I'd like to respond to Bob Berwyn's account of what transpired in regards to his column on Vail Resorts (see "Snow job," Jan. 7, 2010). First rule of journalism: Get all of the facts and verify those facts. Since Bob was at the center of this situation, I think perhaps it's difficult for him to be objective about everything.
Vail Resorts in no way threatened or asked for Bob Berwyn to be dismissed. We simply expressed disappointment when very serious allegations about us were made and we had not been contacted beforehand for comment. Since CEO Rob Katz and all of us have worked with Bob many times and thought we had a relationship whereby we could call one another when there was an issue, we thought there was nothing wrong to call him and Summit Daily News publisher Jim Morgan to express our disappointment. Bob knows full well that happens every day at every newspaper across the country. We expect the media to hold us accountable, and they do, but that also means that anyone should be able to hold the media accountable, especially when balance and fairness are at issue. We work with journalists every day across Colorado, the country and the globe. There have been many stories written or broadcasted about us that we may not have liked or agreed with, but never have we threatened someone's position because of our disappointment.
Second, we do not exaggerate snowfall totals. We adhere to the guidelines of measuring and reporting snowfall totals that Colorado Ski Country put together for all of the resorts and we are completely transparent with our reporting—after all, our web cams do not lie. We are unaware of any credible allegations of us misrepresenting snowfall. Furthermore, our guests and employees share real-time, accurate information about snow conditions through social media. Several of our employees did tweet from their personal accounts (which are completely transparent in their profiles about where they live) that our corporate offices were closing early during the big mid-October storm which shut down most of the Front Range for two days—when our ski resorts were not open for the winter. We, like many others in Colorado, enjoy celebrating snow. There's absolutely nothing inappropriate or disingenuous about that.
Third, our company advertises in numerous local, national and international publications and websites that often say things we don't like, but that in no way affects our advertising policy with them. What is of serious concern to us is not being treated fairly by misrepresenting facts (and not inclined to correct mistakes) or, even worse, not contacting us at all for comment on stories about us—and especially when this becomes a regular pattern of behavior over time, as was the case with Bob's reporting on stories about us. We hold the media accountable in the same way that we expect to be held accountable.
I have worked with Bob for a long time in my public relations capacity here at Vail Resorts and can name numerous instances, particularly in the past two years, where it seemed unimportant for him to contact us for comment on a story involving one of our resorts or company, in the interest of fairness and balance in reporting. I would encourage readers to consider the facts of this story, not just one person's account.
VP Corporate Communications