An adaptive skier who fell 17 feet from a Snowmass chairlift in February 2019 is suing Aspen Skiing Co. The Aspen Times reports Allison Nicola brought a lawsuit against Skico on July 7th 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.
The lawsuit claims Nicola, who was 33 years old at the time of the incident suffered “permanent physical injuries.” According to the lawsuit the fall resulted in Nicola suffering a closed head injury, left cerebral hemorrhage, and spinal and vertebral fractures. She was trying to load while in a sit-ski.
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 when it took off with just her and not her instructor aboard. 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.
“Defendant’s employee failed to release the safety strap causing both Plaintiff and Defendant’s employee to be carried 17 feet in the air. 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. Aspen Skiing Co. has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. Officials did not respond to requests for a statement.