Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/19/1993 01:30 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                        January 19, 1993                                       
                            1:30 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman                                                  
  Senator Steve Rieger, Vice-Chairman                                          
  Senator Drue Pearce                                                          
  Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                   
  Senator Judy Salo                                                            
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  SENATE BILL NO. 44                                                           
  "An Act relating  to civil  liability for skiing  accidents,                 
  operation of ski areas, and duties of ski area operators and                 
  skiers; and providing for an effective date."                                
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
  SB 44 - NONE                                                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  Josh Fink, Committee Aide                                                    
  Senator Tim Kelly                                                            
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                        
    POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 44.                                    
  John Heiser, Director                                                        
  Mountain Operations                                                          
  Alyeska Resort                                                               
  Olympic Circle                                                               
  Girdwood, Alaska 99587                                                       
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 44.                                       
  Timothy J. Lamb, Attorney                                                    
  representing Seibu, Alyeska Resort                                           
  Delaney, Wiles, Hays, Reitman & Brubaker, Inc.                               
  1007 West 3rd Ave.                                                           
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 44.                                       
  Bruce Rizer                                                                  
  5530 Rabbit Creek Road                                                       
  Anchorage, Alaska 99577                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 44.                                         
  Paul Swanson, Manager                                                        
  P.O. Box 34878                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99803                                                         
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 44.                                       
  Al Clough, Attorney                                                          
  City & Borough of Juneau                                                     
  Box 24003                                                                    
  Douglas, Alaska 99824                                                        
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 44.                                       
  Leroy Cabana                                                                 
  6100 Andover Circle                                                          
  Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 44.                                         
  Claudia Bieber                                                               
  16450 St. James Circle                                                       
  Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 44.                                         
  Patti Rizer                                                                  
  5530 Rabbit Creek Road                                                       
  Anchorage, Alaska 99577                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 44.                                         
  Lex Patten, Coach                                                            
  Alyeska Ski Club                                                             
  449 Dailey #17                                                               
  Anchorage, Alaska 99515                                                      
    POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 44.                                       
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-2, SIDE A                                                            
  Number 001                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN TIM KELLY  called the Labor and  Commerce Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.                                                
  SENATOR KELLY introduced his  bill, SB  44 (CIVIL  LIABILITY                 
  FOR SKIING ACCIDENTS),  and opened  the teleconference  with                 
  SENATOR KELLY then  directed his committee aide,  JOSH FINK,                 
  to familiarize the committee with the legislation.  MR. FINK                 
  explained  the legislation  would strike  a balance  between                 
  protecting skiers and the ski  resort operators, by removing                 
  ski resort operators from liability  from injuries caused by                 
  inherent risks and dangers of skiing.                                        
  MR. FINK  assured participants  it didn't  absolve ski  area                 
  operators from negligence as defined by the legislation, and                 
  would  require  ski  area operators  to  prepare  and obtain                 
  approval  of  a   safety  and   operations  plan  from   the                 
  Commissioner of Public Safety or  the land management agency                 
  of the federal government.  He said SB 44  would require ski                 
  area operators to  provide a ski patrol  with qualifications                 
  meeting  or  exceeding  the standards  of  the  National Ski                 
  Patrol program.                                                              
  In  addition,  MR. FINK  said  it would  require  ski resort                 
  operators to establish  and maintain  a tramway sign  system                 
  and a  sign system  for ski  trails and  slopes intended  to                 
  instruct skiers on the difficulty of the trail or slope.  He                 
  further  explained the  legislation  could have  an economic                 
  impact in Alaska by lowering  insurance costs to ski  resort                 
  operators through out the state, hence lowering the cost  of                 
  MR. FINK said SB 44 recognized  the inherent risks of skiing                 
  with  balancing  the   rights  of  skiers  and   ski  resort                 
  operators.   He  said   the   legislation  could   encourage                 
  continuing  development of ski resorts  in Alaska.  MR. FINK                 
  said the bill had  zero fiscal notes from the  Department of                 
  Commerce and Economic Development and the Court System.                      
