Gwyneth Paltrow’s family ski instructor testified that ‘Ms. Paltrow doesn’t go down the hill screaming’ while defending the actress’ skiing prowess during collision trial
Gwyneth Paltrow’s son’s ski instructor praised the actress’ skill while testifying on Monday.
Eric Christiansen took the stand in Paltrow’s legal battle over a 2016 crash.
The ski instructor rejected suggestions that he was helping Paltrow “cover up” the collision.
A Utah ski instructor who taught actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s children on several vacations defended the star’s snow sport ability, testifying in court on Monday that he has always known the “Goop” mogul to be a safe and responsible skier.
Eric Christiansen, a ski instructor of 44 years, offered his recollection of the 2016 ski collision between Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist who is in court this month battling the lifestyle guru over dueling negligence claims stemming from the mountaintop accident at Deer Valley Resort in Utah seven years ago.
Christiansen was working with Paltrow’s son, Moses Martin, then 10, when the disputed crash between Paltrow and Sanderson, 76, occurred on a beginner slope.
Sanderson sued Paltrow in 2019 for $3 million over the collision, alleging she crashed into him and left him with four broken ribs and a traumatic brain injury, per medical records shown in court. The actress later countersued Sanderson for negligence, alleging that he was responsible for the accident, having skied into her from behind.
Sanderson is now seeking $300,000 in damages compared to Paltrow, who is asking for $1, plus reimbursed attorney fees.
Witnesses throughout the trial thus far, including both Sanderson and Paltrow, have offered contradictory accounts as to who was at fault in the crash, but Christiansen on Monday was clear in his conviction that he believed Sanderson was to blame.
Christiansen’s testimony began with a slow-motion video animation depicting the alleged collision, which the ski instructor said he did not personally witness.
Following the crash, which was preceded by a “blood-curdling” scream from Paltrow, according to Sanderson’s Monday testimony, Christiansen was among the first people to respond to the incident. Christiansen said he found the two intertwined on the ground, with Paltrow laying on top of Sanderson; he said he heard the actress say she had been hit and never saw it coming.
In a report he wrote up following the collision, Christiansen said Sanderson took Paltrow out from behind.
“I clearly observed him as the uphill skier and the uphill skier has a responsibility to avoid other skiers,” he said in court on Monday.
Christiansen continued to praise Paltrow’s skiing ability throughout his testimony, saying she was skilled at making “short radius turns,” and rejecting the defense’s suggestion that Paltrow screamed prior to the crash.
“Ms. Paltrow doesn’t go down the hill screaming, there would be no reason for her to be screaming just to scream,” Christiansen said.
Sanderson’s legal team, meanwhile, continued to emphasize the monetary relationship between Christiansen and Paltrow. The actress testified last week that while she couldn’t remember the exact cost, the day’s skiing, which included lessons for her, husband Brad Falchuk, and their four collective children, cost more than $9,000.
Christiansen said he instructed Paltrow’s now-16-year-old son Moses on at least three separate ski vacations the family had taken over the years, even sending the boy home with some of his homemade pottery on one occasion.
But the ski instructor rejected allegations that he was lying or helping Paltrow “cover up” the collision simply because she tipped him well.
“That is ridiculous,” Christiansen said at Paltrow’s attorney’s preemptive suggestion.
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