Safety and Liability Rules in European Ski Areas


Among the general themes and the more specific questions that participants will address in their presentations, answering in light of the respective national experiences but with a comparative slant, are the following:

1) Unsafe skiing and its costs: data on ski accidents and their economic costs.

2) Benefits of skiing: the economics of skiing; returns to the local mountain communities (data and patterns of evolution).

3) Managing a safe ski area: public or private ownership?; institutional paths of management of the ski area; ex ante safety provisions; administrative regulations.

4) Issuing safety: the role of social norms, technical norms, legislation and courts; possible issues entailed by the interplay of local and regional rules with national laws.

5) Perceiving safety: cognitive issues; the interplay b/w safer slopes and the skiers’ escape from perceived safety; the booming attraction of wild paths, free ride and extra slope skiing; the “caveat skier” solution and the ski area operator role when skiers gain altitude for free riding buying ski passes; defining the ski area borders: where the obligation of safety ends?

6) Patrolling safety: the role of new technologies; other tools to prevent risky behaviours on the slopes; the cost of supervising and policing the ski area, and to provide for rescue and emergency services for skiers: public or private approaches?

7) Assessing safety: civil liability for accidents occurring on the slopes; paths of litigation (collisions among skiers; skiers vs. ski area operators); role of contractual obligations; role of extra contractual obligations; evidentiary problems; the role of presumptions; ski accidents and law of consumer protection; jurisdictional and litigation issues in case of collision between skiers of different nationalities; jurisdictional issues (consumer’s forum) in light of the European consumer protection rules when injured skiers/consumers sue ski area operators.

8) Distributing/administering the cost of unsafe skiing: combining insurance models on the snow; first party insurance for skiers; voluntary third party insurance (for skiers and ski area operators); mandatory insurance (for skiers and ski area operators).