b'SMART OPERATIONSBetter Safe than Sorry: Liability Releases Essential for Campgroundsall media, in perpetuity, and that the tion of Risk. The following text is typi- validity of waivers and releases.guest consents to the use of his or her cal and taken from the back of a lift Bearing in mind the potential legalimage without compensation by nature ticket issued not that long ago: I accept issues of enforceability, parks that pro-Peterof entry; however, crowd releases rarely andunderstandthatskiing,snow- vide higher risk amenities should followcross the line and attempt to cover the boarding, and other forms of winter the lead of not only the ski industry butPelland issues of physical liability. Crowd re- mountain sports are hazardous, with alsotheamusementparkindustry,lease forms also constitute rather weak many inherent risks and resulting in- which routinely enforces height, weightdefenses in a court of law. juries or death. By my purchase and use and age restrictions, along with provid-Ifyourparkoffersrecreational of this ticket, I freely and willingly ac- ing a long list of health conditions thatLiability can take many forms, and it amenities or activities with higher in- cept and voluntarily assume all risk of should preclude participation. Thoseis essential for every business to take herent risk, you will want to incorpo- property damage, personal injury or conditions typically include but are notreasonable precautions to protect its ratesomeveryexplicitlydetailed death which results from my participa- limited to, pulmonary problems, highinterests in the event of either physical liability releases. There is no question tion in winter sports activities and the blood pressure, cardiac disease, preg-or emotional injury claims on the part that risky activities offer a great deal of inherent risks of such activities as they nancy, obesity, seizures, prior injuries,of guests. appeal,particularlyamongyounger are defined herein. This statement is fearofheightsandpsychologicalorInjuries of either type may often lead guests, and can go a long way toward followed by a long paragraph that item- psychiatric issues. Yes, that list coversto claims for compensation and dam- expandingaparkscustomerbase; izes those inherent risks, both natural just about everything. Health issues re-ages, even when the injuries are the re- however, it is necessary for your busi- and man-made. quire a separate signed waiver.sult of reckless behavior on the part of ness to take reasonable measures to en- * Most ski resorts in 2020 no longer When I enjoyed the use of a higha guest or the failure to follow posted sure the safety of its guests and to take issuephysicalliftticketsandhave ropes and zipline course not long ago, Irules and regulations. Businesses with measures to protect itself against law- switched to RFID cards where users load signed both a written liability releasehigherinherentrisksofinjurymust suits that may result if injuries are in- a specific timeframe for lift access, from and a health waiver. I was providedtake more considerable precautions to flictedduringthepursuitofthose a single day to full season. When pur- with copies of each, I was assisted inprotect themselves from the threat of activities. Needless to say, the incorpo- chasing this electronic access, the user properly suiting up for the activity, andlawsuits. ration of these precautions should go must agree to a full menu of terms and I was provided with basic instruction inCampgrounds with greater inherent hand-in-handwiththepurchaseof conditions. the use of the equipment. In anotherrisks might include parks with ziplines, suitable liability insurance. Onemightthinkthatthisbroad outing, I visited a resort that operatesshooting ranges, river rafting, paintball Downhill skiing and snowboarding wording would release the business op- mountain biking trails and a mountainfields,mountainbiking,mechanical areactivitieswhereparticipantsas- erator from almost all liability. But the coaster. At this facility, guests are di-bulls and climbing walls. But every park sume a degree of risk. For years, the Na- ski industry takes added measures to rectedtoarowofcomputerkioskshas liabilities, and there are probably tionalSkiAreasAssociation has reduce the risks of injury, including the whereliabilityreleasesandhealthmore personal injury attorneys within promoted a Responsibility Code that use of ski patrollers to open and close waivers are digitally signed before tick-a 50-mile radius of your park than there has attempted to shift responsibility for trailsduringthecourseoftheday, ets may be purchased.are churches, schools, and hospitals injuries to skiers and snowboarders, sweep trails at the end of the day, con- Thereareseveralcompaniesthatcombined. not the ski area operators. The code ad- trol avalanches, and evacuate injured provide reasonably priced digital re-Many campgrounds use blanket re- vises users to ski in control, be able to skiers from the slopes. Grooming, sig- leaseservicesthatworkwitheitherlease forms known as crowd releases. stopatalltimes,avoidotherskiers nage, the increased use of helmets, and computer kiosks or mobile apps. TheseCrowd release forms are generalized downhill, yield to those uphill, not stop improvements in the safety of equip- services save time, avoid the generationnotifications that your guests are sur- where they would obstruct a trail, use ment also help to reduce the likelihood of a mountain of paperwork, are secure,rendering their reasonable rights to sue retentiondevices,observesignage, of injuries. Despite all of these efforts to offer cloud storage, provide analyticalpursuant to their use and enjoyment of keep off closed terrain, and know in ad- reduce liability, enforceability is never informationandcanevenintegrateyour park and its facilities, and they vance how to use lifts. ironclad. In December 2014, the Ore- with email marketing programs as atypically apply to the taking of photo- TheResponsibilityCodewasa gon Supreme Court ruled that a season means of generating return visits. Somegraphs or videos. A crowd release will start, but the extensive text printed on pass waiver was unenforceable, open- services even allow seasonal businesseswarnpeoplethatphotographyand the backs of most lift tickets in recent ing the way to a $21.5 million personal to adjust their subscription services be-filming may be ongoing at any time, years* has been designated as a Ski injury lawsuit, and this ruling has since tween their peak season and offseason. that the images may be used in any and Ticket Contract and Express Assump- been used to chip away at the overall A few of the companies that you maywant to look into include: Smartwaiver www.smartwaiver.com WaiverForever www.waiverforever.comWaiverElectronic www.waiverelectronic.com WaiverSign www.waiversign.com Clever Waiver www.cleverwaiver.comWhether your park uses crowd re-leases, liability releases, health waiversor a combination of all three, it is cru-cial to make every effort to protect yourinterests and avoid the catastrophic im-pacts of personal injury lawsuits.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrange of four-color process print ad-vertising,forclients.LearnmoreaboutPellandAdvertisingathttps://pelland.com/ or see its ad inthis issue. WCM12 -March 2020 Woodalls Campground Management'