United States District Court, D. Colorado
CAROLYN S. RAUP, Plaintiff,
VAIL SUMMIT RESORTS, INC., Defendant.
ORDER ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Y. Daniel, Senior United States District Judge.
lawsuit involves a claim under Colorado's Premises
Liability Act. The case arises from Plaintiff's injury
when she was exiting the Colorado SuperChair chairlift at
Breckenridge. Plaintiff's negligence claim was previously
dismissed by Order of February 1, 2016 (ECF No. 45).
Vail Summit Resorts, Inc. [“Vail”] argues in its
Motion for Summary Judgment that Plaintiff's remaining
premises liability claim fails as a matter of law for two
reasons. First, Vail asserts that Plaintiff has not
established, and cannot establish, the standard of care for a
reasonable ski area operator in Vail's position or that
Vail breached the standard of care. Second, it is argued that
Plaintiff's claim is barred by the liability waiver she
agreed to when she used her lift ticket to ride the Colorado
SuperChair. Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment
Re Issue of Waiver asserts that Plaintiff is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law in connection with the alleged
liability waiver because she asserts that it is not an
reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is granted. Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary
Judgment Re Issue of Waiver is denied.
cited only those facts I deem materially relevant to my
ruling. I have cited to the record only when the facts were
disputed or where I otherwise thought it was necessary.
Plaintiff's exhibits are referenced by number, and
Defendant's exhibits are referenced by letter.
relevant times, Vail operated the Fun Park at the base of
Breckenridge Peak 8, where it offered scenic chairlift rides
on the Colorado SuperChair. Vail admits that it is a
“landowner” as defined by Colo. Rev. Stat. §
and her adult daughter, Elizabeth Raup, also referred to as
Elizabeth Pyle, visited the Fun Park on vacation in June
2012, a year before the events at issue here. Before boarding
and riding the Colorado SuperChair in 2012, Plaintiff and
Elizabeth Raup signed a release of liability. Plaintiffs do
not dispute that the release of liability Plaintiff signed at
that time unambiguously identified the risks associated with
participating in Fun Park activities, including the use of
chairlifts, and released Vail and its employees from all
liability in negligence for any injuries sustained from
participating in the activities. Plaintiff asserts, however,
that she did not sign a release of liability in 2013 when she
rode the chairlift and was injured.
asserts that Plaintiff was generally aware of the risks
associated with riding a chairlift. (Ex. 1, C. Raup Dep.
39:12-17.) While Plaintiff denies this, she testified in
response to a question about whether she knew there was some
risk involved in riding the lift that “there's risk
in everything you do. Getting in a car is a risk.” (Ex.
A, C. Raup Dep. 39:12-17). Plaintiff also testified that she
was aware that if she were to fall out of the chair she might
get seriously injured. (Id. at 39:5-11.)
25, 2013, Plaintiff again visited the Fun Park with Elizabeth
Raup and her husband, Jason Pyle [collectively “the
Pyles”]. The Pyles purchased a lift ticket for
Plaintiff to ride the Colorado SuperChair that day. A lift
ticket was necessary to ride the chairlift. Plaintiff did not
sign a release agreement at that time. Indeed, she was not
asked to nor did she sign anything.
asserts that Plaintiff looked at the front of the ticket
before she rode the lift. (Id. at 36:6-13.)
Plaintiff asserts that this is questionable as the Pyles
purchased the lift tickets, not Plaintiff. Nonetheless,
Plaintiff did testify that she looked at the front side of
the ticket (id.), and her attempt to deny this is
front of the lift ticket stated, in capital letters:
“IMPORTANT WARNING ON REVERSE.” (Ex. 4.)
Plaintiff states that this was at the very bottom of the lift
ticket and is printed in tiny 5 point font, as follows,
“Important Warning on Reverse.” The front of the
ticket does not reference a “release” or
back of the lift ticket contained the following language:
The Holder of this lift ticket understands and VOLUNTARILY
ASSUMES ALL RISKS associated with visiting the Fun Park,
including the risks of property damage, personal injury, and
The Holder agrees to not bring any claim or lawsuit against
the Fun Park or its affiliates that could arise from the
negligence of the Holder or others, including the negligence
of the Fun Park operator or its employees, or from incidents
occurring in connection with the natural environment or
reasons outside the Fun Park's or its affiliates'
The Holder understands that many activities in the Fun Park
are self-directed, and that property damage, injury or death
to Holder or others may occur as a result of the Holder's
own decisions and actions in these activities.
The Holder agrees to read and follow the directions and
warnings on all posted signs, and to follow any verbal or
written instructions provided by the Fun Park or its
The Fun Park and its affiliates affirmatively deny all
liability for any property damages, injury, or death
occurring as a result of or related to the Holder's visit
to the Fun Park, and the Holder, by use of this ticket,
hereby understands and accepts such denial of liability and
agrees to hold harmless and indemnify the Fun Park and its