In California there are no statutes related to safety on resort slopes and trails. There are also no regulations except those relating to resort operation of tramways and hospitality facilities for which safety regulations already exist for other businesses in the state.

Therefore, for the most part, California resorts are free to manage safety on their slopes and trails anyway they choose. There are no laws or regulations to guide the courts. Precedents in case law go back to earlier times when skiing was a rugged outdoorsman’s sport enjoyed in the wilderness. Those precedents established a legal doctrine of “inherent risk” and “primary assumption of risk” which hold the skier primarily responsible and liable for his or her own safety.

Even though ski areas have become well defined facilities, marketed and open to participants of all ages, skill and experience, the California courts have continued to strictly abide by those precedents and have also enforced the very broad liability waivers resorts require with the purchase of a lift ticket or season pass.

In other snow sport states, the courts began to vary from those precedents in some cases where there appeared to be egregious negligence by the resort. In those states, the industry has lobbied their legislatures to pass laws which take discretion from the courts and spell out a long list of “inherent risks” for which ski areas can not be held liable. These statutes are often titled ski safety statutes but really serve principally as resort liability protection statutes. In California, since the courts have so strongly enforced their liability protections, the resorts have felt no need to sponsor “ski safety” legislation similar to the statures in other states