Granby Ranch and Huber family settle wrongful death lawsuit |

Granby Ranch and Huber family settle wrongful death lawsuit

The Quick Draw Express at Granby Ranch sits empty in this photo from 2020. The lift malfunctioned in 2016 and caused Kelly Huber and her two daughters to fall off their chair.
Robert Mendoza/Sky Hi News archive

The family of Kelly Huber, a 40-year old Texan who died after falling off a lift at Granby Ranch in 2016, settled their lawsuit with the ski resort for an undisclosed amount. Huber’s husband filed the wrongful death lawsuit in 2017.

Huber’s daughters, Taylor and Ashley, were 9 and 12 years old when they fell off the lift with their mother. The two suffered injuries, and a Flight for Life helicopter took Taylor from Middle Park Medical Center in Granby to Children’s Hospital in Aurora.

Jace Wirth, general manager at Granby Ranch, declined to comment on the settlement. Wirth and his father Andy own Ridgeline Executive Group and took over management of Granby Ranch in Sept. 2020.

The Hubers’ chair collided with a tower around 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2016, and a state investigation into the cause of the incident concluded the Quick Draw Express lift’s drive was the primary factor. 

The report says electronic drives have more uses than ski lifts, which vary in design, meaning there are no standard settings for a drive powering a lift, only a range of recommendations. The Quick Draw Express’s drive “was not comprehensively tuned to this lift during installation.”

“It is the conclusion of the investigation team that the selected tuning of the drive combined with the natural harmonics of the lift system, along with rapid speed changes, caused the rope instability resulting in Carrier 58 contacting Tower 5,” the report reads.

Deaths like Huber’s rarely happen on ski lifts, as the state report notes in its conclusion. A National Ski Area Association fact sheet about aerial ropeways and surface lifts states 14 deaths occurred from lift malfunctions from 1973 to 2020, with most of the accidents occuring in the ’70s and ’80s.

The Huber family released a statement through their attorney, the Colorado Sun reported Friday.

“The Huber family appreciates all the love and support they received from people all over the country who responded to this tragedy and helped them cope with their tremendous loss,” the statement reads.

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