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HF 793

1st Engrossment - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/30/2016 10:20am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 02/12/2015
1st Engrossment Posted on 03/17/2015

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to skier and ski area responsibilities; establishing safety and liability
standards; proposing coding for new law as Minnesota Statutes, chapter 184C.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [184C.01] TITLE.
new text end

new text begin This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Minnesota Skier Safety Act."
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [184C.02] DEFINITIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Injury. new text end

new text begin "Injury" means property loss or injury or death of a person.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Objects. new text end

new text begin "Objects" are natural or man-made objects that are often or
sometimes present at a ski area including, but not limited to, trees, stumps, logs, rocks,
boulders, towers and tower components, lift shacks and buildings, decks, utility poles,
electrical lines, signs, posts, race poles, fencing, flagging, ropes, snowmaking machines,
hydrants, hoses and pipe, terrain park features, freestyle terrain, ski lifts, ski area vehicles
complying with section 184C.04, vehicles on roads or in parking areas, cliffs, ravines, and
water bodies with open water, thin ice, or strong currents.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Operator. new text end

new text begin "Operator" is an entity or person operating a ski area and
includes its owners and employees. The term excludes cross-country or other non-alpine
ski trails or terrain that are part of an outdoor recreation system as defined in section
86A.04 or are defined as trails in section 85.018 or are part of any park and recreation area
as defined in section 466.03, subdivision 6e.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Ski area. new text end

new text begin "Ski area" means all ski trails that are administered as a single
enterprise by an operator.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Ski area vehicle. new text end

new text begin "Ski area vehicle" is a vehicle used for operation,
maintenance, or transportation, or for competitions or events, at a ski area.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Ski lift; lift. new text end

new text begin "Ski lift" or "lift" is a chairlift, gondola, rope or handle tow,
conveyor, t-bar, or other surface or aerial lift used by skiers at a ski area.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Ski trail. new text end

new text begin "Ski trail" means a slope, trail, run, freestyle terrain, competition
terrain, tree skiing area, or other area at a ski area that is often or sometimes used for
skiing, including edges, transition areas to other terrain, and areas between runs, and
areas used for loading or unloading ski lifts. The term excludes cross-country or other
non-alpine ski trails or terrain that are part of an outdoor recreation system as defined
in section 86A.04 or are defined as trails in section 85.018 or are part of any park and
recreation area as defined in section 466.03, subdivision 6e.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Skier. new text end

new text begin A "skier" is a person of any age or physical or mental ability who is
skiing or who is present on or near a ski trail or a passenger on a ski lift.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 9. new text end

new text begin Skier arrival area. new text end

new text begin A "skier arrival area" means an area at a ski area where
skiers can purchase lift tickets and load a ski lift.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 10. new text end

new text begin Skiing. new text end

new text begin "Skiing" means using alpine, Telemark, or Nordic skis, a
snowboard, a snow bike, a sled, or any comparable equipment, on a ski trail.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 11. new text end

new text begin Treed area. new text end

new text begin "Treed area" means any area at or near a ski area containing
trees.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [184C.03] SKIER DUTIES.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Skier responsibility code. new text end

new text begin A skier shall comply at all times with
each element of the Skier Responsibility Code, as follows:
new text end

new text begin "(1) stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects;
new text end

new text begin (2) people ahead of you have the right-of-way. It is your duty to avoid them;
new text end

new text begin (3) you must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above;
new text end

new text begin (4) whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others;
new text end

new text begin (5) use devices to help prevent runaway equipment;
new text end

new text begin (6) observe posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed
areas; and
new text end

new text begin (7) before using any lift, have the knowledge and ability to load, ride, and unload
safely.
new text end

new text begin KNOW THE CODE: IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
new text end

new text begin BE SAFETY CONSCIOUS."
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Other skier duties. new text end

new text begin A skier shall (1) know the limits of the skier's ability
and not ski on ski trails that exceed that ability; (2) not use lifts in a manner that may
contribute to an injury; (3) follow any written or verbal instructions regarding the use of
a lift or the ski area; (4) remain at the vicinity of any collision the skier was involved
in, except for the purpose of securing aid for an injured party, and provide the skier's
name and address to the operator or a member of the ski patrol; and (5) use the care of an
ordinarily prudent skier in complying with each skier duty under this chapter.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Skiers assume conditions and risks of skiing. new text end

new text begin A skier assumes the risk
of injury inherent in skiing, whether or not the operator notifies the skier of the inherent
risks, which include, but are not limited to:
new text end

new text begin (1) changes in weather and visibility;
new text end

new text begin (2) surface or subsurface conditions or objects, including ice, ridges, moguls, dips,
grooves, holes, bare ground, rocks, stumps, brush, forest debris and logs, terrain features,
freestyle terrain, and snow or slush in any condition including freshly made man-made
snow;
new text end

new text begin (3) potential for collision with objects or other skiers, including skiers not complying
with their duties under this chapter;
new text end

new text begin (4) variations in the steepness, contour, or configuration of ski trails, including trails
with sharp corners or that have, or are directed or drop off toward, objects;
new text end

new text begin (5) skiing in or near a treed area significantly increases the risk of injury; and
new text end

