Two-time Olympic snowboard silver medalist Danny Kass of the United States was fined US$370 when he appeared in court at Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island charged with careless driving.
Judge Paul Whitehead of the Christchurch District Court heard that Kass, 27, drove a van fitted with snow chains up the crowded main ski trail at the Cardrona Alpine Resort near Queenstown on Aug. 17, New Zealand's The Press newspaper reported Wednesday. Kass planned to use the vehicle in a photo shoot, the court heard.
Sergeant Stephen Burke of the Christchurch Police said the van became stuck in soft snow and was in danger of rolling down the ski slope which was packed with skiers. Kass, of Portland, Oregon, was initially charged with endangering public safety but police reduced the charge to one of careless driving. Kass pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
His lawyer, Jonathan Eaton, said Kass had apologized to the skifield manager in person and in writing, had completed voluntary work at the resort and had donated the van to the nearby Wanaka snow park.
"He's very remorseful, but relieved it's only a careless-driving charge," Eaton was quoted as saying. Although there was some risk, there was no immediate danger."
Judge Whitehead described Kass's actions as foolish and ordered him to pay court costs on top of the fine.
Kass, who won silver medals in the snowboard halfpipe at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, appeared in court on Tuesday, hours before leaving the country.