Julie A. Soderberg, Respondent,
Lucas Anderson, Appellant.
of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
W. Balmer, Falsani, Balmer, Peterson & Balmer, Duluth,
Minnesota; and Wilbur W. Fluegel, Fluegel Law Office,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for respondent.
T. Cariveau, Eden Prairie, Minnesota; and John M. Bjorkman,
Larson King, LLP, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for appellant.
N. Johnson, Peter Gray, Nilan, Johnson, Lewis, P.A.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae Minnesota Ski Areas
F. Lindquist, Jardine, Logan & O'Brien, P.L.L.P.,
Lake Elmo, Minnesota; and Thomas P. Aicher, Cleary Shahi
& Aicher, P.C., Rutland, Vermont, for amicus curiae
National Ski Areas Association.
Jeffrey J. Lindquist, Pustorino, Tilton, Parrington &
Lindquist, PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae
Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association.
Matthew J. Barber, James Ballentine, Schwebel, Goetz &
Sieben, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for amicus curiae
Minnesota Association for Justice.
doctrine of implied primary assumption of risk does not apply
to a claim in negligence for injuries arising out of
recreational downhill skiing and snowboarding.
2016, a ski area outside Duluth, Spirit Mountain, was the
scene of an accident that caused severe injuries to a ski
instructor. While teaching a young student, the instructor
was struck by an adult snowboarder performing an aerial
trick. The instructor sued the snowboarder for negligence,
but the district court dismissed her claim based on the
doctrine of implied primary assumption of risk, which is a
complete bar to tort liability. The court of appeals
reversed. Soderberg v. Anderson, 906 N.W.2d 889
(Minn.App. 2018). This appeal requires that we decide, for
the first time, whether to extend that doctrine to
recreational skiing and snowboarding. We decide not to extend
it and, therefore, affirm the court of appeals' decision,
though on different grounds.
morning of January 3, 2016, appellant Lucas Anderson, age 35,
went snowboarding at Spirit Mountain near Duluth. Spirit
Mountain welcomes both skiers and snowboarders to enjoy runs
marked "easiest," "more difficult," and
"difficult." Anderson considered himself to be an
expert snowboarder. He began skiing in elementary school and
took up snowboarding when he was 15.
Anderson snowboarded at Spirit Mountain, he typically warmed
up by going down less challenging runs. That morning,
Anderson went down part of a "more difficult" run
called Scissor Bill, which merges with an "easiest"
run called Four Pipe. As he left Scissor Bill and entered
Four Pipe, Anderson slowed down, looked up for other ...