(photo: Granby Ranch)

Colorado Ski Resort Blames Chairlift Contractor for Fatal Accident

Granby, CO – In response to a directive from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board (CPTSB), Granby Ranch took its Quick Draw Expess chairlift back offline again on Friday to conduct more testing “out of an abundance of caution” in the wake of a fatal ski lift accident at the resort last month that left a Texas mother dead and her two daughters injured.

In its preliminary report following the accident, the CPTSB cited a “rare dynamic event” caused by the lift’s electrical drive for forcing the lift chair carrying Kelly Huber, 40, of San Antonio and her two minor daughters into a lift tower, propelling all three to the ground 25 feet below.

(photo: Granby Ranch)
(photo: Granby Ranch)

After releasing its initial findings, the CPTSB permitted Granby Ranch to reopen the lift beginning on Jan. 10, but only on auxiliary diesel power rather than using the chair’s primary electric motor, which was to remain completely disconnected. While the Board has declined further comment until a final report is released later this year, Granby Ranch officials have since confirmed that they hired an as-yet-unidentified contractor not affiliated with the lift’s manufacturer Leitner-Poma to modify the lift’s electrical drive this past summer. Resort officials maintain that “the issue that likely caused the incident was the independent contractor’s modification to the lift’s electrical drive/control system.”

“In the interest of safety, Granby Ranch has retained the original manufacturer of the lift to return the Quickdraw Express Lift to safe operating condition under electrical power,” the resort said in a statement Friday. “The electric drive will be installed and tested under exacting conditions and will not be operational until inspected, licensed and authorized to operate by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board.”

Granby Ranch’s Quick Draw Express is expected to remain closed for testing at least through today.

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