DENVER (CBS4) – A family says the Winter Park Ski Area needs to pay after a deadly avalanche. They’ve filed a lawsuit after a man died in a rare inbounds snow slide earlier this year.
The family was skiing on the Mary Jane mountain in Winter Park, known for its expert terrain. Chris Norris, the man who died, was skiing in an area called Topher’s Trees. That’s where the avalanche happened.
According to the lawyers filing the suit, it was only the second time in Colorado history a skier has died in an avalanche inbounds.
It was a fresh powder day. Norris was with his father-in-law Jim Kemper skiing Mary Jane. Norris was a better skier, so they split up. Norris headed into expert terrain.
“I thought that there was something wrong. I knew Chris wouldn’t leave me at the bottom,” Kemper said.
His body was found that night.
“My grandson was only seven weeks old at the time, so he’ll only know his dad through pictures and what we tell him,” Kemper said.
“They must be held responsible and accountable for what they did,” lawyer Michael Burg said.
Norris’s wife, Lynn Fleury, has filed a lawsuit against Intrawest, the company that runs Winter Park. They say the avalanche happened inbounds and that the resort ignored two avalanche warnings. Burg says the resort should have closed off the area where Norris died.
“They have an obligation to the people that are coming up there to make sure that the areas they are skiing are safe,” Burg said.
“Things should be okay, you’re skiing within their area, you should be alright,” Kemper said.
Kemper hopes the lawsuit will help his daughter and change the way resorts operate so it never happens again.
“We went from this really great family to being shattered,” he said.
Colorado caps the liability for resorts at $250,000. The family’s lawyers think it should be more and hope the case helps to change that.
Intrawest said they have no comment and that they haven’t seen the lawsuit yet.
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