Notorious Vail skier pic still causing problems
Ryan Summerlin January 7, 2009
VAIL, Colorado ” Marty Odom’s now infamous photograph of an exposed skier in Blue Sky Basin in Vail, Colorado has made him more popular than he bargained for, and all the attention isn’t paying off, he said.
Odom, a photographer for Sharpshooters on Vail Mountain, caught a photo of a skier who fell through the chair while trying to upload Sky Line Express on New Year’s Day. The skier was left dangling by his pants, hit buttocks completely exposed.
Odom, who wasn’t working at the time, snapped a photo of the incident with his own camera, which then got published in the Vail Daily. Other photos of the accident also made their way onto various Web sites.
News of the incident has gone across the world, and Odom said he’s received 75 to 100 calls from media across the world wanting to hear about the incident and buy rights to his photograph.
“I had 18 missed calls on my phone when I woke up this morning,” Odom said. “I’ve gotten calls from Korea, Norway, Finland, the Today Show, Extra, Fox, ABC and everything in between.”
But the response hasn’t been all positive. He’s gotten his fair share of hate mail, too.
And while various photography services have wanted to buy the photo from Odom, he said he is not allowed to sell the photo because his contract with Sharpshooters contains a “no-compete” clause.
Odom was suspended from work until further notice the day after the photo was taken.
He offered to buy the photos from the company, but Sharpshooters told him that they were going to announce they owned the photo and that it would not be released.
Odom, who is now unsure of his job, said he had hoped the photo would bring in some income.
“There are a lot of people offering money for it, thousands of dollars worth,” he said. “But I can’t make any money off it, and I don’t have a job.”
While the town is still abuzz about the photo, Odom said he’s just worried about whether he’ll be able to stay in the valley.
“I feel like now I’m on a blacklist with Vail Resorts and I won’t be able to get a job anywhere now,” he said. “That sucks, because I’ve been here for a few years. This is my home mountain.”
Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.