Sundance Film Festival isn't all that's putting the otherwise relatively sleepy city of Park City, Utah, in the headlines: It's now also allegedly the scene of a crime involving Gwyneth Paltrow, who allegedly got so caught up in enjoying zooming down the slopes of one of the trails at Deer Valley Resort in February 2016 that another skier who alleges that she slammed into him on the slopes has now slammed her with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
According to Terry Sanderson, a 72-year-old retired optometrist with 30 years of skiing experience under his belt, he quite literally fell victim to Paltrow two years ago on an otherwise "beautiful day" that he'd been spending exploring new ski trails in the sun. At least until a beginner allegedly carted him down one of them, knocking him out and leading him to suffer four broken ribs and "serious brain injuries."
That beginner was allegedly Paltrow, who Sanderson says was "skiing out of control" at the time. That's believable enough given Paltrow’s very public enthusiasm for fitness and wellness. (Most recently demonstrated by her claim last month that she's responsible for popularizing yoga.) What is up for debate, however, is whether Paltrow's enthusiasm did indeed lead Sanderson not only to become "seriously injured" but then be left to deal with those injuries on his own while lying in the snow. (The lawsuit describes the situation as a "hit-and-run ski crash.")
Fortunately, there was at least one witness, who ended up taking the Oscar winner's side, hence why Sanderson is not only suing Paltrow; he's also taking the Deer Valley ski instructor who was accompanying her, Eric Christiansen, to task for not having called for help and "falsely" accusing Sanderson of being the one who was at fault in causing the crash. Along with Paltrow and the resort, his "negligent actions" have now resulted in a demand for more than $3.1 million in damages.
While that's no small amount for a ski instructor, it's rather negligible for the actress and the entrepreneur behind Goop, which the New York Times has reported is worth $250 million. Still, as they made clear in a statement to People, a representative for Paltrow is not buying it: "This lawsuit is completely without merit. Anyone who reads the facts will realize that."
The facts, however, remain unclear, and Patterson has seized his opportunity to share his side of the story—and quite colorfully at that. During a news conference on Tuesday, he recalled seeing signs "big as two refrigerators" telling those on the trail to slow down, which he did accordingly. His compliance did not, apparently, prevent tragedy from striking: At that point, Patterson recalls hearing "this hysterical scream like you never hear on a ski run ... like King Kong came out of the jungle or something," he said. He also identified the King Kong impersonator as Paltrow, painting a rather disturbing scene: Paltrow headed straight his way at "a very good rate of speed," flanked by an army of ski instructors, plus her family and friends, before she struck him face down into the slope.
Sanderson apparently could barely remember his own name when he came to, but he did manage to remember and recognize seeing Paltrow. And while there easily could have been another blonde in ski goggles on the trail that day, that squad certainly does sound rather unforgettable.