2023 FES Agenda
8:00-8:30 a.m.: Registration and breakfast (included)
8:30-noon: Education Sessions
Control Your Destiny: Resort Operations in the Age of Nuclear Jury Verdicts
Businesses in all industries are experiencing off-the-chart jury verdicts recently, often based on meritless or unsubstantiated claims — and ski areas are not immune from these so-called “nuclear verdicts.” The good news is that you can control your destiny with smarter operations, both pre-loss and post-loss. Using a number of recent incidents and trials, we will underscore key operational considerations to better protect yourselves. From guest education, signage, and social media, to marking, padding and hazard awareness, we have specific examples and take-aways to re-emphasize the incredible value of smart risk mitigation efforts, punctuated by recent claims. We will also focus significantly on a likely national standard that could impact all ski areas involving protocols for padding some man-made equipment, and we will conduct a mock deposition underscoring the common tactics plaintiffs’ attorneys use effectively to exploit inconsistent padding and hazard protocols.
Ski Statutes: Do You Know What’s in Yours?
Did you know your State likely has a ski statute or a recreational use statute? The real question is, do you know what’s in your state’s statutes which regulate skiing or recreational activities? In this session we’ll examine the lowest bar that each ski area operator has to clear for protections from lawsuits, with a deep dive into some of the unique aspects of these laws, many which have been on the books for four or five decades. Even if your state does not have a ski statute, there are other relevant laws, including ANSI and recreational use statutes, that affect your operations. We’ll also take a look at other non-statutory ways that ski areas can protect themselves, especially with releases and waivers of liability. We will explore some unique applications of these various laws with recent examples to show why a solid grasp of these laws is beneficial to improving overall guest safety and protecting your deductible.
Noon-1:00 p.m.: Lunch
1:00-4:30 p.m.: Education Sessions
Regional Roundup: Claims, Trends, and Trials in your Region, and Important Operational Take-Aways
This spring’s Gwyneth Paltrow trial in Utah was a media circus, but beyond the glitz and glamor of that trial’s spectacle, there are notable operational considerations that can be gleaned from issues raised at trial—handling skier-skier collisions, trail design, ski school operations, patrol response, spoliation of evidence, video surveillance, and the importance of investigations. With the aid of our amazing ASDA attorneys, we’ll dissect how some of these unique issues play out locally in your region. In addition, we will examine other recent verdicts, claims, and settlements in your region—wins and losses—and reinforce the operational efforts that help limit exposures. From routine slip-and-falls and lift incidents, to the importance of contracts and releases of liability, our local ASDA teams will analyze these recent incidents to highlight important risk management protocols.
Hot Takes and Key Trends—Unique Aspects of Risk Management
Given how vast and varied our resort operations can be, there are often a smorgasbord of unique risk management issues that deserve highlighting. It’s a thorn in your side and there just doesn’t seem to be an obvious workable solution the problem. This session takes a look at some of these smaller, unique risk management challenges, from after-hours operations, auditing your investigations, recent OSHA and workplace safety challenges, skier behavior on the hill, technology hacks, group events, even pets at resorts—we’ll showcase how other areas have addressed similar situations.