Analyzing injuries, crashes and hit-and-runs at Colorado ski areas

“It’s absolutely terrifying what is happening at some of these ski areas.”

CHB mentioned in the Colorado Sun:

April 9th, 2024, Analyzing injuries, crashes and hit-and-runs at Colorado ski areas, By Jason Blevins, Colorado Sun (modified for brevity)

Ura Kim was skiing with her husband and friends at Breckenridge in early January 2019 when she was struck by a young skier and shoved into a tree. [The young skier did not stay at the scene to give his name and address as is required by the Colorado Ski Safety Act].

The Kims called Jim Chalat, a Denver attorney who has represented injured skiers for decades. Chalat filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ura Kim, against a yet-to-be-named skier dubbed John Doe.

The lawsuit was enough to get a judge to sign a subpoena for the ski area’s pass-scanning data. Stephen Kim is a software and data engineer who has worked with statistics for more than 30 years. Kim copied the information into a database and built software to search for a young skier and a parent who fit his profile and rode the chairlift shortly after his wife was hit. Mr. Kim and Jim Chalat narrowed it down to a 12-year-old boy and his parents.  Chalat hired a private investigator who called the parents, the mom replied to the investigator’s question about skiing that day at Breckenridge, saying, “My son did not hit that woman.”

The Kims settled with the family’s insurance company. After a couple years of recovery from a broken jaw and broken wrist, Ura Kim has already skied 82 days this winter. She and her husband no longer ski at Breckenridge. 

When Kim called the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to file a report, he says a deputy told him “we have never caught a hit-and-run person.” 

“Something has to change,” Stephen says. “It’s absolutely terrifying what is happening at some of these ski areas.”

Earlier this year the Summit County Sheriff’s Office did identify a snow biker involved in a hit-and-run that injured two skiers at Keystone. The 50-year-old man was charged with leaving the scene of a collision six days after he struck a man and his daughter, leaving them seriously injured. 

Chalat says his personal injury law firm — Chalat Hatten and Banker — gets hundreds of calls a year from injured skiers. 

Lately, he says, “we are seeing a significant increase in hit-and-run.”

“I find it really disturbing because the sheriff’s departments in ski counties either do not have the resources or they do not have the interest in locating these hit-and-run perpetrators,” Chalat says.