15167.33 Snow sports. (1)
In this section:
(a) "Affiliate" means:
1. With respect to a partnership, each partner thereof.
2. With respect to a limited liability company, each member thereof.
3. With respect to a corporation, each officer, director, principal stockholder, 20
and controlling member thereof.
(b) "Competition" means any event authorized by a ski area operator, or by an 22
agent of a ski area operator, that involves a comparison of skills used in one or more 23
snow sports. "Competition" includes training sessions for such an event.
(c) "Freestyle features" means man-made features that include boxes, jumps, 2
hits, jibs, tabletops, spikes, take-off ramps, landings, banks, half pipes, picnic tables, 3
logs, and pipes.
(d) "Freestyling" means mogul jumping, mogul skiing, ski jumping, aerial 5
skiing, ski cross, ski ballet, snowboarding, and any other similar snow sport.
(e) "Hazard" means any man-made or natural obstacle or hazard. "Hazard" 7
includes ridges, sharp corners, jumps, bumps, moguls, valleys, dips, cliffs, ravines, 8
and bodies of water.
(f) "Lift" means any aerial tramway or lift, a surface lift, a tow, or a conveyor 10
used by a ski area operator to transport participants in snow sports at a ski area.
(g) "Participant in a snow sport" means an individual who is engaged in a snow 12
sport or who is walking or otherwise traveling within a ski area for purposes of 13
engaging in the sport. "Participant in a snow sport" also means an individual who 14
is present at a ski area to observe others engaged in a snow sport or who is a 15
passenger on a lift. "Participant in a snow sport" includes an individual that is an 16
employee of a ski area operator when he or she is acting outside the scope of his or 17
(h) "Ski area" means trails, terrains, and other outdoor areas that are used by 19
individuals engaged in snow sports and that is administered as a single enterprise 20
by a ski area operator.
(i) "Ski area infrastructure" means lifts and any associated components, 22
snowmaking equipment and any associated components, and utility structures, 23
buildings, huts, signs, lift mazes, fences, or other structures located within a ski area.
(j) "Ski area operator" means a person that owns or is responsible for operating 2
a ski area or its affiliates. "Ski area operator" includes the employees and agents of 3
a ski area operator.
(k) "Ski area vehicle" means a motorized vehicle used in the operation and 5
maintenance of a ski area or used as transportation within a ski area.
(L) "Skiing" means downhill skiing, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, cross-country 7
skiing, telemarking, snowshoeing, or snowboarding.
(m) "Sledding" means sliding down a prepared course on sleds, toboggans, ski 9
bikes, or comparable devices. "Sledding" excludes tubing.
(n) "Snowmaking equipment" includes pipes, hoses, hydrants, snow guns, fans, 11
wands, pumps, and any other equipment associated with making snow.
(o) "Snow sport" means skiing, sledding, tubing, or freestyling.
(p) "Tree skiing area" means an area open to skiing, that is not groomed for 14
skiing, and that is forested.
(q) "Tubing" means sliding down a prepared course on inflatable tubes, 16
minibobs, or comparable devices.
17(2) Conditions and risks of snow sports.
For purposes of this section, 18
conditions and risks consist of all of the following:
(a) Changes in weather or visibility.
(b) The presence of surface or subsurface conditions, including any of the 21
1. Snow, ice, crust, slush, soft spots, holes, grooves, bare spots, cuts, rocks, 23
boulders, or tracks from ski area vehicles.
2. Forest growth or debris, including stumps, logs, or brush.
(c) Ridges, sharp corners, bumps, moguls, valleys, rollers, dips, cliffs, ravines, 2
and double fall lines.
(d) Variations in the difficulty of terrain, surface conditions, or subsurface 4
conditions on a single trail or terrain or among trails or terrains that are designated 5
the same level of difficulty at the ski area or at another ski area.
(e) The risk of injury or death on trails and terrains that fall away or drop off 7
(f) The risk of collision with other participants in snow sports, employees of a 9
ski area operator, or ski area infrastructure.
(g) Variation in the location, construction, configuration, or steepness of trails 11
(h) The greater risk of collision, injury, or death in treed areas, in areas where 13
competitions are held, and in areas where freestyling is allowed.
14(3) Duties of ski area operators; signage; notice.
(a) Notice on tickets
Each ski area operator shall print on each ticket or season pass that it 16
issues to participants in snow sports the following warning:
"WARNING: Under Wisconsin law, each participant in a snow sport assumes 18
the risk of injury or death to person or injury to property resulting from the 19
conditions and risks that are considered to be inherent in a snow sport, has a number 20
of duties that must be met while engaging in a snow sport, and is subject to 21
limitations on the ability to recover damages from a ski area operator for injuries or 22
death to a person or to property. A complete copy of this law is available for review 23
at the main site where tickets to this ski area are sold."
(b) Signs required; generally.
