster in the United States. Cars on tracks race 3,400 feet through the trees and down the mountainside while guests control the speed, giving the ride a unique, hands-on experience. Guests must sign a release of liability waiver before riding it and other attractions, according to the website.

Pappas injured her left shoulder, left foot and back, her complaint indicates. Her shoulder required surgery, and some of the injuries are permanent, according to the document.

Sander Karp, of Leavenworth and Karp P.C., filed the complaint in 9th Judicial District civil court Feb. 25 on behalf of Pappas. He didn’t return a phone message.

The Beckleys’ statement says safety instructions are clearly posted at each ride and employees explain them to each guest. Since opening in 2005, the alpine coaster has given more than 300,000 rides and has had “very few” incidents because of the safety procedures in place, the statement says.

The complaint asks for a judgment against the park for an unspecified amount and says Pappas’ injuries cause her pain, suffering, emotional and mental distress and an “irrevocable loss of enjoyment in life.” A cover sheet for the complaint says Pappas seeks less than $100,000.