UPDATE: After brief seizure over unpaid taxes, authorities return Granby Ranch ski resort to its owners
Granby’s beleaguered ski resort, Granby Ranch, was in turmoil Tuesday morning as local law enforcement officials moved into the area and seized the resort property for failure to pay more than $100,000 in delinquent local taxes.
Just before 9 a.m. Tuesday, Grand County Sheriff’s Office deputies seized property at the resort, including the Granby Ranch base lodge, the Base Camp 1 building and the resort’s golf course. Deputies closed off several buildings and escorted resort employees off the premises before chaining the doors closed. A locksmith was also called to change locks on several buildings.
Dustin Lombard, Granby Ranch’s chief financial officer, arrived at the scene at about 10:30 a.m. and presented Grand County Treasurer Christina Whitmer with a check for $104,200.86, covering unpaid personal property taxes for Granby Realty Holdings LLC and Granby Amenities LLC.
The property was then immediately released back to Granby Ranch’s senior officials.
Lombard was seen removing signs from the front doors to the ski hill’s base lodge just before 11 a.m.
The unpaid taxes pertained to all personal property owned by the two entities, according to Whitmer, including property contained within the ski area’s base lodge, golf course, a gravel pit in the area and additional outbuildings.
Whitmer confirmed that Granby Ranch has paid the full balance of its unpaid tax liability. She added, however, that the resort has not paid its “real” property taxes — taxes on immovable properties and lands — to the county for the past two years. That debt remains outstanding.
Granby Ranch CEO Melissa Cipriani called the incident a “misunderstanding that has been taken care of” in a phone interview Tuesday morning with Sky-Hi News, but she did not elaborate. She added that the resort was now back to “business as usual.”
Cipriani would not comment as to why the resort waited until after county officials seized the property before fulfilling its tax obligation, simply saying that the county “has been paid and the process has been reversed.”
Ski Granby Ranch, the name of the resort’s ski area, made international headlines in December after a Texas woman fell to her death from its Quickdraw Express ski lift. The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board subsequently launched an investigation into the incident, finding earlier this summer that there had been a mechanical error with the chairlift that ultimately resulted in the woman’s fall.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.