  Number 026                                                                   
  SENATOR KELLY addressed the participants on the  legislative                 
  teleconference  network in Anchorage.  He  was told that TIM                 
  LAMB, the attorney  for the company, Seibu, and  the Alyeska                 
  Resort,  would  be  testifying  from Anchorage,  while  JOHN                 
  HEISER, the Director for Mountain Operations for the Alyeska                 
  Resort would be testifying first from Juneau.  SENATOR KELLY                 
  checked to be sure those testifying in Anchorage could  hear                 
  the Juneau testimony and asked MR. HEISER to be identified.                  
  MR. HEISER  testified in  support of  SB 44,  which he  said                 
  would make skiers more responsible for the inherent risks of                 
  skiing, and ski operators more responsible for negligence on                 
  their  part.   He stressed  the legislation  was  not "anti-                 
  anybody," but was a  pro-economic development bill supported                 
  by   the  Governor,   the  Anchorage   Economic  Development                 
  Corporation, the Anchorage  Convention and Visitors  Bureau,                 
  the  Alaska Visitor's  Association,  the Alaska  Hotel/Motel                 
  Lodging  Association,  the  Alaska  Carpenter's  Union,  and                 
  several ski areas around the state, and he proffered letters                 
  of support.                                                                  
  SENATOR KELLY requested  MR. HEISER to read into the minutes                 
  the  support  letters:    Anchorage  Convention  &  Visitors                 
  Bureau,  Alaska  Visitors  Association,  Anchorage  Economic                 
  Development Corporation, United  Brotherhood of  Carpenters,                 
  Joiners  of America,  Local Union  1281,  Alaska Hotel/Motel                 
  Association, Days Inn, and the Westmark Hotels.                              
  MR. HEISER continued  to explain the  merits of the bill  in                 
  relation  to  the duties  of  the  ski  area operators,  the                 
  enhancement  of  the  ski  slopes,   and  the  reduction  of                 
  insurance rates for  the ski  developments that comply  with                 
  the  known   requirements,  especially  after  it   is  well                 
  established that claims  arising from the inherent  risks of                 
  incidents could be resolved by summary motions.                              
  MR. HEISER described the  typical terrain of the  ski slopes                 
  with all manner of variations, the vagaries of  the weather,                 
  and the  highly athletic  sport of skiing,  which, he  said,                 
  required good physical conditioning and  quick reflexes.  He                 
  continued to  describe the difficulties  encountered in  the                 
  sport of skiing which could not be controlled, and where all                 
  patrons cannot be protected from injuries.                                   
  Number O75                                                                   
  MR. HEISER reported on Alyeska's enviable safety record when                 
  compared with other ski  areas in the United States,  and he                 
  recited  comparable  statistics with  other  ski areas.   He                 
  claimed the  ski  accidents  at  Alyeska  have  consistently                 
  remained well  below the  national average.   Despite  their                 
  positive safety  record, Alyeska spends a substantial amount                 
  of money each  year defending  claims, which number  6 to  8                 
  open  files  at this  time  with  a net  claim  exceeding $2                 
  MR.  HEISER reviewed the  reasons why a  relatively safe ski                 
  resort like Alyeska  accrued high  legal fees and  insurance                 
  fees, citing the  lack of protection against  claims arising                 
  from skiing.  He described the types of injuries in terms of                 
  the risks  of skiing - with any injured person as a possible                 
  claimant and the award potentially large.                                    
  MR. HEISER said that if Alaska  was serious about attracting                 
  and developing winter  tourism, then  it was imperative  the                 
  legislation  provide   a  level  playing  field  with  other                 
  competitive  states or nations  with better  protection from                 
  Number 101                                                                   
  SENATOR  KELLY  paused  to introduce  all  of  the committee                 
  members including those  who just entered.   Because of  the                 
  number of possible  questions, SENATOR  KELLY did not  think                 
  the bill would leave committee this day.                                     
