Search Site
Montana Ski Lift Accident Lawyer

In the skiing industry, there are times when wind velocity will make chair lifts unsafe and cause a derailment. The decision to shut down lifts depends on the speed and direction of the wind along with the type of chair lifts that an operation has. Wind direction is usually more important than speed because that’s what makes chairs on a lift blow from one side to the other. When wind speed picks up, that might be cause for a resort to temporarily shut down its lifts, especially if there are crosswinds. It’s often a judgment call, but when the speed and direction of the wind combine to cause chairs to sway too much, a lift hold will be put in place until further notice.

Gondolas are More Sensitive

Even if the wind is blowing at 30 mph, when it’s blowing directly up or down the direction of the lift, the operator might not shut the lift down. If the wind is coming at an angle across the lift line, the speed of the lift might be reduced for purposes of stabilizing the chairs. If the wind is blowing at a 90 degree angle across the lift line at 30 mph, a hold on the lift will likely be put in place. Gondolas are more sensitive to wind than chair lifts. Gondolas might be shut down while chair lifts can still operate.

A Hold Might Only Affect Certain Lifts

When a wind hold is put in place, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of luck for the day. Wind speed and direction is frequently monitored, and forecasts are reviewed. Some lifts at a resort might not even be affected by a wind hold either.

The Operator’s Duty of Care in Montana

MCA 23-2-702 to 23-2-23-2-736 control the duties of both ski area operators and skiers MCA 23-2-734 states that “A ski area operator shall construct and maintain any passenger ropeway. An operator has the duty of taking responsible actions to properly construct, maintain, operate and maintain a passenger ropeway in accordance with current standards.” A ropeway would include a chair lift. Current standards would appear to involve using reasonable care in determining wind speed, its direction relative to the direction of a lift and the type of chairs on the lift. Unlike many other states, Montana doesn’t have a Tramway Safety Board to inspect chair lifts for purposes of determining their mechanical condition.

Contact a Montana Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a chairlift derailment accident that was either caused mechanically or by wind anywhere in the mountains of Montana, you should contact us to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. We’re going to listen to you carefully and advise you of your legal options.

Contact us as soon as possible after being injured in any chair lift derailment accident.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

Office Location
  • Missoula Office
    736 South 3rd Street West
    Missoula, Montana 59802
    Phone: 406-728-6868
    Fax: 406-728-7722