Viral photos turn into more than 15 minutes of fame

Vail, COVail, CO...Update...Odom was on the clock. When an unidentified 48-year-old man slipped through an open quad seat and accidentally went into full moon phase, a lot of things began to happen.  (Our columnist covered the story).

No one was injured. The skier remains unidentified, the photos ran across the web, then made The Today Show and USA Today. Other than the expected minor legal meetings and a kind-spirited settlement, the 15 minutes might have ended at exactly 15 minutes.

Sharpshooter's Marty Odom first reported he was off duty at the time, and that he used his own camera to take the picture. There was an uproar on the web when Odom was suspended by Sharpshooters, including quotes that he had felt blacklisted from his home hill.

It is now being reported by Sharpshooter's David Peri that Odom was in fact on the company clock when he took photos and then distributed them on the web and to The Vail Daily. This is in direct conflict with his contract, and he had also checked out a company camera that day. 

Our original story...

The first headlines were great....

  • Lift Accident in Vail Redefines “Ski Bum”
  • Skier Suffers Exposure
  • Skier Gets the Bum Rush
  • Vail Skier Exposes His Pole

But the next round of headlines might not be so great. (Note: there is no evidence that VRI placed pressure on Sharpshooters to suspend Odom.)

  • Notorious Vail skier pic still causing problems
  • Photographer Suspended Over Dangling Skier Photo

And the one that VRI might want to read....

  • Hero Photographer Canned By Fussy Ski Resort

As of press time, neither VRI nor Sharpshooters had issued a statement. And after a month of challenging news, reporters have begun to wonder what the VRI communications strategy might be this season.

The layoffs prior to Birds of Prey squashed coverage of the FIS event, then came another internet buzz as Over the Hill Gang programs were canceled, and now speculation has begun that the resort pressured Sharpshooters to fire Odom.

In an entertaining sport enjoyed by pretty cool people - and the subject of this lift incident certainly might fall into that category - there must be a high road to take. It was an amusing event that garnered national press, and it could have been handled that way. The next question might be, how long does VRI and Sharpshooters want to let this keep being a story?

Yesterday, Odom told the Vail Daily he has been made to feel "like now I’m on a blacklist with Vail Resorts and I won’t be able to get a job anywhere...that sucks, because I’ve been here for a few years. This is my home mountain.”