  SENATOR PEARCE questioned  MR. HEISER on future  cases filed                 
  against any  ski slopes in the state with the passage of the                 
  legislation.  He explained how it would assist in activating                 
  summary judgments to avert  selected claims from going to  a                 
  jury trial.                                                                  
  MR. HEISER outlined the use of the summary  judgement motion                 
  which would necessitate information about the accident as to                 
  who was responsible.   The judge would make a ruling  on the                 
  motion as  to whether it  should go to trial,  or whether it                 
  would be  covered by  the law.   To  questions from  SENATOR                 
  PEARCE, MR. HEISER explained why the summary judgement could                 
  not now be made.                                                             
  SENATOR  SALO  asked   for  MR. HEISER'S  perception  of the                 
  resort's liability and responsibility in regards to terrain,                 
  whether  natural  or  artificial  hazards.     He  described                 
  possible  hazards  and   whether  or   not  they  could   be                 
  controlled,  and  he   defined  some   of  the  hazards   as                 
  corrections in areas to  improve safety - such as  roads and                 
  lift towers.                                                                 
  Number 149                                                                   
  SENATOR  SALO  expressed  concern  at  the  breadth  of  MR.                 
  HEISER'S definition of  inherent risk in regards  to terrain                 
  since  she thought it was  possible to mitigate the hazards.                 
  She cited grooming trails and picking  up junk as an example                 
  of this mitigation.                                                          
  SENATOR SALO gave a hypothetical  example of something being                 
  left on the trail, such as a broken tire from a vehicle.  It                 
  snowed  during  the night,  and she  hit  the tire  the next                 
  morning  on  her  first  run,  suffering  an  injury.    She                 
  questioned the legal  ramifications under the  definition of                 
  the inherent danger and risk of skiing in SB 44, and whether                 
  she could bring a suit.                                                      
  SENATOR SALO was assured by MR. HEISER that she could file a                 
  claim  and would  probably not  fall into the  inherent risk                 
  category, but he said, a  skier has a certain responsibility                 
  to avoid hazards just as a driver does.                                      
  SENATOR KELLY asked  for questions, and SENATOR  RIEGER said                 
  he had  questions for  the lawyer,  TIM LAMB,  on line  from                 
  SENATOR  RIEGER  asked  about the  reference  to  applying a                 
  standard of comparative negligence and how it would work.                    
  MR. LAMB explained  how the jury  could apportion the  fault                 
  between the parties in the accident,  where a skier may have                 
  exercised poor  judgement or  the ski resort  may have  been                 
  partially to blame  for the  hazard.  He  explained how  the                 
  jury would split the judgement on comparative negligence.                    
  Number 194                                                                   
  SENATOR RIEGER followed with a  speculative claim of $100 by                 
  an injured skier, and the jury  determined the skier was 80%                 
  at fault,  with the resort  20% at fault.   He asked  if the                 
  skier would be awarded $20, and  MR. LAMB thought that would                 
  be correct.  He explained how  difficult it was currently to                 
  get a summary judgement without changing the statute, and he                 
  blamed the supreme court for a loose interpretation.                         
  MR. LAMB referred to  the use of the comparative  negligence                 
  doctrine in the Hiibschman v. City of Valdez case, which, he                 
  said, has made courts reluctant  to grant summary judgments.                 
  He discussed the  merits of  the proposed legislation  which                 
  would take into consideration careless  mistakes by a skier.                 
  SENATOR RIEGER asked MR. LAMB what  phrase in the bill would                 
  eliminate  the  jury   trial  and  provide  for   a  summary                 
  judgement.    MR.  LAMB  said  the  bill  set  out  detailed                 
  perimeters  and  specific requirements  for  both  sides and                 
  would prevent the codification of common law.                                
  Number 250                                                                   
  SENATOR RIEGER suggested that it would in effect dismiss the                 
  case,  and MR. LAMB said  it was almost  impossible to get a                 
  summary judgement.  SENATOR RIEGER  had questions as to  the                 
  extent of flagging and signing, and MR. LAMB praised Alyeska                 
  for doing more  of this than most  states.  He expected  the                 
  flagging and signing to be continued in the new legislation,                 
  and he said Alyeska did more prevention than required.                       
  SENATOR RIEGER, in reference to the top of page 4, asked for                 
  clarification between Sec. 05.45.010   and Sec. 05.45.020 as                 
  to the prevention  of accidents.   He decided  to leave  his                 
  questions for the drafter.                                                   
  Number 300                                                                   
  SENATOR PEARCE, in   reference to  page 4, line 11,  thought                 
  the  $150 thousand in legal fees  was low, and she asked MR.                 
