Family sues Intrawest for Winter Park avalanche death

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WINTER PARK, Colo. -- The family of a young father who died in an avalanche at Winter park is suing the resort, claiming his death could have easily been prevented.

28-year-old Christopher Norris was killed after a small avalanche on Mary Jane Mountain in January.

Five months later, Norris’ family is still struggling.

“She has some real good days. Then there are other days when the reality of being a single mom with two children hits real hard,” says Jim Kemper of his daughter Salyndra, Christopher’s widow.

Kemper says his grandchildren, 3-year-old Indica and 6-month- old Sage, must now grow up without a father.

The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Intrawest Winter Park Operations Corporation.

“When you go to a ski area and you're in-bound and you ski where your skis want to go you should be safe,” says Kemper, who was with Christopher on the mountain that day. “The fact that we were in-bound and it was an open area that should have been patrolled but wasn't.”

Salyndra’s attorney, Michael Burg, says the ski resort was aware of avalanche danger in the area where Norris’ body was found.

"They should have precluded skiers and should have had signs and blocked off the area so skiers in-bounds would not have been able to get into the terrain,” Burg says.

He says holding the ski resort responsible for Chris’ death is the only way to prevent this from happening again.

“I think it's very important that the ski areas are held accountable and responsible.”

Kemper says his family wants Intrawest to do what’s right.

“I would like them to tell us why that area was still open and a really heartfelt apology because you know there are now two children who don't have a father a wife who doesn't have a husband.”

Intrawest declined to comment. So far the victim’s family has not specified the damages they are seeking from the resort. However, the Ski Safety Liability Act currently has a $250,000 cap for all lawsuit claims.

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