Parents Push for Colorado Chairlift Safety

Parents have joined forces to urge Colorado lawmakers to be aggressive towards the legislation renewing the Colorado Passenger Tramway Board into 2030. Parents want more flexibility to safeguard the state’s chairlifts. Lisa Wilder, a parent and ski safety advocate and other parents of skiing children, are pressuring lawmakers to be stricter with the board that governs chairlift safety. Parents want the board to be more thorough in tracking chairlift injuries and disciplining ski resorts who don’t meet safety standards.

In recent years, there have been numerous chairlift accidents involving children. Just recently a 6-year-old fell from a chairlift in Eldora and in 2016 a Texas mom died after she was thrown from a chairlift at Granby Ranch. Wilder testified in March before the Colorado Senate’s Local Government Committee and urged lawmakers to require lift operators to record injuries during loading and unloading, not just falls from chairlifts. Wilder expressed, “The loading and unloading is the most dangerous and everyone knows that and its especially dangerous for children.”

In Fall 2018, DORA’s sunset review of the tramway board, noted 542 incidents in the lifts they oversee between the 2012-2013 season and the 2016-2017 season. The Board identified 9,474 deficiencies during 3,876 inspections in that five-season span. DORA only took a total of 20 disciplinary actions, 16 of which were “letters of admonition.”

Attorney Jim Chalat has long represented skiers injured at resorts. With more than 30 years of experience in ski law, Jim has joined the group of parents in lobbying for amendments to the board’s authorizing legislation. Chalat sent a letter to lawmakers to consider an amendment that rejects ski resorts’ liability requirements. Chalat believes that, “waivers that release a resort from liability in case of an accident, undermine safety systems imposed by both the Tramway Board and the Colorado Ski Safety Act.” Both the Board and the Act require resorts to assume some responsibility for safety.

For more details and progress on this issue visit: