Lawsuit filed in death of 16-year-old snowboarder
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) – The family of a 16-year-old boy who died in a snowboarding accident filed a lawsuit against the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, claiming the ski area was negligent in maintaining its terrain.
Adam Harshman was a sophomore at Jackson Hole High School when he died Feb. 28, 2000, from severe head and chest injuries after he crashed on a 25-foot-high jump. He was not wearing a helmet.
”The Jackson Hole Ski Area … negligently maintained, controlled, managed and operated the premises,” wrote attorney Robert Schroth in documents accompanying the suit filed in U.S. District Court of Cheyenne.
”(The resort) should have known that the ‘terrain park’ was at all times in a dangerous condition and constituted an unreasonable risk of harm to (Harshman).”
The suit states the resort should not have permitted the terrain park to be operated because accidents in such parks are known to cause serious injuries.
The resort failed to minimize the risks ”by failing to require that the park be professionally designed, constructed and maintained to very strict safety standards,” Schroth wrote.
Additionally, the ski area did not ensure the landing area was sufficient in length and pitch and that the resort should have required consent forms for minors to use the park, the suit says.
The family is seeking burial and funeral expenses, legal fees and punitive and exemplary damages. Exact amounts are not specified.
”This is a very sad circumstance,” resort President Jerry Blann said. ”But there is a lot of risk that you take on and assume every time you strap on your snowboard or your skis.”
Terrain parks are crucial to resorts in an era of free-skiing and thrill-seekers, he said.
”Terrain parks are a requirement,” he said. ”People have an expectation that terrain parks are part of the overall experience.”
The suit also names the U.S. Forest Service because it leases land to the resort.
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