Gwyneth Paltrow's family ski instructor testified that she 'doesn't go down the hill screaming' while defending the actor's skiing prowess during her collision trial
Gwyneth Paltrow's son's ski instructor praised the actor's skill while testifying 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 the actor Gwyneth Paltrow's children on several vacations defended the star's snow-sport ability, testifying in court Monday that he had always known the Goop founder to be a safe and responsible skier.
Eric Christiansen, a ski instructor for 44 years, offered his recollection of the 2016 ski collision between Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist who's 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 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, according to medical records shown in court. The actor later countersued Sanderson, alleging that he was responsible for the accident because he skied into her from behind.
Sanderson is now seeking $300,000 in damages. Paltrow, on the other hand, is asking for $1, plus reimbursement for attorney fees.
Witnesses throughout the trial, including both Sanderson and Paltrow, have offered contradictory accounts as to who was at fault in the crash, but Christiansen on Monday said he believed Sanderson was to blame.
Christiansen's testimony began with a slow-motion video animation depicting the collision, which the ski instructor said he did not personally witness.
Following the crash, which Sanderson testified Monday was preceded by a "blood-curdling" scream from Paltrow, Christiansen was among the first people to respond to the incident. Christiansen said he found the two intertwined on the ground, with Paltrow lying on top of Sanderson. He added that he heard the actor say she had been hit and never saw it coming.
In a report he wrote up after 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 Monday.
Christiansen continued to praise Paltrow's skiing ability throughout his testimony, saying she was good at making "short-radius turns" and rejecting the defense's suggestion that Paltrow screamed before 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 actor testified last week that while she couldn't remember the exact cost, the day of skiing — which included lessons for her, her husband, Brad Falchuk, and their four collective children — cost more than $9,000.
Christiansen said he instructed Moses, now 16, 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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