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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Bill to make ski areas immune from claims over terrain parks, in-bounds avalanches passes House

After much debate, the House has voted 61-8 in favor of HB 462, legislation from the Idaho Ski Areas Association that sponsor Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, said would update a ski area liability statute that hasn’t been updated since 1979 – including snowboarders, terrain parks and the like – but that opponents said would sharply limit ski areas’ liability for skiers’ and snowboarders’ accidents. “There are no guarantees when it comes to the sport of skiing,” Malek told the House. The bill, he said, “provides more clarity.”

Opponents said the measure would absolve ski area operators of any liability for in-bounds avalanches and for terrain park items like rails or jumps that are incorrectly constructed and collapse. “I don’t agree with that,” said Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise. “There should be an incentive for them to be constructed safely.  And when liability immunity is granted to the ski area operator there is no incentive.” Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, said, “This goes way too far and it exposes our citizens … to risk.”

Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, spoke out in favor of the bill, saying, “Let’s let some things happen and not keep trying to take care of everyone.” Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, said, “If you want to come and play, you do take some inherent risks on yourself.” The bill now moves to a Senate committee.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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