  HEISER the percent  that represented  operating costs.   MR.                 
  HEISER updated the  current legal costs  since 1989 to  $200                 
  thousand  and the  correct claimant  fees to  being over  $2                 
  million in  reserves and  claims and  said it  could be  any                 
  where from 8 to ten percent of the operation costs.  He said                 
  the number of small ski areas  had diminished because of the                 
  increase in litigation and insurance costs.                                  
  SENATOR  SALO questioned MR. HEISER in  reference to page 3,                 
  Section  12, line 4  about being "impractical  to expect the                 
  operator to eliminate or mitigate  these hazards, and skiers                 
  must  accept  these hazards  as  part  of the  risks  of the                 
  sport."  MR. HEISER explained  there were many hazards  that                 
  were difficult or impossible to  mitigate because of terrain                 
  and other variables.                                                         
  Number 350                                                                   
  SENATOR KELLY  wanted to  know more  specifically about  the                 
  hazards, and MR.  HEISER explained the  hazards in the  main                 
  heavily traveled skiing areas were  mitigated, but the areas                 
  where the more capable skiers use  have less mitigation.  He                 
  praised Alyeska for its signing, roping, and padding in  the                 
  heavily used areas.   He  outlined their strict  guidelines,                 
  insurance inspections,  and inspections by  such departments                 
  as the Forest Service and the Department of Labor.                           
  SENATOR LINCOLN noted a group of trial lawyers in opposition                 
  to SB 44, and she asked if MR. HEISER was aware of any other                 
  groups in opposition.  He was not aware of any opposition at                 
  this time.  SENATOR KELLY said there was those in opposition                 
  to testify.                                                                  
  SENATOR KELLY invited BRUCE RIZER in Anchorage to testify.                   
  MR. RIZER explained his personal interest in the  bill since                 
  his son, BART  RIZER, was  killed  while  skiing at  Seibu's                 
  resort,  Alyeska,  December 8,  1991.    He  claimed  to  be                 
  defending   the  consumers,  the  general  public,  and  his                 
  personal  interest.  MR.  RIZER  asserted that  the  Alyeska                 
  Resort signed contracts  with the  US Forest Service,  which                 
  specifically outlined obligations to be followed.                            
  Number 403                                                                   
  MR. RIZER expressed his outrage at  the practices he felt SB
  44 would mitigate in the insurance regulations governing the                 
  ski  resort  at Alyeska,  as well  as  with the  marking and                 
  mitigation of hazards  as they appear  on the mountain.   He                 
  reviewed the laws and standards of other states in  relation                 
  to those  in Alaska, especially Colorado.  MR. RIZER accused                 
  the  resorts  of  wanting immunity  from  consumers,  and to                 
  protect   a   Japanese   conglomerate    from   claims   and                 
  Number 451                                                                   
  MR.  RIZER  explained  that  much  was made  concerning  the                 
  inherent risk of  skiing as defined  by the ski resorts  and                 
  MR.  HEISER,  and he  deplored  the resistance  to accepting                 
  responsibility.     He   stressed   the  operational   plans                 
  promulgated  by  the  U.S. Forest  Service  for  Alyeska and                 
  approved by Department of Labor and the Department of Safety                 
  before the beginning of the season.                                          
  MR.  RIZER  spoke  disparagingly of  the  perceived  lack of                 
  responsibility by Alyeska, and he  accused Alyeska of trying                 
  to  circumvent  a decision  by  the Supreme  Court mandating                 
  accountable for negligence.  He stressed the need for shared                 
  responsibility between  the skier and  the ski area,  but he                 
  emphasized the need for the mitigation of hazards.                           
  Number 499                                                                   
  MR. RIZER said he was totally against SB 44.                                 
  SENATOR KELLY returned to Juneau to hear from PAUL  SWANSON,                 
  the manager of Eaglecrest.                                                   
  MR.  SWANSON  testified  the ski  area  was  responsible for                 
  operating  in a safe and reasonable  manner and outlined the                 
  inherent  risks over  which he  said  the operator  has very                 
  little  control.  He reviewed  the problems of continuing to                 
  operate  if  they were hit with a lawsuit, and he blamed the                 
  ruling by  the  Supreme Court.    MR. SWANSON  gave  similar                 
  reasons as previous supporters for his backing of SB 44.                     
