Mountain folk long have chided ski companies for overestimating accumulations and hyping snowfall.
Take, for example, the October storm on the Front Range when Vail
Resorts eagerly announced that it shut down its headquarters because
the heavy snow was so terrific. What the company didn’t mention is that
its offices are in low country in Broomfield, 75 miles from its closest
slopes, where it was warm and sunny that day.
“I sometimes wonder whether the ski industry wouldn’t benefit more
from being completely transparent about weather and snowfall with its
customers,” wrote veteran mountain reporter Bob Berwyn in a Nov. 19
column in the Summit Daily News. “But when snow = money, perhaps that’s expecting too much.”
The controversy since has snowballed.
As Berwyn tells it, Vail Resorts chief executive Rob Katz phoned
immediately to complain. As a major advertiser, the company went on to
cancel ads for its resorts at Keystone and Breckenridge, at least
temporarily. Berwyn says publisher Jim Morgan told him he had “a lot of
groveling to do.”
Berwyn — who’s no groveler — stood by his column, even though he says his bosses told him his job was at risk.
“I’m a skier. I love snow,” he says. “I think people should tell the truth about snowfall.”
Within two weeks, Morgan had fired him after 12 years intermittently with the paper.