Cause of Death Released in Colorado Ski Lift Fall

January 4, 2017

A Texas woman who fell from a chairlift at a small Colorado ski resort last week died from a rupture of the aorta and other traumatic injuries, an autopsy has concluded.

Kelly Huber, 40, of San Antonio fell 20 feet from the lift on Thursday at Granby Ranch Ski Resort about 90 miles west of Denver.

Two daughters, ages 12 and 9, also fell with Huber. The 12-year-old was treated and released from a local hospital, while the 9-year-old was being treated at Children’s Hospital in suburban Denver. Her condition hasn’t been released.

Granby Police Chief James Kraker released the autopsy results this weekend.

Authorities were still investigating how the three fell. The Quick Draw Express lift at Granby will stay closed until state regulators can determine it is safe, said Lee Rasizer, a spokesman for the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board.

The lift has safety bars, but it wasn’t known if Huber was using one, according to Chris Linsmayer, a spokesman for Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade group.

Fatal falls from U.S. ski lifts are rare. The National Ski Areas Association says there have been three deaths since 2004 in falls not related to mechanical problems.

The last fatal fall in Colorado, which accounts for more than a fifth of skier visits nationwide, happened in 2002 when the manager of Winter Park Ski Resort fell about 15 feet from a lift after suffering seizure-like symptoms.

In 1976, four people were killed after cable wires became entangled in a gondola at Vail Mountain Resort. In 1985, two people died at Keystone Resort after the welding on the large wheel used to pull the cable failed.

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