  SENATOR KELLY  questioned whether Eaglecrest had tower pads,                 
  and MR. SWANSON  responded they did,  but the pads were  not                 
  SENATOR  RIEGER  quoted MR.  SWANSON  as saying  that action                 
  mitigating a hazard would make the operator more liable than                 
  if the hazard had not been  mitigated.  MR. SWANSON referred                 
  to  the  Supreme Court  ruling  to sanction  his  point that                 
  unless he  mitigated the hazard  to perfection, he  would be                 
  liable if it wasn't.                                                         
  SENATOR LINCOLN  asked MR.  SWANSON if  he saw  the bill  as                 
  reducing insurance costs for liability, and MR. SWANSON said                 
  he  thought it  would define  the liabilities  for  both the                 
  skier  and the operator.   She asked if  he thought the bill                 
  would include cross country skiing,  and MR. SWANSON thought                 
  there should be  an expanded  list of winter  sports in  the                 
  TAPE 93-2, SIDE B                                                            
  SENATOR LINCOLN said she was looking for a better definition                 
  of skiing areas in the bill.                                                 
  SENATOR KELLY called  on AL CLOUGH, Juneau  Assembly member,                 
  ski instructor, past  president of  the Eaglecrest Board  of                 
  Directors, and  today speaking  on behalf  of  the City  and                 
  Borough of Juneau.                                                           
  MR. CLOUGH said the  City and Borough of Juneau  supports SB
  44  and  believes  the  legislation  would help  define  and                 
  enhance  winter  recreation, specifically  skiing throughout                 
  Alaska.  He testified as to the beginning of Eaglecrest as a                 
  small operation that has  grown to 50 thousand ski  visits a                 
  MR. CLOUGH believes  SB 44  defines the responsibilities  of                 
  the  operator/owner  and  the  skiing  public,  as  well  as                 
  clarifying the inherent risks of the  sport.  He declared it                 
  was not physically possible to totally mitigate or eliminate                 
  the inherent risks  of skiing in mountainous terrain that is                 
  constantly changing.                                                         
  MR.  CLOUGH  explained  the  lengths  to  which   Eaglecrest                 
  mitigates and eliminate hazards in high use areas with tower                 
  pads, marking, and roping.  He  explained the bill would lay                 
  out  the  risks, but  would not  absolve  the ski  area from                 
  negligible acts.                                                             
  MR.  CLOUGH  praised  the  operation   at  Eaglecrest  as  a                 
  positive,  although  subsidized  part  of  Juneau,  with $50                 
  thousand in insurance  per year.   He regarded  the bill  as                 
  protecting Eaglecrest and other small skiing operations from                 
  nuisance claims when  people do not take  responsibility for                 
  their  own  actions.    MR.   CLOUGH  praised  the  bill  as                 
  protecting  and enhancing these  small ski  slope operations                 
  across Alaska, and he offered the assistance of  MR. SWANSON                 
  to the committee.                                                            
  Number 051                                                                   
  SENATOR PEARCE questioned  MR. CLOUGH, in reference  to page                 
  5,  subsection (B), whether  there were national regulations                 
  and training to  deal with the  required plan and patrol  by                 
  ski area operators.   MR. CLOUGH said Eaglecrest  adhered to                 
  the national code and referred her to MR. SWANSON.                           
  SENATOR  PEARCE  restated her  question  to MR.  SWANSON who                 
  assured her  they followed  the American National  Standards                 
  Institute code.  There ensued  a discussion between the  two                 
  about the code,  insurance inspections,  and a safety  plan.                 
  MR. SWANSON answered questions from  SENATOR KELLY about the                 
  ANSI code, the safety record  at Eaglecrest, and whether the                 
  record was certified by the state.                                           
  Number 124                                                                   
  MR. SWANSON  explained they generated the  record internally                 
  and gave it to the national ski  area operators' association                 
  where the statistics are compiled.                                           
  SENATOR KELLY returned  to Anchorage to hear  testimony from                 
  LEROY CABANA.                                                                
  MR. CABANA,  a commercial  fisherman, explained  he did  not                 
  have a personal  interest in the  bill, but was against  the                 
  bill because of  what he considered escape  by ski operators                 
  of their liability.  He asked for total insurance costs, and                 
  their last  known gross and wondered if  they were quibbling                 
  over dimes or dollars.  SENATOR  PEARCE shared her answer of                 
  8 to ten percent of revenues from a previous question.                       
