READ CAREFULLY: Waiver is 'complete defence' for Big White despite 'negligence,' judge rules - InfoNews

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READ CAREFULLY: Waiver is 'complete defence' for Big White despite 'negligence,' judge rules

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Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Big White webcam
September 27, 2017 - 8:00 PM

KELOWNA – Big White Resort’s negligence caused a snowboarder serious injury, but a Vancouver judge had to dismiss his lawsuit because their waiver is so comprehensive.

Gary Colin Fillingham was snowboarding down the popular run known as Highway 33 the afternoon of March 4, 2013. Earlier that day he and his father saw the safety rope was parted and used a shortcut to his family’s condo at Solana Ridge.

A few hours later, when Fillingham returned, the rope was still open but instead of gliding down a gentle slope he fell 10 feet into a parking lot.

"Mr. Fillingham and his father both say that sometimes the rope line is open, and sometimes it is not," Justice Elaine J. Adair says in her judgement. "They both say that, on numerous occasions, when the rope line has been open, they have skied through the opening down a gradual slope into the parking lot at Solana Ridge, thus taking the short cut.  When the rope line has not been open at the short cut, both say that they have travelled further down on Highway 33 and taken the other route."

Adair's judgement released this week says he suffered serious injuries, including a broken leg. She also said the resort is to blame.

“In not taking steps after clearing snow in the Solana Ridge parking lot to ensure the rope line at the short cut from Highway 33 was closed, Big White Limited failed to take reasonable care and was negligent,” she writes.

She found no fault on the part of Fillingham, but said the waiver, or exclusion that all skiers and snowboarders sign when they purchase their tickets was a complete defence to the claim.

The exclusion on the back of passes is also posted around the resort. It says ticket holders “assume all risk of personal injury, death or property loss resulting from any cause whatsoever including but not limited to:  the risks, dangers and hazards of skiing, snowboarding, tubing, skating, cycling, hiking and all other recreational activities; the use of ski lifts.”

Collisions with natural or man-made objects, people and general negligence on the part of the resort or its employees is also included.

The fine print on Big White Resort's tickets saved them from a lawsuit, despite the judge ruling they were negligent in 2013.
The fine print on Big White Resort's tickets saved them from a lawsuit, despite the judge ruling they were negligent in 2013.
Image Credit: courts.gov.bc.ca

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