Jury awards paralyzed skier $14 million

The Seattle PI

April 6, 2007

A King County jury has awarded $14 million in damages to a 26-year-old man who was left paralyzed after a jump at Snoqualmie Pass.

The jury found that Summit at Snoqualmie operator Ski Lifts, Inc. failed to take safety into consideration at its Summit West terrain park. Because of that failure, the company was partially responsible for the crash that nearly killed Kenny Salvini in February 2004, the jury ruled.

Tacoma lawyer Jack Connelly said his client was left a quadriplegic after skiing off a badly designed "tabletop" jump at the terrain park. Connelly said 15 other skiers and snowboarders had been hurt on the jump earlier that season, but the jump was left open.

"They didn't even consider closing down the jump and closing down the landings," he said. "Nobody was paying attention. Nobody was doing anything."

Reading from a statement, spokesman Guy Lawrence said Friday that the company was "disappointed but respectful" of the jury verdict.

"At the Summit at Snoqualmie, the safety of our guests and our employees has always, and will continue to be our primary concern," he said. But, Lawrence added, participation "suggest that a skier or rider accepts the risks of that activity."

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/310729_ski07.html

By LEVI PULKKINEN