Each ski area operator shall post and maintain 25
a sign that is at least 10 square feet in size at or near each of the sites where tickets
to the ski area are sold, at or near each of the entrances or lift loading areas for areas 2
that are open to snow sports, and at or near each area open to sledding or tubing 3
which is not served by a lift. The sign shall contain the following warning:
"WARNING — ASSUMPTION OF RISKS: Under Wisconsin law, each 5
participant in a snow sport is considered to have accepted and to have knowledge of 6
the risk of injury or death to person or injury to property that may result. Under 7
Wisconsin law, each participant in a snow sport has the duty to take the precautions 8
that are necessary to avoid injury or death to person or injury to property. Wisconsin 9
law sets forth certain other limitations on the liability of ski area operators for 10
injuries or death to person or injury to property. A complete copy of this law is 11
available for review at the main site where tickets to this ski area are sold."
(c) Copies of law.
Each ski area operator shall post and maintain a current copy 13
of all of the provisions of this section at the main site where tickets to the ski area 14
are sold and shall make a copy of it for any individual upon request.
(d) Signs required; skiing or sledding areas.
In addition to the sign required 16
under par. (b), each ski area operator shall post and maintain a sign that is at least 17
10 square feet in size at or near each entrance to a loading area of a lift that serves 18
areas open to skiing or sledding. The sign shall contain the following warning:
"WARNING — DUTIES OF INDIVIDUALS ENGAGED IN SKIING OR 20
SLEDDING: Under Wisconsin law, each individual engaged in skiing or sledding 21
has a duty to do all of the following:
1. Obey all posted warnings and signs.
2. Keep off of closed trails and out of closed areas.
3. Know the range of his or her ability and engage in skiing or sledding within 25
4. Assess the difficulty of the trails and terrains that are open to skiing or 2
5. Maintain control of his or her speed and direction.
6. Be able to stop or avoid other individuals or objects.
7. Yield to other individuals engaged in skiing or sledding who are ahead or who 6
are down the slope.
8. Not stop at a point that will result in the individual obstructing a trail or not 8
being visible from above.
9. Yield to other individuals engaged in skiing or sledding who are uphill when 10
starting downhill or when merging onto a trail.
10. Be able to safely board, ride, and deboard any lift serving an area open to 12
skiing or sledding.
11. Board and deboard a lift only at designated sites."
(e) Signs required; tubing areas.
In addition to the sign required under par. (b), 15
each ski area operator shall post and maintain a sign that is at least 10 square feet 16
in size at or near each entrance to a loading area of a lift that serves areas open to 17
tubing or at or near an entrance of an area open to tubing that is not served by a lift. 18
The sign shall contain the following warning:
"WARNING — DUTIES OF INDIVIDUALS ENGAGED IN TUBING: Under 20
Wisconsin law, each individual engaged in sledding has a duty to do all of the 21
1. Obey all posted warnings and signs.
2. Keep out of closed areas.
3. Know the range of his or her ability and engage in tubing within that ability.
4. Assess the difficulty of the terrain that is open to tubing.
5. Maintain control of the speed and direction of the tube or other device that 2
is being used.
6. Comply with any posted limits imposed on the number of passengers or on 4
the amount of weight of the tube or other device while it is being ridden.
7. Be able to safely board, ride, and deboard any lift serving an area open to 6
8. Board and deboard a lift only at designated sites.
9. Yield to other individuals engaged in tubing who are ahead or who are down 9
the the slope.
10. Look uphill and yield to oncoming tubes before leaving the bottom of the 11
hill at the end of a run.
(f) Signs required; trails and terrains.
Each ski area operator shall designate 13
the trails that are open for skiing in its ski area and shall determine the difficulty 14
level of each trail. The ski area operator shall post and maintain a sign at or near 15
the beginning of each trail. The sign shall contain the name of the trail and all of the 16
applicable wording and emblems specified in this paragraph to describe the difficulty 17
level of the trail or terrain. The sign shall be at least 4 square feet in size. Each sign 18
shall contain one or more of the following designations that are applicable:
1. The word "easier" with an emblem consisting of a green circle.
2. The words "difficult" or "more difficult" with an emblem consisting of a blue 21
3. The words "most difficult" with an emblem consisting of a black diamond.
4. The word "expert" or "extreme" with an emblem consisting of 2 black 24
5. The words "freestyling area ahead" with an emblem consisting of an orange 2
6. The words "tree skiing — caution." The sign shall have an orange 4
background or orange lettering with a black or white background and shall contain 5
the additional statement: "This back country trail is not groomed or patrolled — 6
Never ski here alone."
(g) Areas open to freestyling; signs and barricades required.
