10 months after fatality, Granby Ranch chairlift drive to be replaced

Granby Ranch's Quickdraw Express chairlift sits dormant last winter after the lift was closed following the death of Kelly Huber. Officials from Granby Ranch have confirmed plans to replace the lift's drive later this year, before the start of the winter season.
Lance Maggart / Sky-Hi News |

Nearly 10 months after a fatal fall at Ski Granby Ranch, officials from the ranch have confirmed plans to replace the lift’s drive system, which state investigators pointed to as the cause of the incident that killed Texas woman Kelly Huber.

In an email to a Granby Ranch homeowner, Granby Ranch CEO Melissa Cipriani stated that the resort will be conducting maintenance work on the Quickdraw Express, the lift Huber was riding just before falling to her death, sometime later this year prior to the start of the winter ski season.

In her email, Cipriani explicitly stated the work will include replacement of the drive.

Cipriani declined to answer follow-up questions related to the work or to provide additional comment.

Concerns about Granby Ranch’s Quickdraw Express chairlift, servicing the resort’s east mountain and the beginner to intermediate ski terrain offered at the resort, have been at the forefront of discussions about the resort since Huber’s tragic death in late December 2016. The Quickdraw Express was shut down for nearly three weeks after Huber’s death but lift operations resumed on Jan. 10, were ceased again on Jan. 18 and resumed for the remainder of the ski season on Jan. 25.

After the fatal fall, the Quickdraw Express was operated using the lift’s diesel prime mover rather than the electrical drive/control system that was being utilized at the time of Huber’s fall.

An investigation conducted by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board identified “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,” according to an official report from the safety board.

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