What are the Laws Pertaining to Skiing in Michigan?

young skier skiing down snowy hill

Skiing is a great way to get outside and enjoy those colder Michigan months. However, ski hills can also be a place where injuries occur. Because of this, Michigan has enacted certain laws to keep skiers safe and set forth rules skiers and ski hills must follow in order to do so. West Michigan personal injury lawyer, Tom Sinas, discussed the ins and outs of the Michigan Ski Safety Act as well as the laws pertaining to skiing in Michigan recently on a segment of Fox 17 “Know the Law.”

Michigan Ski Area Safety Act

Passed in 1962, the Michigan Ski Area Safety Act sets forth basic rules outlining what is expected of skiers and what is expected of ski hills. One of the things that this statute acknowledges and the Michigan Courts have interpreted is that when people participate in skiing, they are accepting certain inherent dangers. The law calls these inherent dangers “obvious and necessary.” These two kinds of dangers in the statutes fall under “natural dangers” and unnatural dangers.” Natural dangers of skiing include snow under skis, ice development on the skiing hill, and skiing over rough or bare patches, for example. Unnatural dangers of skiing are those you typically expect to encounter on a ski hill, such as the ski lift, buildings, and snow-making equipment.

Rules Skiers and Ski Hills Must Follow

Under the law, skiers must ski reasonably. Specifically, they must maintain reasonable control of their skis at all times. Skiers must also know what they are able to ski and what they are not able to ski. When skiers do not maintain a safe speed or go beyond their ability, the skier is out of bounds regarding the rules that apply to them.

Ski hills have to mark certain obvious things. Specifically, ski hills must mark which type of hills people are encountering – you will see these denoted as blue, green, and black hills. Ski hills must also provide skiers with trail maps and notify people when certain areas are closed.

What if I Injure Someone Else While Skiing?

In Michigan, most other rules pertaining to skiing typically fall under what we often consider to be common sense. In addition to using common sense, Michigan law requires people to act with reasonable care. Skiers who do not abide by the reasonable care standard and injure another skier may be held liable for those injuries.