We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's not so much about bubble-wrapping our precious snowflake kids as it is about municipal lawsuits. "Sled at your own risk" does not insulate. Same goes for skating on ponds, etc. Something is deeply wrong with the American tort system, but it's about politics. The wealthy tort bar fills the Democrat cash register. There will never be tort reform, and all outdoor fun will be illegal except on your own property.
It's a rare kid in the northeast who has not broken or sprained something sledding or skiing, not to mention concussions, etc.
The issues with ski areas are complex, and ambulance-chasers abound. Very few things in life have zero risk and even waivers are limited. In the US, almost anybody can sue somebody for anything and get a settlement just to go away. Generally, a settlement is cheaper than defending a case.
It can be risky. My childhood home had a swamp on two sides. A decent hill bordered about 50 yards of the swamp. My father turned the hill into a toboggan run. He cleared the brush from the swamp out to a fair distance, and cleared the hill of trees and brush. In all the years of use, there was one injury. The mother of a friend put out her foot to stop the toboggan, and sprained her ankle. We didn't get any lawsuit thrown at us for the sprained ankle.
When my Romanian sons first moved here, one looked at the list of rules at the town pool. They were decent, sensible rules. But he squinted, laboring over the English and finally said. "In Romania, we do not have this. If you do these things, that is your problem."
Assistant Village Idiot
Might want to check local campaign finance reports. Noticed in a few states, the plaintiff's bar has shifted from the losing D's to the winning R's.
For fun, over the correspondence between your home insurer and health insurance over a claim for injuries at home. Subordination of benefits can a joy.
We had a great sledding hill on a private 9 hole golf course here in CT. The course was owned by two 90 year old brothers. One was an accountant and one was a lawyer. They had no problem with sledding. I asked a friend of theirs how they avoided lawsuits. He said they fought every suit and eventually the local trial lawyers stayed away. Interestingly, there were more and more people relocating from New Jersey to the area and it was clear they had no clue of proper sledding hill etiquette. They would sled down and climb straight back up without going the side to avoid other sledders. Parents also did not supervise their younger kids but had small conversation groups smack dab in the starting area. Perhaps this is another case of how the old informal social stigmas protected us just as well as any regulations.
I grew up with a marvelous sledding hill, plentiful snow, and a harness for my St. Bernard who would pull my sled or a whole bunch of sleds up the hill. It was probably 80 to 100 yards long (never measured, but trying to compare to a football field in my imagination) At the bottom of the hill was a railroad track (Union Pacific branch line).
For my November birthday party, my dad had groomed the hill and the driveway, and late in the day a railroad work party arrived to dig out to crossing. As usual, they just tossed the snow and gravel from their efforts off in the middle of the hill and driveway for someone else to clean up. My dad was more than annoyed, and carefully packed enough snow back in the crossing to make the sled run once again spectacular, and, I'm afraid, in a fit of pique, poured a little water on to be sure it would work.
The party was, as always, great. It wasn't until late in the evening when a train came up the line, and derailed at the crossing. They had to send to Ogden, UT for a crane to put it back on the tracks. I told this story once to a Union Pacific VP at a convention in Sun Valley, and he thought it was hilarious. Fortunately it was a long time ago, when our society wasn't so litigious.
The Elephants Child