  Number 151                                                                   
  SENATOR KELLY asked MR. HEISER if Alyeska would have reduced                 
  ticket rates  if SB 44  was passed.   What would  the public                 
  receive from the legislation?   MR. HEISER explained how  it                 
  would affect  insurance costs  which  are passed  on to  the                 
  consumers.  SENATOR KELLY  pushed as to whether there  would                 
  be decrease  in the  ticket costs,  and MR.  HEISER couldn't                 
  promise the  prices would  go down,  but it  would keep  the                 
  increase to a minimum.                                                       
  SENATOR KELLY  asked  how  many deaths  there  had  been  at                 
  Alyeska,  and MR.  HEISER said  there had  been one  in-area                 
  death and another  out-of-area death.   SENATOR KELLY  asked                 
  for a record of injuries, and MR. HEISER admitted to keeping                 
  quite extensive  records generated  by insurance  companies.                 
  He described typical injuries  of about 30 to 50  claims per                 
  Number 210                                                                   
  SENATOR KELLY asked MR. HEISER to run through a small claims                 
  accident.    MR.  HEISER said  they  have  a  policy of  not                 
  settling such  cases, so  as not  to set  a precedence.   He                 
  explained how the claim could evolve  into a an actual suit.                 
  Then their legal department would  be assembled for a series                 
  of depositions, or they try for  a summary judgement motion.                 
  A  trial might  drag  on  for a  couple  of years  before  a                 
  SENATOR KELLY asked if  they ever settled out of  court, and                 
  MR.  HEISER answered it  was possible  to settle  a nuisance                 
  amount  if  it  could  be  settled  for  a  reasonable cost.                 
  SENATOR  KELLY   asked  about  a   correlation  with  health                 
  insurance, and  MR. HEISER  agreed that  people with  health                 
  insurance rarely made claims on Alyeska.                                     
  Number 251                                                                   
  SENATOR RIEGER referred to  back up material on the  City of                 
  Valdez case, and  asked for an  explanation as to where  the                 
  ski operator becomes partially liable.  MR. LAMB, using  the                 
  example of the skier  hitting a snow covered wheel,  said it                 
  could not  be handled  with a  summary judgement  motion and                 
  would most likely go  to trial where a jury  would apportion                 
  fault. He gave other examples to  clarify the use of summary                 
  judgement motion, as  well as a  jury trial when the  resort                 
  was at fault.                                                                
  SENATOR RIEGER asked if the  examples could be characterized                 
  as  those  where the  operators  deviated from  the American                 
  National Standards Institute  code.  MR. LAMB  explained how                 
  it might be determined  along with other factors, since  the                 
  code was not a sole determinate.                                             
  Number 303                                                                   
  SENATOR SALO asked MR.  LAMB if his answer was given  in the                 
  context  of  the   current  statute   or  of  the   proposed                 
  legislation.   MR. LAMB  explained that one  of her previous                 
  examples  would  lead to  a  jury  trial either  way.   They                 
  continued to discuss the differences  in the current statute                 
  and the proposed  legislation, and MR. LAMB  described using                 
  the summary  judgement provision  to be  relieved of  paying                 
  nuisance claims.   He said a one  week trial would run about                 
  $75,000 until verdict  with more  intricate cases could  run                 
  $125,000 per week.                                                           
  Number 347                                                                   
  When asked  by SENATOR  SALO about  the cost  of the  yearly                 
  insurance premiums,  MR. HEISER answered  about 8 to  10% of                 
  operation costs per year.  She asked how much it could it be                 
  reduced, but MR. HEISER choose to express his concern at the                 
  increase if the legislation did not  pass.  MR. LAMB entered                 
  the conversation to  explain the ski lodge paid a deductible                 
  before the insurance  would assume  the costs.   He gave  an                 
  additional overview of all the legal costs involved.                         
