Fort Collins

Colorado Springs

It’s time for ski season in Colorado and the resorts are starting to open. This is an especially fun time of year for winter sports fanatics. Most of the opening day celebrations are filled with costumes, music, alcohol, and more and more frequently, marijuana. As you start to celebrate ski season keep in mind that skiing under the influence is against the law and can cost you more than a round of Fireball.  The Colorado Ski Safety Act (CSSA) is the law that governs skiers and boarders while on the hill; it sets standards for what risks skiers assume as “inherent dangers” of the sport. Skiing Under the Influence The CSSA helps keep everyone be safer while riding. Part of increasing safety means limiting impairment on the slopes; although on-mountain bars might make you think otherwise. This act makes it illegal to use ski lifts, ski slopes, and trails while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What this realistically means is that you can get a ticket for riding under the influence. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. If you are unlucky enough to receive one of these tickets, it won’t affect your driving record, but explaining it at your next job interview might be challenging. Marijuana will also get you in trouble on the slopes, lifts and gondolas. We’ve already discussed ski resorts in places you can’t smoke. The main point; if you are caught smoking at a resort you can get a ticket and have your lift pass suspended, and let’s be honest, hiking up a mountain to ski is not high on my fun list. Penalties As far as legal trouble goes, getting a ticket isn’t the only repercussion that you’ll have to worry about; if you are found to be at fault for an accident and you were negligent, you can be sued be the effected party, as well as, face criminal penalties.  It isn’t uncommon to see a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol while you’re carving down the hill, and they aren’t there to enjoy the fresh powder. The CSSA does allow you to sue a ski area operator if negligence played a role in an injury. The circumstances are unique to each case but an experienced attorney will be able to help sort out details. If you were in a skiing accident and have questions, we’re here to help. The CSSA notes that the risk of a skier/skier collision is not an inherent risk or a risk assumed by a skier. This means if you decide to straight line your favorite run and mow someone down when you can’t stop, you might find yourself in a world of trouble.

Skiing (and Boarding) While Intoxicated

As winter descends upon Colorado, the anticipation of ski season sweeps across the state, and the mountain resorts are preparing to welcome eager snow sports enthusiasts. This time of year is a delight for those who revel in the thrill of winter sports. However, amid the opening day celebrations that are brimming with costumes, music, and, increasingly, marijuana and alcohol, it’s essential to remember that skiing under the influence can have significant legal consequences, potentially costing you more than just a round of your favorite spirits. One key factor governing skiers and snowboarders while on the slopes is the Colorado Ski Safety Act (CSSA), which establishes standards for the risks inherent to the sport.

Skiing Under the Influence: A Legal Perspective

The CSSA plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of everyone on the slopes. Part of this safety commitment involves curbing impairment while skiing, despite the tempting allure of on-mountain bars and recreational substances. Under this act, it is explicitly illegal to use ski lifts, ski slopes, and trails while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In practical terms, this means that skiing or snowboarding under the influence can lead to receiving a ticket. Although such incidents are relatively infrequent, they do occur. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it’s worth noting that this offense won’t impact your driving record. However, explaining it during your next job interview might prove to be a challenging task.

Moreover, marijuana use on the slopes, lifts, or gondolas is equally problematic. We’ve previously discussed the restrictions on smoking at ski resorts, emphasizing that if you are caught indulging in marijuana consumption at a resort, you can face a ticket and suspension of your lift pass. The prospect of hiking up a mountain to ski is unlikely to feature high on anyone’s list of enjoyable activities.

Penalties and Legal Ramifications

When it comes to the legal repercussions, receiving a ticket is just one facet of your potential troubles. Suppose you are deemed at fault for an accident while skiing or snowboarding under the influence, and your negligence contributed to the incident. In that case, you can face both criminal penalties and potential civil liability. It’s not uncommon to encounter Sheriff’s Deputies patrolling the slopes, and their presence is not for enjoying the fresh powder.

The CSSA does provide a framework for individuals to sue a ski area operator if negligence played a role in an injury. The specifics of each case can vary significantly, and this is where the expertise of an experienced attorney becomes invaluable. Rest assured that guidance and support are available if you have been involved in a skiing accident and have questions or concerns about potential legal consequences.

The CSSA explicitly states that the risk of a skier-to-skier collision is not considered an inherent risk or one assumed by a skier. This crucial distinction means that if you decide to speed uncontrollably down your favorite run and collide with another skier, you may face severe legal consequences.

Seek Legal Expertise from Thomas & Ahnell, LLC

In a state where skiing and snowboarding are cherished pastimes and safety on the slopes is paramount, understanding the legal ramifications of skiing or snowboarding under the influence is essential. It’s a reminder that while the thrill of the mountains is undeniable, it should always be enjoyed responsibly and within the boundaries of the law.

Should you find yourself facing legal challenges related to skiing or snowboarding, including DUI incidents on the slopes, Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, is a reputable law firm in Colorado with a focus on alcohol and drug-related driving offenses. Their seasoned attorneys possess the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of such cases, helping you understand your rights and crafting a strong defense strategy when necessary.

In winter sports, legal issues can arise unexpectedly, but with the support of professionals like those at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, you can ensure that your rights and interests are protected. As ski season kicks off, remember to enjoy the slopes responsibly and be prepared with the right legal counsel should the need arise. If you require assistance or have questions about legal matters related to winter sports, don’t hesitate to reach out to Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, for expert guidance and representation. Your safety and legal standing deserve the utmost attention and care.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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