Inside the Utah resort at the center of Gwyneth Paltrow's 'hit-and-run' ski crash lawsuit

A composite image showing Gwyneth Paltrow and skiers on a lift at Deer Valley ski resort.
A composite image showing Gwyneth Paltrow and skiers on a lift at Deer Valley ski resort.Getty Images/Insider
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  • 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.

Gwyneth Paltrow looks on before leaving the courtroom
Gwyneth Paltrow looks on before leaving the courtroom in Park City, Utah, where she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into a skier.Rick Bowmer, Pool/AP

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.

Source: Insider

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.

Terry Sanderson arrives at court in Park City, Utah.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, is suing actor Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 ski collision that took place at Deer Valley Resort.Rick Bowmer, Pool/AP

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.

Source: Insider

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.

Gwenyth Paltrow smiles next to her lawyer Steve Owens during a hearing in Park City, Utah.
Gwenyth Paltrow smiles next to her lawyer Steve Owens during a hearing in Park City, Utah.Pool Video via AP

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.

Source: Insider

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.

An animated simulation re-created the moment of impact between Gwyneth Paltrow and Terry Sanderson during the 2016 ski collision.
An animated simulation re-created the moment of impact between Gwyneth Paltrow and Terry Sanderson during the 2016 ski collision.Jeffrey D. Allred-Pool/Getty Images

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.

Source: Insider

 

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.

Skiers can be seen in the distance on an open slope surrounded by trees in Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah.
Skiers can be seen in the distance on an open slope surrounded by trees in Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah.Roman Tiraspolsky/Getty Images

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.

Actor Darren Criss, Mia Swier and Matt Iseman in ski gear at Deer Valley Resort
Actor Darren Criss, Mia Swier and Matt Iseman attend Operation Smile 7th Annual Park City ski challenge on March 10, 2018 in Park City, Utah.Kim Raff/Getty Images for Operation Smile

Source: Facebook

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.

Chelsea Clinton rides the quad lift with two Secret Service agents in Deer Valley in 1999.
Chelsea Clinton rides the quad lift with two Secret Service agents from the Snow Park resort in Deer Valley during a family vacation in 1999.STR New/Reuters

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.

Iceland alpine skier Johann F Haraldsson is seen skiing at the Deer Valley Resort during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Iceland alpine skier Johann F Haraldsson is seen skiing at the Deer Valley Resort during the 2002 Winter Olympics.Brandon Malone/Reuters

Source: KSL-TV

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.

Japanese freestyle skier Yogo Tsukita lost control and crashed coming off his second jump on the moguls run at Deer Valley.
Japanese freestyle skier Yogo Tsukita lost control and crashed coming off his second jump on the moguls run at Deer Valley.Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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.

Deer Valley
The Deer Valley ski resort and lodging in Utah.iStock / Getty Images Plus

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.

A view of snow and cabins in Deer Valley Ski resort in Park City, Utah.
A view of snow and cabins in Deer Valley Ski resort in Park City, Utah.Zia Hansen/EyeEm/Getty Images

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.

A young skier slides below the huge temporary stadium built at the Deer Valley ski resort in Utah
A young skier in the Deer Valley "Reindeer Club" ski school slides below the huge temporary stadium built at the Utah ski resort for the Winter Olympics on January 22, 2002.Rick Wilking RTW/ME/Reuters

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