New management could take on Granby Ranch operations by October

A management group has been tentatively awarded a contract to take on the operations at Granby Ranch no later than October.

At a special meeting of the Headwaters Metropolitan District on Wednesday, the board voted to award a management contract to an affiliate group of the resort’s lender, Granby Prentice. The arrangement, with two board members voting in favor and one abstaining, is subject to a mutually agreeable contract and timeline for the smooth transition of management.

Granby Prentice’s affiliate appointed the Ridgeline Executive Group as its agent to carry out the management of the resort. Ridgeline is the being led by the father-son duo of Andy and Jace Wirth, who come with a combined 40 years of experience in the ski industry.

Last week, Headwaters held a workshop to talk over Ridgeline’s managment proposal. The metro district board said at this week’s meeting that the board was able to confirm Ridgeline is a qualified entity that’s able to take on the resort’s operations.

Earlier this week, current management of ski and golf operations, Granby Ranch Amenities, submitted a 180 day termination notice to the metro district as required by the management contract.

While that means transitioning could be delayed until Oct. 5, Granby Ranch Amenities also indicated a willingness to terminate its management sooner if arrangements can be made.

“We would contemplate early termination, but to do that… the district must have a contract with somebody else to step in,” said Marise Cipriani, owner of Granby Ranch Amenities.

The Headwaters board also created a committee to participate in the transition discussions between Granby Ranch Amenities and Ridgeline. The one person committee is made up of the newest member to the board, Christopher Harff.

Exact dates still need to be discussed, though the transition would occur by Oct. 5 at the latest.

With more than 100 participants in the digital meeting, multiple homeowners expressed their enthusiasm for the new management group and requested the timeline be accelerated if possible.

“We all agree with that, but there’s a process here,” President Lance Badger said of shortening the timeline.

Andy Wirth indicated it would be possible for Ridgeline to take on management sooner if needed, but the exact date is dependent on conversations with Granby Ranch Amenities. Badger emphasized the importance of achieving a smooth and successful transition.

Some homeowners in Granby Ranch expressed concerns that the current management of Granby Ranch was continuing to be involved in the process. Andy Wirth explained that the work with Granby Ranch Amenities would be through a transitional service agreement, as a way to bridge current and future operations.

“It is nothing more than a fixed period of time under which the entities agree to do certain things to enable a smooth transition,” Andy Wirth said. “That (transitional service agreement) is common and it’s also only there to serve everybody’s interest… including homeowners and people of the community.”

Another concern was whether the resort would miss the summer season with this arrangement.

Even if the transition were not to occur until the fall and current pandemic restrictions were removed, Granby Ranch Amenities would still be obligated to continue summer operations at the resort.

“If that transition happens sooner, we would attack the summer and golf course operations,” Jace Wirth added. “That’s subject to a few other things, though.”

On March 24, Granby Prentice also filed a non-judicial foreclosure against Granby Realty Holdings, the real estate side of Granby Ranch, and related entities for $47.6 million outstanding. The sale date is scheduled for July 17.

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