Inside the Utah resort at the center of Gwyneth Paltrow's 'hit-and-run' ski crash lawsuit
Gwyneth Paltrow appeared in court in Utah for a lawsuit related to a 2016 skiing incident.
Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson sued the actor for negligence, accusing her of crashing into him.
The incident happened at a beginner ski slope at the famed Deer Valley Ski resort in Park City, Utah.
Gwyneth Paltrow appeared in a Utah court earlier this week after a man sued her for negligence related to a skiing collision in February 2016.
The trial is taking place in Summit County, Utah, and is expected to last two weeks. Paltrow is anticipated to take the stand during the trial, as well as her teenage son Moses, who came to his mother's aid after the crash.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, accused her of crashing into him, after which he said he was left with four broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury.
In opening statements, Sanderson's lawyer said Paltrow was distracted, looking behind her to watch her two kids ski, when she crashed into Sanderson from behind, knocking him out on the Bandana beginner slope.
Sanderson initially filed the suit in 2019, and Paltrow countersued, also for negligence, accusing him of crashing into her. In opening statements, Sanderson's lawyer said he suffered more than $3 million in damages. Paltrow is asking for just $1 in damages.
Both sides in the case largely dispute the other's account of the accident. While Sanderson said Paltrow struck him from behind, violating ski etiquette which gives skiers further downhill the right of way, Paltrow says it was Sanderson who was behind her on the slope and crashed into her back.
Paltrow's lawyer tried to downplay the seriousness of Sanderson's injuries, showing an email to the jury on Tuesday that showed Sanderson emailing his daughter about eight hours after the accident, talking about how he had become "famous" after his crash with the Academy Award-winning star.
Earlier this week, Paltrow's attorneys presented an animated re-creation of how they say the ski collision occurred, showing an animated skier labeled as "Sanderson" higher up the slope than another animated skier labeled "Paltrow" just before the moment of impact.
Eric Christiansen, a ski instructor who was giving a lesson to one of Paltrow's children, said he observed Sanderson making "fairly large radius turns" and skiing "carpet to carpet," meaning he was going from one side to the opposite, using the entire run, whereas the actress was making shorter turns in a narrower part of the slope.
"If you make a small turn, you're out of the line of traffic," Christiansen said during the hearing. "Making large radius turns is fine, but you have to be aware of all your surroundings, and you have to make sure that you're not coming into traffic."
Though he said he did not witness the crash itself as he turned away shortly before it happened, Christiansen said he does not think of Paltrow as a "reckless skier" and recalled Sanderson's skis pointing towards her before the collision occurred.
The alleged incident occurred at Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah, about 40 miles east of Salt Lake City. Known for its picturesque slopes, the resort has been frequented by celebrities and public figures, including Tony Danza and Lisa Kudrow.
Source: Deseret News
During Operation Smile's annual Park City ski challenge in 2018, other celebrities were seen hitting Deer Valley's slopes, including actor Darren Criss, director and producer Mia Swier, and American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman.
The Clinton family also visited the resort during a family vacation to celebrate Chelsea Clinton's 18th birthday in 1999, when Bill Clinton was still in office. The former first daughter was seen hitting the slopes, accompanied by two Secret Service agents.
Source: Associated Press
In 2002, hundreds of thousands gathered at the resort to attend the Winter Olympics, hosting the freestyle moguls, aerials, and alpine slalom events.
And crashes can happen even on the Olympic level. During his run at the 2002 Winter Olympics, Japanese freestyle skier Yogo Tsukita lost control and ended up crashing.
But apart from hosting historic Olympic events and entertaining celebrities, Deer Valley also has a storied history of its own. Before Deer Valley resort, ski enthusiasts would visit the Snow Park Ski Area in the 1930s and 40s.
The first ski lifts on the mountain were built in 1947 by Park City residents Bob Burns and Otto Carpenter, who crafted the first mechanized lift towers out of lodgepole pines, aspen wood, and old mining equipment scavenged from nearby abandoned mines.
A second lift that ran on a Ford Model-A engine was later added, and visitors would pay $1.50 to take a ride up the mountain and take lessons.
Source: Ski Utah
After buying the area in 1971, Polly and Edgar Stern were keen to turn the area into a luxury resort at a time when the draw to most ski areas was just the snow itself.
After opening to the public in December 1981, the resort expanded from five chairlifts and 35 ski runs to 21 lifts and 103 runs.
"Edgar Stern founded Deer Valley in 1981 on what was a revolutionary concept for a ski resort: world-class service," according to Ski Magazine. "In the ensuing years, Deer Valley has helped redefine the industry."
Source: Deer Valley Resort, Ski Utah, Ski Magazine
People young and old gather at the slopes to enjoy the winter fun.
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