new text begin (6) any similar or comparable object or condition.
new text end

new text begin An object or condition that is present through the reckless act or omission of the
operator or another person is not a risk inherent in skiing. Whether an object or condition
is a risk inherent in skiing shall be determined by a court as a matter of law. A skier
may not recover against an operator for a claim involving a risk inherent in skiing or
involving an object that could have been avoided by an ordinarily prudent skier complying
with each skier duty under this chapter.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [184C.04] OPERATOR RESPONSIBILITIES.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Requirements for ski lifts. new text end

new text begin An operator shall keep its ski lifts in
compliance with each requirement of the American National Standard for Passenger
Ropeways-Aerial Tramways, Aerial Lifts, Surface Lifts, Tows and Conveyors Safety
Requirements, B77.1-2011, as published by the American National Standards Institute
("ANSI Ski Lift Code").
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Required lift inspections. new text end

new text begin An operator shall have its ski lifts inspected for
compliance with the ANSI Ski Lift Code requirements at least every ski season between
November and March by a person who is knowledgeable of the requirements and is either
a professional engineer or an insurance company lift inspector.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Required notices of risks of skiing. new text end

new text begin (a) An operator shall maintain a
sign at least six square feet in size at or near each of the ski area's ticket sales buildings
that contains, and shall print on each ticket and season pass, the following notice:
"WARNING: Under the Minnesota Skier Safety Act, each skier: (1) assumes the risk of
injury resulting from the inherent risks of skiing; and (2) has duties to comply with while
skiing including the Skier Responsibility Code."
new text end

new text begin (b) An operator shall make available a copy of the Skier Responsibility Code, and a
copy of this act, to any skier upon request at its ticket sales office.
new text end

new text begin (c) An operator shall maintain in a prominent location in each skier arrival area a sign
or poster reciting the Skier Responsibility Code that is at least 200 square inches in size.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Required trail maps. new text end

new text begin An operator shall make available to skiers trail maps
of sufficient size to show the relative locations of each major ski trail, to be known as "a
designated ski trail," and its skill level designation using the standards in subdivision 5.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Required notices of ski trail difficulty levels. new text end

new text begin (a) An operator shall
maintain at or near the beginning of each ski trail that is designated as a ski trail on its
trail map a sign at least three square feet in size that contains the name of the trail and
one of the following difficulty level words and emblems, as determined by the operator
to be applicable to the ski trail:
new text end

new text begin (1) "Easiest," and a green circle emblem;
new text end

new text begin (2) "Difficult" or "More Difficult," and a blue square emblem;
new text end

new text begin (3) "Most Difficult," and a black diamond emblem;
new text end

new text begin (4) "Expert" or "Extreme Terrain," and a two black diamond emblem; or
new text end

new text begin (5) "Freestyle Terrain," and include an orange oval emblem.
new text end

new text begin (b) For a ski lift that does not service ski trails that are designated as "easiest," the
operator shall place, near or en route to the lift loading area, a sign at least six square
feet in size stating: "WARNING: This lift does NOT service any trails that are "easiest"
(green circle emblem)."
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Required freestyle terrain signage. new text end

new text begin An operator shall maintain a
barricade, through fencing, flagging, or comparable means, designating the principal or
top entrance to any terrain containing terrain park features such as rails, boxes, jumps,
hits, jibs, tabletops, spines, banks, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, or snowcross features, with
an opening not wider than 30 feet, and maintain at or en route to the principal or top
entrance signage totaling at least three square feet in size that contains a stop sign emblem,
an orange oval emblem denoting freestyle terrain, and the statements "Freestyle Skills
Required," and "Helmets are Recommended."
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Required ski area vehicle flashing lights and flags. new text end

new text begin An operator shall
ensure that all ski area vehicles present during ski lift operating hours on designated ski
trails that are not closed have a flashing light located near the top of the vehicle that is
on, and in addition for vehicles such as snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and vehicles
of comparable size, the operator shall ensure that the vehicles also have a red or orange
flag that is at least 40 square inches in size and displayed at least five feet above the
bottom of the vehicle's tracks or tires.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 8. new text end

new text begin Accessibility. new text end

new text begin The information required under this section must be
provided upon request in an accessible format to persons with disabilities.
new text end

Sec. 5.

new text begin [184C.06] LIABILITY LIMITATIONS.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Notice of claims. new text end

new text begin Every person, whether plaintiff, defendant,
or third-party plaintiff or defendant, or the person's legal representative, who claims
damages from any nonmunicipal operator acting within the scope of employment for
or on account of any loss or injury within the scope of this chapter shall cause to be
presented to the nonmunicipal operator within one year after the alleged loss or injury is
discovered a notice stating the time, place, and circumstances thereof, the names of the
operator's employees known to be involved, and the amount of compensation or other
relief demanded. In the case of death, the notice must be provided within one year of the
injury. Actual notice of sufficient facts to reasonably put the operator or its insurer on
notice of a possible claim shall be construed to comply with the notice requirements of
this section. Failure to state the amount of compensation or other relief demanded does
not invalidate the notice, but, in such cases, the claimant shall furnish full information
regarding the nature and extent of the injuries and damages within 15 days after demand
by the operator. The time for giving such notice does not include the time during which
the person injured is incapacitated by the injury from giving the notice.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Municipal ski area limitations unaffected. new text end

new text begin This chapter does not impact
limitations on the liability of municipal or nonprofit operators under chapter 466.
new text end

Sec. 6. new text beginEFFECTIVE DATE.
new text end

new text begin This act is effective August 1, 2015, and applies to all actions arising out of incidents
occurring on or after that date.
new text end