After the call for paper launched this summer, we are glad to confirm that the International Workshop “Safety and Liability Rules in European Ski Areas” will be held at the University of Trento on December 11th-12th, 2015.

The following participants are scheduled:



Philippe Brun (University of Savoie Mont Blanc)

Gregoire Calley (University of Savoie Mont Blanc)

Clément Benelbaz (University of Savoie Mont Blanc)

Christophe Quézel-ambrunaz (University of Savoie Mont Blanc)



Albert Ruda (University of Girona)



Thomas Kadner Graziano (University of Geneve)



Hannes Meyle (University of Geneve – Switzerland)



Alexander Schopper (University of Innsbruck) 

Andrea Schwaighofer (University of Innsbruck)



Dominik Wolski (Katowice School of Economics)

Jadwiga Berbeka (Department of Tourism, Cracow University of Economics)

Krzysztof Berbeka (Jagiellonian University, Krakow)



Pieter De Tavernier (Leiden University – The Netherlands)



Richard Golberg (Durham University – UK) 



Umberto Izzo (University of Trento)

Maria Della Lucia (University of Trento)

Stefania Rossi (University of Trento)


The final program of the workshop is in progress and will be published by mid November 2015. 


Goals, topics and facts of the workshop are recaped in the rest of the post.



The main goal of the workshop “SAFETY AND LIABILITY RULES IN EUROPEAN SKI AREAS” is to gather in Trento a group of Legal and Economic scholars of academic standing from Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, UK, Poland, and Italy, providing a first academic venue for canvassing and discussing the legal and economic issues surrounding the pursue of safety in the European ski areas, with an overall focus on how well the rules of civil liability and the regulations enforced by the national courts of the European Member states represented in the workshop score when considered in light of the goal of the optimal distribution of the social costs of ski accidents.


One of the desirable goals of the workshop is to assess to what extent existing differences among the Member states, as to the legal rules deployed to increase the safety of ski areas, may affect the competition in the market of winter tourism destinations within the EU, suggesting the feasibility of drafting uniform rules at the European level affecting the level of safety of ski areas and the civil liability of skiers and ski area operators.


There is reason to believe that this goal is grounded, and that at the European level (but sometimes also within a given national legal system, due to the heterogeneity of regional regulations), different approaches to the fundamental issue of the appropriate level of safety and liability in the ski areas may lead to uncompetitive costs, affecting not only the competition game among operators, but also the level of protection unevenly offered to European consumers who choose and buy the services needed to fulfill their recreational desire of skiing.


Germane to this goal is the scientific intention to create a stable international network of scholars interested to develop data on the topic and to study them in comparative and interdisciplinary vein. With their respective universities, the scholars who will gather in Trento could work in their countries of origin to establish collaborations with the national representatives of the ski area industry in order to explore, also together with the ski phenomenon stakeholder representatives (ski area operators, regional and local governments, winter tourism operators, insurance companies) avenues of access to EU and to other international e national research funds that could be used to foster the research in the field. 



Among the general themes and the more specific questions that partipants will address in their papers, 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 pattern 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 law.

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 paths borders: where the obligation of safety ends?

6) Patrolling safety: the role of new technologies; other tools for preventing risky behaviors 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).


Workshop Dates 

December 11th -12th, 2015



Faculty of Law main building, University of Trento, Conference Room, Via Verdi, 53 – Trento – Italy



The workshop is hosted and sponsored by the Faculty of Law of the University of Trento. The Faculty will offer to the panelists a welcome dinner, launches and coffee breaks and a farewell dinner. The administration will provide to panelists and other participants by October 15, 2015 a list of hotels in Trento at walk distance from the Faculty where accommodations can be booked at special rates. Participants will travel to Trento at their own expenses.



English – French panelists may present in French as long as they prepare slides and abstracts in English to ease the mutual understanding of all attendants.


Admission to the workshop

The Friday December 11th sessions will be open to the public. Attendee will have to register for organizational reasons according to the instructions that will appear with the final program of the wokshop by mid November. 


The scientific organizer of the workshop

(Prof. Umberto Izzo)