Resort claims fatal accident caused by modifications made by contractor
January 23, 2017
The Quickdraw Express chairlift at Granby Ranch is still standing motionless this week after operation of the lift was halted last week.
According to statements provided Lee Rasizer, a spokesman for the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board (CPTSB),
"The Quick Draw Express Lift at Ski Granby Ranch was closed Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 due to unusual/irregular conditions in the performance of the diesel prime mover system."
On Friday, Jan. 20 the CPTSB held an emergency meeting.
"It was the decision of the Board that the lift remain closed until deemed safe for public operation as set forth in a Non-Disciplinary Operation Agreement originally signed by the Board and ski area on Jan. 9," Rasizer stated.
That same day Melissa Cipriani, CEO of Granby Ranch, issued a press release of her own. That press release, titled "Quick Draw Express Lift Temporarily Shut Down For Test", states,
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"Following a directive from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board the Quick Draw Express lift has been temporarily shut down for additional testing." The release goes on to state, "The current tests are being done out of an abundance of caution to assure the continued safe operation of the lift."
The release from Cipriani featured startling revelations.
"The lift had been operating safely at Granby Ranch since its installation 16 years ago, and up until an independent contractor made modifications to the lift's electrical drive/control system before the start of the current season."
Cipriani's statement goes on to claim, "Preliminary investigation has revealed that the issue that likely caused the incident was the independent contractor's modification of the lift's electrical drive/control system." That claim could not be independently verified.
Cipriani would not provide the Sky-Hi News with documentation verifying her claim and said the written statements released were the extent of the Resort's official comments. Additionally Rasizer did not verify her assertion.
According to Rasizer, "The CPTSB is continuing its formal investigation into the incident at Ski Granby Ranch on Dec. 29, 2016. A final report will be released upon the conclusion of the investigation, which will likely take several months to complete. The CPTSB cannot comment on a likely cause of the accident during an open investigation."
Cipriani's statement provides a brief timeline of the Quickdraw's testing and certifications for the 2016-2017 ski season.
"The lift was load-tested on December 5, 2016, by the Tramway Board. The lift was licensed for operation on December 9, 2016, and was put in operation on December 16, 2016. The incident occurred 13 days later."
Granby Ranch officials say they have retained the lift's original manufacturer to install a new electrical drive/control system for the Quickdraw.
"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 Tramway Board," stated Cipriani.
The Quickdraw has been operating on diesel auxiliary power since the lift was restarted on Jan. 10. According to the text of the Non-Disciplinary Operation Agreement, "Engineers were able to identify issues within the electrical drive/control system that contributed to a rare dynamic event that occurred on the lift at the time of the incident."