Ski chairlift modification at Ski Granby Ranch likely caused woman’s fatal fall
January 20, 2017
DENVER — Officials at a small Colorado ski resort say an independent contractor's modifications to a chairlift likely caused a lurch that toppled a Texas woman 25 feet to her death.
Melissa Cipriani, CEO of Granby Ranch, said in a news release Friday that the contractor modified the electrical drive/control system of the Quick Draw Express lift before the ski season. A Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board report says problems with that system "contributed to a rare dynamic event that occurred on the lift at the time of the incident."
The chair carrying 40-year-old Kelly Huber and her two daughters hit a support tower Dec. 29, causing the family to fall onto hard-packed snow. The San Antonio woman was killed, and her daughters, ages 9 and 12, were injured.
Resort officials didn't specify what modifications were made.
Following a directive from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, the Quick Draw Express lift has been temporarily shut down for additional testing. This lift has been operating on diesel auxiliary power since the lift restarted operations on January 10, 2017. Granby Ranch is working with the Tramway Board to complete the new tests and re-open the lift under diesel power as soon as possible. Additionally, Granby Ranch has now scheduled installation of a new electric drive on the Quick Draw Express lift in the near future.