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Ruling Means Snowboarder Owes Skier $887,000 After Crash

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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS) – A federal court has ordered a snowboarder to pay nearly $887,000 after a collision at Breckenridge in February 2012.

Michael Manzer and Cynthia Mitchell collided near the C Lift between Peaks 8 and 9.

Manzer is a Colorado resident and was riding a snowboard while Mitchell is from New York and was vacationing with her family on a ski trip.

Her attorney characterizes the crash a ruthless local going too fast who mowed her down, Manzer says it was a mutual accident and neither person saw the other.

“The way I see the accident, it was a complete accident,” Manzer said. “I did not see her, she did not see me. I was in control, it was just a very bad area with very bad circumstances.”

Mitchell’s attorney disagrees.

“He hit her at such a high rate of speed that it knocked her off the trail, down an embankment, into a cluster of trees,” said Dan Lipman, Mitchell’s attorney.

Manzer remembers the collision.

“We were both knocked unconscious and from there on out, it’s a ski patrol story,” he said.

Manzer also said he was injured from head to toe.

“I didn’t even have the means to afford the medical attention I needed after the collision,” Manzer said.

Without the funds, he never hired an attorney and never even represented himself in the lawsuit. He lost and now owes Mitchell almost $1 million.

“It’s not all going to be collected,” Lipman said. “We understand that. What this is about is being responsible and sending a message to people like Mr. Manzer that you can’t just do whatever you want on the hill because when that happens people’s lives are changed forever.

“This case is about trying to make the mountain safer for our neighbors and family.”

Manzer feels as if his lack of funds played a role in the decision.

“I do feel like the court sided with her because she was able to present herself and a large amount of money at the drop of a hat.”

Manzer would like to see a different message come out of the lawsuit.

“The mountain is open to everybody so you have to deal with the possibility of everybody.”

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