When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Chair Lifts

It happened on a lift called the Quickdraw Express, at a ski slope called Granby Ranch, in the State of Colorado: where guns aren’t entirely outlawed, but they’re as restricted as antigun zealot Governor Hickenlooper can make them.

Kelly Huber, of San Antonio, was riding the chairlift at the Ski Granby Ranch, in Colorado, with her girls – aged nine and 12 – on Thursday when all three fell.

The 40-year-old plummeted more than 20ft to her death, while her daughters were seriously injured.

There’s a safety bar — how can this happen?

The Texas mother who fell to her death from a ski lift while her two young daughters were seriously injured did not have the safety bar down, a witness has claimed.

Oh. Thats how. Complacency kills? Or a murder-suicide attempt? They only fell 20 feet, but as the saying goes, it’s not the fall that gets you but the sudden stop at the far end. That was certainly the case for Ms Huber, who decelerated sufficiently abruptly to compromise her aorta.

Her nine-year-old daughter was airlifted to Children’s Hospital Colorado and her condition is not known.

Huber’s other daughter, 12, was treated and released at Middle Park Medical Center in Granby, where her mother was pronounced dead, the Denver Post reported.

The chair remained attached to the cable, according to witnesses.

Yeah, but the skiers didn’t remain attached to the chair.

On Saturday, the coroner determined that Huber died from blunt force trauma to her torso and a traumatic rupture of the aorta.

There’s eyewitnessws to the accident, if accident it was.

The witness, Allen McGirl from Greeley, who was three chairs back from the family, wrote on Facebook: ‘I am so sad to have witnessed the 3 people fall off the chair lift at Granby Ranch this morning.

‘If only the mother would have lowered the safety bar, this would not have happened.

‘Now the mother is dead and the two little girls will never be the same. My heart goes out to their family.’

He continued: ‘I was three chairs back and saw everything and was warning my group I was with.

‘Terrifying. Warning about the swaying side to side. No other chairs were swinging like that.

‘The bar hit the sign on the pole and they dropped out. I can’t get out of my head watching that moment and cpr for 5 to 10 min.’

‘My heart sunk and it just took me very hard,’ McGirl, who is a father of young children as well, told Denver 7 TV station.

He said it was obvious that Huber was not breathing when she hit the ground.

The fatal fall is the first in the state in over a decade.

Slope officials immediately shut down the lift to make sure there were no problems with it.

Authorities have not yet weighed in on whether this was the reason the family tumbled out.

‘Granby Ranch continues to work cooperatively with authorities to determine the cause of the incident. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to everyone involved in this tragic event,’ the ranch wrote on Facebook Saturday.

Huber had been vacationing in Colorado with her daughters and other family members when the tragic accident occurred, authorities say.

It has not yet been announced how high up the mountain the victims were when they fell from the lift, but Schelly Olson, spokeswoman for the incident command, said they were the only ones on that chair.

But she said many saw the horrific accident: ‘People on the chairs in front. People on the chairs in back. People on the hill.’

While the rest of the resort is now operational, the high speed Quickdraw Lift will remain closed until the inspection by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board and lift manufacturer is complete.


via Texas mom who died after fall from Colorado ski lift ‘didn’t have safety bar up’ | Daily Mail Online.

12 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Chair Lifts

  1. LFMayor

    This may come off as calloused but was she able to lock the bar? Maybe due to weight ” disease”?

  2. Slow Joe Crow

    Isn’t it standard practice for the lift operators to lower the safety bar as people get on, just like amusement park rides? If so there is some serious wtf here, or a fatal case of the stupids on the part of the deceased.
    I’m not 100% on that because I’ve only been Alpine skiing once, over 30 years ago and my strongest memory of the chair lift is being knocked over when I botched the dismount. Subsequently I’ve only gone Nordic skiing where I have to haul myself up the hill.

    1. John M.

      I’ve never seen a lift operator lower a safety bar. Usually the chair is moving too fast. It’s up to the rider(s).

      -John M.

  3. Kirk

    Friend of the family works up at the local ski resort, and talking to him is an eye-opener. You would be absolutely in awe of the amount of bullshit those poor bastards have to put up with from the public–And, at how many people casually bypass the safety gear for the stupidest reasons. While it’s possible that the safety bar was mechanically flawed in this case, it’s equally possible that the victim deliberately bypassed it because it was “uncomfortable”, or might muss her hair.

