The claimant was a teacher on a school trip who fell while skiing downhill. Her left ski failed to release and she sustained a fracture to her tibia. The defendant was the tour organiser.

The claimant alleged negligent fitting of skis by the ski-hire shop at the resort and that the defendant was vicariously liable for that under Regulation 15.1 and 15.2 of the Package Travel Tour Regulations 1992.

Both parties appoint ski experts. There was a complicated issue between them and the orthopaedic consultants as to causation and whether correctly set bindings would have prevented the injury. In the end, they concluded correctly set bindings could have prevented entirely or at least significantly reduced the injury.

Correctly set bindings should allow the ski boot to release from the ski when subjected to forces calculated from factors such as the skier’s height, weight, boot size, age and experience. The claimant’s evidence was that the technician who fitted the ski binding did not ask her any questions about these factors.

The claimant’s skiing expert accepted that height and weight should not be gauged by eyesight but by questioning and that any such guess work would likely result in an improperly fitted binding.

The Judge accepted that the binding had been a hurried procedure at the busiest time of year, namely half-term, the Claimant being amongst the last in the fitting of 47 skiers on a trip. He found the technicians were negligent in failing to gather enough information to provide the correct binding adjustments.

The claimant was awarded damages of £42,500.

Philips -v- Club Europe, Central London CC, 17 June 2005, HHJ Knight QC, Case No 4TN00443.