Skier sues Cairngorm M2 bosses for £500,000

A SKIER is suing a slopes operator for half a million pounds after he broke his hip in a fall four years ago.

The Cairngorms range where Mr Hutton suffered his fall. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
The Cairngorms range where Mr Hutton suffered his fall. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Self-employed electrician Christopher Hutton from Edinburgh was skiing on the Cairngorm M2 blue run in March, 2010 when he lost control and broke his left hip.

After an operation and two weeks in hospital, 51-year-old Mr Hutton was left with one leg 3cm shorter than the other.

In a civil action lodged at Inverness Sheriff Court, he claims he requires regular shoe adjustments and still suffers pain and restriction of movement and walks with a limp. His lawsuit includes compensation for past and future loss of earnings.

Mr Hutton is also claiming that proper piste “grooming” was not carried out, and no hazard signs had been erected to warn of excavated frozen snow left on the run, creating “death cookies” or icy lumps which he claims caused his accident.

The firm denies negligence and alleges there is no record of any hazard on that day on the run, and there were no other incidents or complaints from other skiers.

It also said its ski patrol had been told by a companion of Mr Hutton that “due to flat light, he may have clipped a fence”.

At a civil court hearing in Inverness yesterday advocate Craig Murray asked Sheriff David Sutherland to order the company, recently taken over by Natural Retreats from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, to hand over information, something it has so far been resisting.

He wanted to know what risk assessments were carried out on the slopes as well as the identities of certain staff working that day. They include snow patrol staff whose duty it is to check runs, the name of the operator of the snow grooming equipment, and which of four machines was being used.

He also wants documentation disclosed which would reveal whether or not the M2 run was inspected, when and by whom, and if there was a record of any hazard having been identified.

Mr Murray revealed that Freedom of Information legislation had to be used by Mr Hutton’s legal team to obtain data when the company refused to 

Mr Murray said: “Usually there is co-operation between both parties, but there has not been full co-operation in this case. The documents will allow my client to make his case more specific.”

Sheriff Sutherland ordered the company to produce the required information by 16 July.

The company argued that much of the information sought is not relevant or had already been disclosed.