    This is one of those things that only the people on that chairlift with her can answer, and I shudder to think what those kids might be going through–Especially if they were the ones who unlatched the bar. That’s another thing you’d probably not want to really contemplate, and that’s how often these kids casually bypass crap, thinking it’s like a video game where there is a “save” function if things go wrong. The mentality in a lot of kids these days is wrapped around the conventions of video games, and a lot of them simply do not “get” how things can go south in a serious, permanent way when they don’t follow guidance.

    1. John Distai

      I agree that kids believe there is an “Undo”. I noticed my child’s new car racing video game (Forza 3 Horizon) has an “Undo” if you crash your car. It backs you up several seconds so you can take corrective actions. Not the way crashes and accidents in real life works. On the other hand, if games were like real life, they wouldn’t be much fun.

  4. Toaster

    Something is off about this whole thing. Lifts don’t just start swinging like that.
    The theory around the homestead is that the mom wanted the kids to be hurt/killed, for whatever unfathomable and evil reason, and it didn’t go as planned. Apparently she was engaged.
    I’ve ridden that particular lift, and many many others, being an avid snowboarder living in Colorado. No way it was anything but intentional/extraordinary, sky high stupidity, it’s hard to get a chair to swing like that.
    Grant Ranch is also very tame as far as lifts/runs go.

    As per the bar, no, I haven’t ever seen a bar lowered by a lifty except as requested by a parent. I’d say a good 85-90% of the time the bar is ignored.

    1. Ti

      Agree w you sir!
      Colorado skier here also and have ridden at GRanch. That lift is tame but has exposure in height. She also didn’t fall into powder deep snow. She fell into packed hard early season snow – just like hitting the dry ground. I would consider Granby Ranch a “Family” ski area. I’ve never observed those lift’s rock and collide with the tower. Also most people ride w/o the bar, unless you request. I’ve had people riding on the chair w me request and I didn’t argue just grabbed it and put it down. Sounds fishy to me.

  5. gebrauchshund

    As a first pass of wild speculation with almost no available data, my guess would be that Mom and the kids were having some fun screwing around making the chair swing by shifting their weight side to side (something that is warned against with signage and such at every ski area I’ve ever been to, and also something I remember doing as a kid anyway), and they got it swinging enough that it hit a sign on “the pole” (probably a lift tower). When moving between the loading and unloading areas, the chairs on a high speed lift are rigidly clamped to a cable, which is pulled by a motor strong enough to drag several tons of chairs and passengers uphill. So the chair, moving at a pretty good clip and rigidly attached to a cable under several tons of tension, bangs into a fixed object. The chair ain’t gonna stop, what it will do is move violently in whatever direction the physical forces acting on it require. The safety bar isn’t much of a restraint, just a single bar across the front of the chair at about bellybutton height on an adult, usually with footrests attached that drop below the chair. It does not lock or latch in place, and has counterweights so that it can be easily lowered or raised by one person sitting in the chair. It is designed to add a small margin of safety during normal operation, not to lock the passengers in place like on a rollercoaster. In this particular instance, having it in place would not have made things worse, but it might not have helped much either. If the swinging of the chair was deliberate, and I can’t think of any other way to get a single chair to swing like that when none of the others are, it was most likely an act of foolish ignorance, not malice.

    1. John Distai

      Mr. Toad’s wild ride, indeed! I especially appreciated the last line “through the hard work of the lift mechanics, the lift was ready to run the next day…” Must have been some very hard work and a very long day.

  6. Hartley

    The safety bar on that lift is clearly visible in the picture – it’s a single horizontal bar with two double footrests, so the chair is intended for four people max. I’ve seen lots of people riding these with two or three people where they won’t lower the bar because they’d have to shuffle back & forth to make it fit, as the vertical bar that supports the footrests hits the edge of the seat – you can’t have your leg there.
    The wild “swaying” sounds like it was induced by the occupants – none of the other chairs were swinging, and lift operators are VERY sensitive about wind conditions that make the chairs sway (and a loaded chair would sway less than an unloaded chair if it was wind).
    Like Toaster & Ti already said, the bar is lowered by the rider, not the lift loader (and you can’t put it down instantly, either, as the footrest will hit).

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