Inherent Risks


Ski Area Boundaries

The Ski Area Boundary is defined by the use of signs and/or string line. For your own safety, ski within the designated area. Whitefish Mountain Resort is not responsible for any avalanche control or rescues beyond the boundary. Areas outside the designated boundary are not patrolled. If you choose to go beyond these boundaries, you expose yourself to uncontrolled avalanche dangers and wild, unfamiliar terrain. Any rescues beyond the ski area will be coordinated by Emergency Dispatch (911).

Montana State Law, Section 23-2-736, MCA, DUTIES OF A SKIER.

(1) A skier has the duty to ski at all times in a manner that avoids injury to the skier and others and to be aware of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing.

(2) A skier:
  (a) shall know the range of the skier’s ability and safely ski within the limits of that ability and the skier’s equipment so as to negotiate any section of terrain or ski slope and trail safely and without injury or damage. A skier shall know that the skier’s ability may vary because of ski slope and trail changes caused by weather, grooming changes, or skier use;
  (b) shall maintain control of speed and course so as to prevent injury to the skier or others;
  (c) shall abide by the requirements of the skier responsibility code that is published by the national ski areas association and that is posted as provided in 23-2-733;
  (d) shall obey all posted or other warnings and instructions of the ski area operator; and
  (e) shall read the ski area trail map and must be aware of its contents.

(3) A person may not:
  (a) place an object in the ski area or on the uphill track of a passenger ropeway that may cause a passenger or skier to fall;
  (b) cross the track of a passenger ropeway except at a designated and approved point; or
  (c) if involved in a skiing accident, depart from the scene of the accident without:
    (i) leaving personal identification; or
    (ii) notifying the proper authorities and obtaining assistance when the person knows that a person involved in the accident is in need of medical or other assistance.

(4) A skier shall accept all legal responsibility for injury or damage of any kind to the extent that the injury or damage results from inherent dangers and risks of skiing. Nothing in this part may be construed to limit a skier’s right to hold another skier legally accountable for damages caused by the other skier.

Montana State Law, Section 23-2-702, DEFINITIONS.

As used in this part, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Freestyle terrain” means terrain parks and terrain features, including but not limited to jumps, rails, fun boxes, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, and freestyle bump terrain, and any other constructed features.

(2) “Inherent dangers and risks of skiing” means those dangers or conditions that are part of the sport of skiing, including:
  (a) changing weather conditions;
  (b) snow conditions as they exist or as they may change, including ice, hardpack, powder, packed powder, wind pack, corn snow, crust, slush, cut-up snow, and machine-made snow of any depth or accumulation, including but not limited to any depth or accumulation around or near trees or snowmaking equipment;
  (c) avalanches, except on open, machine-groomed ski trails;
  (d) collisions with natural surface or subsurface conditions, such as bare spots, forest growth, rocks, stumps, streambeds, cliffs, trees, and other natural objects;
  (e) collisions with lift towers, signs, posts, fences, enclosures, hydrants, water pipes, or other artificial structures and their components;
  (f) variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or the result of slope design, snowmaking, or snow grooming operations, including but not limited to roads, freestyle terrain, ski jumps, catwalks, and other terrain modifications;
  (g) collisions with clearly visible or plainly marked equipment, including but not limited to lift equipment, snowmaking equipment, snow grooming equipment, trail maintenance equipment, and snowmobiles, whether or not the equipment is moving;
  (h) collisions with other skiers;
  (i) the failure of a skier to ski within that skier’s ability;
  (j) skiing in a closed area or skiing outside the ski area boundary as designated on the ski area trail map; and
  (k) restricted visibility caused by snow, wind, fog, sun, or darkness.

(3) “Passenger” means any person who is being transported or conveyed by a passenger ropeway.

(4) “Passenger ropeway” means a device used to transport passengers by means of an aerial tramway or lift, surface lift, surface conveyor, or surface tow.

(5) “Ski area operator” or “operator” means a person, firm, or corporation and its agents and employees having operational and administrative responsibility for ski slopes and trails and improvements.

(6) “Ski slopes and trails” means those areas designated by the ski area operator to be used by skiers for skiing.

(7) “Skier” means a person who is using any ski area facility for the purpose of skiing, including but not limited to ski slopes and trails.

(8) “Skiing” means any activity, including participation in or practice or training for competitions or special events, that involves sliding or jumping on snow or ice while using skis, a snowboard, or any other sliding device.


27-1-753. Limitation on liability in sport or recreational opportunity.
(1) A person who participates in any sport or recreational opportunity assumes the inherent risks in that sport or recreational opportunity, whether those risks are known or unknown, and is legally responsible for all injury or death to the person and for all damage to the person’s property that result from the inherent risks in that sport or recreational opportunity. 
(2) A provider is not required to eliminate, alter, or control the inherent risks within the particular sport or recreational opportunity that is provided. 
(3) (a) Sections  27-1-751 through  27-1-754 do not preclude an action based on the negligence of the provider if the injury, death, or damage is not the result of an inherent risk of the sport or recreational opportunity. 
(b) This section does not prohibit a written waiver or release entered into prior to engaging in a sport or recreational opportunity for damages or injuries resulting from conduct that constitutes ordinary negligence or for risks that are inherent in the sport or recreational opportunity.
(c) Any waiver or release for a sport or recreational opportunity must: 
(i) state known inherent risks of the sport or recreational opportunity; and 
(ii) contain the following statement in bold typeface: By signing this document you may be waiving your legal right to a jury trial to hold the provider legally responsible for any injuries or damages resulting from risks inherent in the sport or recreational opportunity or for any injuries or damages you may suffer due to the provider’s ordinary negligence that are the result of the provider’s failure to exercise reasonable care.
(d) Any waiver or release for a sport or recreational opportunity may still be challenged on any legal grounds. 
(e) Any waiver or release for a sport or recreational opportunity executed in compliance with this section is not prohibited by or subject to the provisions of  28-2-702
(4) Sections  27-1-751 through  27-1-754 do not apply to a cause of action based on the design, manufacture, provision, or maintenance of sports or recreational equipment or products or safety equipment used incidental to or required by the sport or recreational activity.