  SENATOR KELLY, in  response to a  comment made by Mr.  Lamb,                 
  said  the Rizer accident was not  an injury but a death, and                 
  MR. LAMB apologized.                                                         
  SENATOR RIEGER returned to one of MR. LAMB'S injury examples                 
  to ask if  there would have  been a convenience  settlement,                 
  and MR. LAMB said they had settled with $5 thousand on a $90                 
  thousand medical bill.                                                       
  Number 404                                                                   
  SENATOR  PEARCE  returned  to the  subject  of  the American                 
  National Standards Institute code, saying  she could find no                 
  reference to  the  codes  in  the  legislation.    MR.  LAMB                 
  admitted to not having read the ANCI codes, but he described                 
  the safety  features on the  hill, such as  lighting, signs,                 
  and closed areas.                                                            
  Number 454                                                                   
  SENATOR  PEARCE  questioned  him further  about  meeting the                 
  codes, and he evoked the use of the jury in such cases.  She                 
  continued to  push questions  about the code,  and MR.  LAMB                 
  discussed the  code in  terms of  guidelines, and  insurance                 
  inspections.   SENATOR  PEARCE  pressed  him for  additional                 
  answers on the use of the code.  Finally, MR. LAMB explained                 
  that Alyeska  was required to meet the  ANCI standards under                 
  its Forest Service permit.                                                   
  Number 495                                                                   
  SENATOR PEARCE  had some  additional questions  about unsafe                 
  slopes and the right of legal action by the skier.  MR. LAMB                 
  said it  would depend  on how  the injury  occurred, and  he                 
  described the circumstances under which  they would file for                 
  a summary judgement.                                                         
  SENATOR KELLY questioned  MR. HEISER  as to whether  Alyeska                 
  would be insured without inspection.   He said they wouldn't                 
  and were inspected three times a  year, and he described the                 
  inspection process.                                                          
  SENATOR  KELLY  asked  MR.  SWANSON  if  Eaglecrest  had  an                 
  insurance inspection each year, and he replied they did.                     
  Number 499                                                                   
  MR.  CABANA  returned  to  the  teleconference   network  to                 
  continue  his   opposition  to   the  legislation   and  his                 
  expectation  of  mitigation for  any  hazards that  could be                 
  mitigated.  He  gave the example  of a stump on  the Alyeska                 
  slopes that should have been mitigated - but wasn't.                         
  (The second tape of this series did not record.  The minutes                 
  are taken from the tape log.)                                                
  SENATOR  KELLY  invited  CLAUDIA  BIEBER  from  Anchorage to                 
  testify next.                                                                
  MS BIEBER testified  in opposition  to SB 44,  and began  by                 
  explaining why she thought Alyeska  was a dangerous place to                 
  ski.  In addition to hazards,  she said there were children,                 
  unsupervised and  out of  control, where  alcohol was  being                 
  served.  MS BIEBER suggested an evaluation to determine what                 
  was best for Alaskans.                                                       
  Number 076                                                                   
  PATTY RIZER, mother of BART RIZER, who died on the slopes in                 
  1991, spoke at some length in opposition to SB 44.                           
  MS RIZER began by  describing their life as it  was entwined                 
  in the community and  the Alyeska ski slopes.   She outlined                 
  the use of ski lessons and their safety precautions.                         
  Number 171                                                                   
  MS RIZER said  the bill  didn't help the  consumer, and  she                 
  asked SENATOR KELLY questions about the risks of skiers, and                 
  who monitored the ski industries.  There was some discussion                 
  with MR. HEISER  about that area  being unmarked.  MS  RIZER                 
  reminded committee members that  today (1/19/93) would  have                 
  been BART RIZER'S birthday.                                                  
  Number 247                                                                   
  Last to testify was LEX PATTEN, a  coach for the Alyeska Ski                 
  Club,  who urged support for SB  247.  He said he understood                 
  the inherent risks of skiing, but was concerned the programs                 
  might be jeopardized without the legislation.                                
  SENATOR KELLY concluded the committee meeting and said SB 44                 
  would be held over until Thursday for additional work on the                 
  There  being  no   further  business  to  come   before  the                 
  committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects