Officials still investigating death from chairlift fall
Grand County is still reeling this week from a tragic chairlift accident that occurred at Ski Granby Ranch on Thursday Dec. 29, 2016.
The accident involved a family of three females, one adult and two juveniles, from Texas who were vacationing at Ski Granby Ranch at the time of the accident. Sometime around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning Dec. 29, 2016 the three females, a mother and her two daughters, were riding up the Quickdraw Express lift on Ski Granby Ranch’s east mountain. During their ride up the mountain all three females fell from the lift, falling approximately 25 feet from the chair to the ground.
All three females were transported to Middle Park Medical Center – Granby (MPMC-G). A short time later local officials confirmed the mother involved in the incident, 40-year-old Kelly Huber of San Antonio Texas, had died from a traumatic rupture of the aorta and blunt force trauma to the torso as a result of the fall.
The two juvenile girls, ages nine and 12, involved in the fall were also treated MPMC-G. The nine-year-old female was airlifted via Flight for Life helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Aurora while the 12-year-old female was treated in the emergency department in Granby and later released to family members Thursday evening.
After the incident representatives from Children’s Hospital said they would not be releasing additional information on the condition of the nine-year-old female that was airlifted to Children’s citing requests from the family for privacy. Additionally the family of Kelly Huber released a statement on Monday Jan. 2 through representatives from Children’s Hospital.
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“The family would like to thank the community for their concern during this difficult time,” the statement reads. The statement goes on to explain Children’s is not authorized to release any information, including condition updates, per the family’s request. Additionally the statement requests members of the media not contact the family with requests for interviews.
The exact details of what led the three to fall from the chairlift have not been released yet. The Granby Police Department is involved in an ongoing investigation into the accident to determine a cause. Additionally the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, part of the Colorado Department of Regulator Agencies (DORA), is also investigating the accident and plans to release a report on the incident.
Lee Rasizer, Public Information Officer for the Professions and Occupations Division of DORA, released a statement after the incident.
“The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board continues to investigate the incident that occurred on Thursday (Dec. 29) on the Quick Draw Express lift at Ski Granby Ranch. The lift… will remain closed until deemed safe for public operation.”
The Quickdraw Express remained closed at Ski Granby Ranch Tuesday morning Jan. 3.
The Quickdraw Express provides the only lift access to the top of Ski Granby Ranch’s east mountain, which contains the majority of the ski resort’s beginner and intermediate terrain.
The resort’s other lifts, the Kicking Horse Lift, the Milestone, and the three-passenger capacity Conquest were all operating Tuesday morning. The Iron Horse Lift provides some access to the lower portions of the east mountain while the Milestone lift is the resorts bunny hill lift. The Conquest lift provides access to the resort’s west mountain and the intermediate to advanced terrain options at Ski Granby Ranch.
As a result of last week’s accident Ski Granby Ranch was still offering discounted ticket prices as of Tuesday morning Jan. 3.
Rasizer did not return phone calls before press time on Tuesday, Jan. 3 for an update on the chairlift.
Lance Maggart can be reached at 970-557-6003