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Fight over teen skier’s death in avalanche at Vail ends

August 19, 2021 GMT

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by the family of a 13-year-old skier who was killed in an inbounds avalanche at Vail ski resort.

The court’s decision effectively ends the nearly decade-long fight by the parents of Taft Conlin, the Eagle teen who was killed after entering an open lower gate on the Prima Cornice run in January 2012 and sidestepping up a ridge to terrain below a closed upper gate, The Colorado Sun reported Wednesday. The boy’s parents, Louise Ingalls and Steve Conlin, argued that Vail should have done more to close the run.

Jurors in Eagle County District Court ruled in 2018 that Vail had properly closed the upper run. But Taft’s parents argued that the boundaries of the closure were unclear, and the resort violated the Ski Safety Act by not closing both entrances to Prima Cornice.

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The case marked one of the few times the safety act was tested in a jury trial. Most lawsuits challenging the legislation are dismissed well before trial. The Colorado Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case follows a 2020 ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the negligence lawsuit.