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Feb

Equipment Malfunction Blamed for Fatal Ski Lift Accident

Equipment Malfunction Blamed for Fatal Ski Lift Accident

Chairlift full of skiers at a ski resort, with snowy mountains | Fatal Ski Lift AccidentA fatal ski lift accident in December that claimed one life and injured two others has been blamed on mechanical errors.

While skiing with her daughters at Ski Granby Ranch, 40-year old Kelly Huber of San Antonio, TX was fatally injured. The girls, ages 9 and 12, were injured as well when the ski lift chair they were in collided with a support pole in the December 29 incident on the Quick Draw ski lift. 

The Colorado Passenger Tramway Board reports an equipment malfunction was responsible for the accident which tossed Huber and her daughters out of their lift chair to the ground 25 feet below. Huber died when her body struck the hard-packed snow and the girls were injured.

The Board’s report also stated that the investigation had pinpointed some problems with the electrical drive and control system of the chair that led to an atypical event at the time of the accident. The investigation further concluded that neither the weather, environmental factors, nor the passengers in the neighboring chair had any influence on the incident.

The Quick Draw Express ski lift, which has been in operation for 17 years, re-opened on January 10 following an inspection in the aftermath of the tragedy. In a statement released by the resort, Granby Ranch extended their condolences to Huber’s family. They also stressed their commitment to the safety of all their guests and thanked the community for their support during this difficult time.

In an email, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Lee Rasizer said that no one from the state could make further comments as the investigation into the incident is on-going.

The resort was permitted to re-open the Quick Draw Express lift by the board on the condition that the ranch use a diesel engine system to power the lift in place of the electrical drive that was in use at the time of the incident. Also, the state imposed some updated inspection requirements on the resort.

An autopsy report indicated that, in addition to other blunt force injuries, Huber sustained a traumatic rupture of her aorta, the primary artery leading from the heart.

Deadly ski lift accidents are rare, the most recent event being reported in 2002. In fact, according to the National Ski Areas Association, only 12 fatalities have been attributed to chair lift failures since 1973.

Further Reading: Slip and Fall Accidents in Snowy Weather

Other Types of Ski Accidents in Colorado

While deadly ski lift accidents are not common, other types of ski accidents are. There are numerous ways you can injure yourself on the slopes, but the most common types of ski accidents include:

  • Collisions with other skiers and snowboarders
  • Collisions with trees, signs, or other barriers
  • Ski instructor negligence
  • Ski equipment failure
  • Improperly marked dangers on slopes
  • And more

Every skier assumes a certain amount of risk when they hit the slopes. You may sprain your ankle or even break your leg in a ski accident. Yet, some accidents are not your fault and are actually the fault of serious negligence on the part of the ski resort or another skier. If your injuries are due to a ski instructor’s negligence, another skier’s negligence, or a ski resort’s negligence, then your Denver personal injury lawyer can help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

Reckless skiers and snowboarders, chair lift malfunction, improperly marked or maintained trails, and defective ski equipment are some of the most common ways you can be injured while skiing. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their legal rights after they are injured in a skiing or snowboarding accident. As a result, they may not realize that they are entitled to compensation they rightly deserve—and need to fully recover.

Contact Our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers

The Denver, CO personal injury law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, P.C.If you or someone you love has been injured in a ski accident on the slopes outside of Denver, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer immediately. Time is of the essence. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.

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