New Hampshire high court rules against hurt snowboarder


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against a snowboarder who sued Gunstock ski area after a snowboard instructor crashed into her from behind four years ago.

The justices unanimously upheld a lower court's dismissal of a negligence suit filed by Diana Martinez against the Gunstock Area Commission, operators of the ski area. The court ruled that state law exempts ski areas from liability and says skiers and snowboarders assume the risks and hazards of participating in the sport.

Gunstock disputes whether the snowboard instructor was actually working for the ski area at the time of the Feb. 13, 2010, collision, but the court said it wouldn't have mattered. The law applies in all person-to-person collisions on the slopes, the justices ruled.

"The legislature intended to include, as a category of inherent risk, collisions with ski area employees, regardless of whether they were working at the time of the collision," the court wrote.

Martinez claimed Gunstock failed to adequately train and supervise the instructor, who is not named in the ruling. The lawsuit also does not describe any injuries Martinez suffered.

The court noted that there was a sizable sign at the kiosk where Martinez purchased her ticket that read, "By purchasing and/or affixing a ticket to use our facilities, you are agreeing to accept, as a matter of law, all inherent risks of winter sports activities and agree not to sue Gunstock for negligence or any other legal claim."

Martinez's lawyer, Phil McLaughlin, declined to comment on the ruling.


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