Arthur David Deacon III fell and hit a tree while snowboarding at Mount Snow on Jan. 24, 2016 on Ripcord, the “steepest and most difficult trail on Mount Snow’.
Attorneys said Deacon fell about a third of the way down the trail, then began to slide down a steep, icy pitch board first, attempting to dig in an edge to slow down.
“As Mr. Deacon was falling, he encountered an unnatural object, known as a ‘snowmaking whale,’ which was a hard pile of ungroomed man-made snow, entirely iced over,” the complaint states. “The presence of the snowmaking whale and pitch of the slope of the trail in Mr. Deacon’s path caused Mr. Deacon to flip 180 degrees, falling head first, at which point he could not control his trajectory and was jettisoned head and chest first into a tree, after which his body went limp, hit a second tree, and then hit and landed on a snowmaking pipe.”
Deacon died on impact after hitting the first tree. When members of the ski patrol arrived, they said it was too dangerous to bring his body off the steep pitch and were forced to belay his body with ropes to the bottom of the steep section of the trail, before bringing him to a rescue location.
The snowmaking whales “created an unexpected hazard that was neither an ordinary or necessary risk that a skier would be expected to anticipate,” states the complaint. Attorneys for Deacon’s wife also said the resort should have maintained “safe and unobstructed conditions” on trails open to the public and warned guests of “any foreseeable unsafe conditions” and claim she is owed compensation for marital and financial losses.
Attorneys for Mount Snow said Deacon failed to maintain control of his equipment and was riding beyond his ability.