Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 596/Senate Bill 463 into law as 2015 Wisconsin Act 168 on March 1, 2016. The new statute, introduced by Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) and Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), changes the term “snow sport” to “alpine sport” and adds “biking” to the list of activities included in the term.
An individual who participates in a recreational activity assumes the “risks inherent in the recreational activity of which the ordinary prudent person is or should be aware” and must satisfy certain behavioral duties. [s. 895.525, Stats.] If a participant is injured or killed, the owner of the premises may be liable, but the damages that may be collected from the owner are reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the participant.
An individual who participates in a snow sport within a ski area assumes certain risks and must satisfy certain duties. Likewise, ski area operators must satisfy certain duties related to safety and to give notice of assumed risks. A ski area operator that satisfies all of the required duties owes no further duty of care to a participant and is immune from liability for an injury or death sustained by a participant that results from the assumed risks of participation in a snow sport.
The act removes biking from the definition of “recreational activity,” defines the risks assumed by individuals who participate in biking, and establishes the duties participants must satisfy. It also establishes the duties of ski area operators related to biking. Under the act, a ski area operator that satisfies all of the required duties owes no further duty of care to a participant who engages in biking and is immune from liability for an injury or death sustained by a participant that results from the assumed risks of participation in an alpine sport.