Disabled skier sues Aspen Skiing Co. over lift fall at Snowmass

Elk Camp Lift seats four people at Snowmass Ski Resort.
Aspen Times file photo

An adaptive skier who fell from a Snowmass chairlift in February 2019 has taken Aspen Skiing Co. to court.

Allison Nicola brought a lawsuit against Skico on July 7 in Pitkin County District Court, where she’s alleging a chairlift operator negligently misloaded her onto Elk Camp lift, from where moments later she fell 17 feet to the ground, her injuries exacerbated by another load operator who landed on top of her.

Nicola, who was 33 years old at the time of the Feb. 26 accident, suffered what the lawsuit called “permanent physical injuries.” She was trying to load while in a sit-ski, which was mounted on one ski.

The fall resulted in Nicola suffering a closed head injury, left cerebral hemorrhage, and spinal and vertebral fractures, the suit said.

Aspen Skiing Co. has a practice of not commenting on pending litigation; company officials did not respond to a message seeking comment.

According to an Aspen Times article from March 1, 2019, the woman, visiting for a Challenge Aspen and Disabled Sports USA event, was with her instructor before attempting to load the Elk Camp lift.

She was not fully seated in the lift when it took off with just her and not her instructor aboard, the article said, attributing the information to a Skico official. A lift attendant, trying to keep the woman on the chairlift, grabbed her from behind and was carried up by the lift.

A second lift attendant stopped the chair and both individuals fell to the ground between towers 2 and 3, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said at the time.

“Defendant’s employee failed to release the safety strap causing both Plaintiff and Defendant’s employee to be carried 17 feet in the air,” the suit said. “Defendant’s employee caused Plaintiff to fall from the lift and then fell on top of Plaintiff. The lift was stopped when another load lift operator from the next chairlift saw that there was a problem and ran over to the Elk Camp lift and stopped the lift. Defendants failed to maintain a lift operator near the safety stop button at all times.”

The suit seeks compensation for Nicola’s “injuries and damages in the past, present and future, including for past, present and future medical expenses, for past, present and future pain and suffering, for personal injuries, for emotional distress, for loss of the ability to enjoy life as she did before the accident, permanent physical injuries and for other non-economic damages.”

Denver firm Levin Law LLC filed the suit.


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