A ski area operator 8
shall designate an area as an area for freestyling if it contains one or more freestyle 9
features. A ski area operator shall construct and maintain a barricade with fencing, 10
roping, or similar means at the entrance to such an area. The opening in the 11
barricade may not be wider than 30 feet. The ski area operator shall post and 12
maintain a sign at or near the entrance of the area that is at least 3 square feet in 13
size and that shows the boundaries of the area open to freestyling. The sign shall 14
contain emblems consisting of a stop sign and orange oval. The sign shall contain 15
all of the following:
1. The words "freestyling skills required."
2. The words "helmets are recommended" or "consider wearing a helmet."
(h) Lifts; signs required.
For each lift that is used by individuals engaged in 19
skiing and that does not serve any trail that is described under par. (f) as "easier," 20
the ski operator shall post and maintain, at or near the loading area for the lift a sign 21
that is at least 10 square feet in size near or at the entrance of the loading area. The 22
sign shall contain the following warning:
"WARNING: This lift does not serve any trails that are "easier" (marked with 24
a green circle emblem). All of the trails served by this lift are "difficult" or "more 25
difficult" (marked with a blue square emblem), "most difficult" (marked with a black
diamond emblem), "expert" or "extreme terrain" (marked with an emblem consisting 2
of 2 black diamonds), or "freestyling terrain ahead" (marked with an orange oval)."
(i) Ski area vehicles
; signs required
. A ski area operator shall post and maintain 4
signs on various trails or lift towers throughout the ski area that are at least 4 square 5
feet in size that contain the following statement: "Caution: Ski area vehicles may 6
be in operation at any time."
(j) Variation of signs.
1. In lieu of posting and maintaining each of the separate 8
signs required under par. (b) and par. (d) or (e), a ski area operator may post and 9
maintain a single sign that is at least 12 square feet in size and that contains all of 10
the required warnings.
2. A ski area operator may, in a ski area with fewer than 100 acres in use for 12
a snow sport vary from the specific wording, size, and location requirements for signs 13
specified under this subsection, but any variation may not preclude a reasonably 14
prudent participant in a snow sport from finding or understanding the contents of 15
16(4) Duties of ski area owners; other duties.
Each ski area operator 17
shall post and maintain a map of the trails and terrains in the ski area that are 18
designated for any snow sport at all of the sites where tickets to the ski area are sold 19
if the ski area has more than 3 trails. The map shall contain the names of each trail 20
or terrain and a description of the level of difficulty for each trail as determined by 21
the ski area operator under sub. (3) (f). The sign shall be at least 32 square feet in 22
Each ski area operator shall mark hydrants, water pipes, and 24
any other man-made structures on a ski area that are not readily visible to 25
participants in a snow sport under conditions of ordinary visibility from a distance
of at least 100 feet. A ski area operator may use any type of marker, including a 2
wooden or bamboo pole, flag, or sign if the marker is visible from a distance of 100 3
feet and if the marker itself does not constitute a serious hazard to participants in 4
a snow sport. Variations in steepness or terrain, whether natural or as a result of 5
slope design, snowmaking, or grooming operations, including roads, catwalks, or 6
other terrain modifications, are not man-made structures for the purpose of this 7
(ar) Padding policies.
A ski area operator shall adopt a written policy 9
determining which man-made ski area infrastructures require protective padding 10
and determining the type, height, thickness, and color of the padding. The policy 11
shall take into consideration factors including the infrastructure's size and location 12
at the ski area and its visibility to the public under conditions of normal visibility.
(b) Ski area vehicles.
1. Each ski area operator shall ensure that each ski area 14
vehicle that is present on a trail during the hours in which a lift is being operated 15
shall display all of the following:
a. A flashing light on or near the top of the ski area vehicle whenever the ski 17
area vehicle's engine is on.
b. If the ski area vehicle is an all-terrain vehicle, a snowmobile, or a similarly 19
sized motorized vehicle, in addition to the flashing light as specified in subd. 1., a red 20
or orange flag that is at least 40 square inches in size and that is mounted at least 21
5 feet from the bottom of the tracks or tires.
2. If any grooming operations take place on a ski trail during hours in which 23
a lift is being operated, the ski area operator shall close that trail to the public at the 24
top entrance to the trail until the grooming operations are complete on that trail. If 25
a groomer is traversing part of a ski area that is not part of a ski trail during hours
in which a lift is being operated, the ski area operator shall provide an escort for the 2
groomer to warn guests of the approaching groomer.
3. A ski area operator shall have a written policy that specifies the training 4
required for anyone to operate a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle within the ski 5
area, and shall have a written policy addressing recommended routes for 6
snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles to follow when used during the hours in which 7
a lift is being operated.
4. No ski area operator may allow anyone under the age of 18 to operate a 9
snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle within the ski area.
5. Any employee of a ski area operating a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle 11
shall possess a valid driver's license.
6. A ski area operator shall prohibit the use of privately owned snowmobiles 13
or all-terrain vehicles within the ski area during the hours in which a lift is being 14
7. The operator of a snowmobile or an all-terrain vehicle may not operate the 16
vehicle at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable.