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Investigation reveals Vail resorts lied about longest season claims

John LeConte of Vail Daily told a mind-boggling story yesterday… all the hype last season from Vail Mountain management about it being the longest season ever turned out to be false.

Many publications across the country (including this one) are now embarrassed by the fact that they were lied to by Vail Mountain.

All of this was revealed in an investigation by John LaConte, who tapped into the paper’s archives to show that last season was in fact far from the longest season in Vail’s history. It was actually the third longest season in history. “Vail’s longest continuous season was during the 1997-98 season when the mountain opened on November 7, 1997 and remained open until May 3, 1998, for a total of 178 consecutive days.”

We spoke to LaConte and he told us that his newspaper was among those embarrassed by the mistake, publishing not one but two front-page articles touting the false claim that last year’s 171-day season was the longest. Today the newspaper published a correction on its front page.

“The ad came straight from Vail COO Beth Howard and it came out last March when guests criticized Vail Mountain for poor performance, they didn’t have some lifts open despite enough snow, and it was probably seems like a way to smooth things over a bit with a big historical announcement. We took her word for it, but it turned out to be complete nonsense. I asked their PR man many times to share my recordings, but they never did, so I started digging into it. I’m convinced they don’t even have those records.” -John LaConte

In another exposé, it is revealed that Howard and Vail Mountain advertised this season’s November 11 opening as the earliest ever, another false claim that has unfortunately also been circulated on unofficial networks.

But this was far from the case. Vail Mountain’s earliest discovery occurred on November 1, 1991, and “openings in early November have continued to follow in subsequent years. In fact, from 1989 to 1998 November 11 was tied to the last opening.”

I just want to be clear and apologize for any false information that we have spread. Thanks to LaConte for reporting on the hacks and The Vail Daily for setting the record.

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