Vail Trail to publish last issue
Aspen, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colo. ” The weekly Vail Trail will cease publication with Friday’s issue after a 43-year run.
The Trail, founded by George “Skipper” Knox in 1965, was Vail’s original newspaper. It rose with the new ski community’s boom times until a startup, the Vail Daily, began in 1981.
The two papers competed ” often fiercely ” for the next couple of decades until the Daily’s parent company, Swift Communications, purchased the Trail in February 2004.
“Their news effort lived up to their slogan, ‘Vail’s Greatest,’ and I remember a very challenging competitor when I arrived in 1999,” Vail Editor Don Rogers recalled.
The newspaper dropped back to a weekly from a several-year run as the Daily Trail during the last local recession in 2001-02.
The quest to reinvigorate the Trail as a stand-alone publication is coming to end as another downturn sweeps into the Vail Valley.
Rogers said that Swift worked hard to try to bring the Trail back to where it had been in its heyday, first with an independent staff aiming for a younger readership and later with the Vail Daily’s staff as a more in-depth “Newsweek for the Vail Valley” approach. In the end, neither way succeeded enough to weather today’s economic cycle.
“The news staff did an excellent job putting out a consistently well-written, well-designed weekly,” Rogers said. “But the truth is that the dominance of the Vail Daily in the end proved to be too much. We plan to bring the best of the Trail’s features into the Daily and have the best of both papers now.”
Rogers said the move is difficult but necessary under the current economic conditions that the greater Vail community is feeling.
“These times are forcing difficult, painful decisions on many companies,” Rogers said. “We know that we’re hardly alone.”
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A recent survey of Aspen residents shows that people are happy here, feel safe but are financially insecure.