According to an article Elliott Eklund, 48, of Penfield dies in snowboarding crash on Bristol Mountain by Victoria E. Freile in the Democrat & Chronicle on February 18, 2010, Elliott Eklund, age 48, of Penfield, died while snowboarding at Bristol Mountain when he collided with a tree. No witness to the accident, which happened in a novice area of the slope, is known.
Mr. Eklund, a season pass holder at Bristol, was not wearing a helmet. The cause of death was a massive skull fracture.
This unfortunate accidental fatality contrasts with my last post "Olympic Luge Fatality: Assumed Risk of Wrongful Death?". In this case, the accident occurred in a novice area of the facility, not on a high tech, super steep and "intense" track, built for speed.
From the article, there does not appear to be any failure to anticipate a dangerous condition to snowboarders using the Bristol facility.
The appellate cases cited in the prior post about the luge track reflect New York's policy regarding assumption of risk: a participant, such as Mr. Eklund, "engaging in a sport or recreational activity" such as snowboarding, "consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the sport generally and flow from such participation".
Skiing and snowboarding both involve "falling down-hill". Each sport requires that participants control their own direction and speed. While the towers which support the chair lifts on each slope are always marked and usually padded to protect skiers, it is not possible for a ski facility to pad, or even fence, all the trees along ski slopes. Trees are a "commonly appreciated risk" which are inherent in and arise out of downhill skiing or snowboarding.
As a season pass holder, Mr. Eklund assumed the risks of falling, and of being on a mountain where the slopes or trails are defined by trees. He must have also been aware that ski helmets have become essential safety wear for those sports. Nobody failed or neglected their duty to him. Tragically, he assumed the risk of snowboarding.