Since there are no significant Federal or state statues or regulations in California and case law strongly insulates the resorts from significant liability for patron injuries resort operations and management in California can best be described as laissez fare—each resort operates as it chooses.
There are no industry standards for safety on their slopes and trails. The use, placement and safety effectiveness of signage, markers, fencing, padding, trail intersection design and other know safety practices, methods and materials vary from resort to resort and within the same resort. Any Safety Plans likely (resorts refuse to disclose them) contain little detail or specifications and almost certainly do not meet casualty insurance industry standards ( see Model Safety Program). Documented internal accident and injury information and disciplined analysis, based on very limited access, appear to be extremely limited. There is clearly a great deal of opportunity to improve safety.
The resorts appear to fear that any documented standards, safety plans or performance analysis could lead to a pubic expectation of accountability that would threaten continuing court enforcement of the strong liability protections they enjoy. The resorts clearly value their liability protections over the safety of their patrons.
The management, operations and safety priorities of most ski areas across the country appear to be similar to California’s ski areas.