$4.56 Million Judgment for Young Skier Against Wachusett Mountain Ski Area
On March 8, 2015, then 12-year-old Alex inadvertently sat on the arm of a chair while loading onto the high-speed quad Polar Express lift at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. Having never properly seated, Alex’s body immediately slipped off the chair and turned, so that his back was to the mountain and his legs were under the chair as the chair moved through the load area. One of the other riders grabbed hold of Alex and the other riders immediately yelled, “stop the lift,” but the lift attendant (who was not trained) did not stop the lift and the chair continued to ascend the mountain with Alex hanging from it for about three minutes. Shortly after Alex’s skis hit a snowmaking gun Wachusett negligently left underneath the chair lift, the other chair riders lost hold of Alex and he fell thirty feet to the ground below. Alex sustained a mild traumatic brain injury, five fractured vertebrae with resulting permanent back discomfort, and a fractured pelvis as a result of the fall. After a five-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Alex for $3,275,000, or a judgment of $4.56 million with interest and costs.
We introduced into evidence this event reconstruction animation to show the jury what happened to Alex. The animation is in real time.