Landmark Decision by Supreme Court on Free-ride Ski Racing

Greiter Pegger Kofler & Partner obtain compensation payment for injured racer.

In March 2010 a wild slope ski race (free-ride race) was held in Ischgl. The race organisers positioned course gates down the run.

The participants weren’t able to view the course slope before the start.

The race course led directly towards a 4-5m deep ditch. Directly in front of the ditch there was a direction gate.

A number of racers fell into the ditch, because they saw it too late.  Several racers were injured, some of them severely.

One of the racers filed for compensation against the organiser, claiming that positioning a direction gate directly in front of  a deep ditch was negligent. The racer was represented by Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Franz Pegger and  Dr. Silvia Moser M.A., both of  Greiter Pegger Kofler & Partners.

To date there have not been any Austrian Supreme Court decisions on an organiser’s requirements of due care when setting the course for a free-ride race.

The Supreme Court ruled that the organiser of a ski race with a set course on wild slopes was liable for atypical obstacles if he was aware of them.

A 4-5m ditch isn’t really unusual on wild slopes, the Supreme Court held. However, by positioning a direction gate directly on the edge of such a deep ditch the organiser created an atypical obstacle. The Supreme Court pointed out that the race participants were virtually directed to the danger spot.

Therefore the organiser was held liable.

OGH 20.05.2015, 7 Ob 68/15y

Magazin Tiroler Schilehrerverband :Haftung bei Freeride-Rennen