Fatal falls from chair lifts are rare in the United State according to data from the National Ski Areas Association.
A report published by the group in October shows there have been 12 deaths since 1973 ( when NSAA began compiling industry statistics) attributed to chair lift malfunctions. During that same time period the industry provided more than 16.7 billion lift rides to skiers and boarders.
The most recent death of a guest due to a lift malfunction at a U.S. ski resort was in 1993, when
a Sierra Ski Ranch detachable-grip lift malfunctioned. In 1985, there were two deaths caused by a malfunction of a lift at Keystone ski area.
According to the NSAA it is even more rare for a fatal fall to occur from a chair lift that is not related to a malfunction of some kind.
"Fatalities from falls from lifts are extraordinarily rare," said Dave Byrd, the Director of Risk and Regulatory Affairs for the National Ski Areas Association. "This is one of 3 that we know of in the last 10 years in the United States where a fatality has occurred from someone falling out of chair lift."
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Most non-fatal falls from lifts are not recorded or collected by state agencies except in Colorado where it's required by law.
NSAA analyzed the data from the 2001/02 to 2011/12 ski seasons which was reported to the Colorado Tramway Safety Board. It found there 227 falls from chair lifts and 86% were attributed to skier error. Just 2% of falls were related to mechanical or operator errors.