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Clover v. Snowbird Ski Resort

Utah Supreme Court
808 P.2d 1037 (1991)



While snow skiing in Utah, Margaret Clover (plaintiff) was injured in a collision with Chris Zulliger (defendant), an employee of Snowbird Ski Resort (Snowbird) (defendant). Zulliger was a chef at the Plaza restaurant located at Snowbird's base. Zulliger was asked periodically to visit Mid-Gad, another Snowbird restaurant located halfway up the mountain, to monitor the restaurant's operations. Snowbird wanted its employees to know how to ski and encouraged them to ski at the resort. Employees received season ski passes as part of their compensation. On December 5, 1985, Zulliger made plans to ski Snowbird with another Plaza chef before beginning his restaurant shift in the afternoon. Zulliger was instructed by his manager to make a monitoring stop at Mid-Gad before starting his shift at the Plaza. Zulliger and the other employee stopped at Mid-Gad to inspect the restaurant during their first run down the mountain. They then skied four more runs before their shifts started. Their last run was down a trail that Snowbird employees frequently skied to get from the top of the mountain to the Plaza. At one point, higher up on the mountain than the location of Mid-Gad, Zulliger decided to jump off a crest. A skier moving relatively quickly would become airborne after the jump because of the steep drop-off on the downhill side of the crest. However, due to the steepness of the crest it was impossible for skiers above the crest to see those below. Zulliger took the jump at a high speed and hit Clover, who was on the slope below the crest. Clover sued Snowbird and Zulliger, alleging among other things that Snowbird was liable for Zulliger's negligence because Zulliger was acting within the scope of his employment when the collision occurred. Clover also claimed that Snowbird negligently designed and maintained its ski runs. Clover later settled her claims with Zulliger. Under two separate summary-judgment motions, the trial court dismissed Clover’s claims against Snowbird holding as a matter of law that Zulliger was not acting within the scope of his employment and that Utah's Inherent Risk of Skiing Statute, Utah Code Ann. §§ 78-27-51 to -54, barred Clover’s claim for negligent design and maintenance. Clover appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hall, C.J.)

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