Texas mom who died in chairlift fall is identified
Investigators on Friday identified the 40-year-old San Antonio mother who died Thursday when she and her two daughters fell about 25 feet from a chairlift at Ski Granby Ranch.
Kelly Huber was pronounced dead at Middle Park Medical Center in Granby at about 10:45 a.m., where she was taken after the 9:30 a.m. fall. A ruling on her cause and manner of death is pending an autopsy scheduled for Saturday.
Grand County officials have yet to provide further details on how the Texas mother and her two young girls fell from the lift. Authorities say the case remains under investigation.
Huber’s 9-year-old daughter was taken to Middle Park before being flown by Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital Colorado. Her other daughter, who is 12, was treated at Middle Park and released. An update on the younger girl’s condition was not available Friday, said Schelly Olson, a spokeswoman for the incident command.
Huber was vacationing in Colorado with her daughters and other family members, authorities say. It remained unclear Friday what prompted the fall, causing the first chairlift fall death in Colorado in 14 years.
Huber was a longtime employee of the health insurance provider Aetna, according to the company.
“She was a loved and respected Aetna employee,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.”
Olson said Huber and her daughters were the only ones on the chair when they fell somewhere between the lift’s loading area and summit. The chair remained attached to the line.
Olson also said there were many witnesses: “People on the chairs in front. People on the chairs in back. People on the hill.”
The three fell from the Quick Draw Express lift. The lift — a detachable quad, which is often called a “highspeed” lift — remained closed Friday.
The Grand County Sheriff ’s Office and Granby Police Department are investigating, as is the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board.
The safety board said Friday the lift “will remain closed until deemed safe for public operation,” but did not give an estimated timeline.
Ski Granby Ranch is about 20 miles west of Winter Park. The small, 400acre family-oriented resort is known as a spot for beginners.
Chairlift deaths from malfunctions or falls are exceedingly rare in the United States, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Deaths from malfunctions have totaled just 12 from 1973 through October, and there were three deaths from falls between 2004 and October, the NSAA reports.
The last chairlift fall death in Colorado is believed to have occurred in 2002.