Daily, Trail trade columnists | VailDaily.com

Daily, Trail trade columnists

Randy WyrickVail, CO Colorado
The Vail Trail is shifting focus and aiming for a local version of Newsweek for high end readers.

When Vail Trail columnists started migrating to the Vail Daily this week, as they were moving they were asked, “Do you intend to change anything?””Just my socks,” said Barry Smith, who writes the Trail’s “Irrelativity” column, a humorous look at life in the mountains. “I’m hoping the dailiness will help me be more regular.”The Trail is changing and many of the features and columnists just don’t quite bullseye the new target market, so they’re moving to the Vail Daily’s Arts and Entertainment section.

Smith is moving to the Vail Daily, along with Rachel Friede, who does the “Flashed” column that features pictures of people enjoying themselves in Vail Valley nightclubs, bars and other establishments.Coming to the Trail is Carolyn Pope and her High Altitude Society column.The moves are all part of a plan to shift the Trail’s focus, aiming at a higher-end readership and away from an attempt the last few years to create an alternative weekly newspaper aimed at a younger audience.Members of that audience are already loyal readers of the Daily’s A&E section, so the moves seemed like a natural fit, said Vail Daily Managing Editor Don Rogers.

Barry Smith’s “Irrelativity” column, a humorous look at High Country life.Rachel Friede’s “Flashed” column, capturing life in the Vail Valley clubs and events.Society column moves to Trail; Barry Smith, Rachel Friede shift to Vail Daily

Rogers says the Trail is being repositioned to shift its content and focus to the voice it held during its days as Vail’s dominant media outlet. He said his vision is a weekly news magazine that’s a regional version of Newsweek, Time and to a degree Sports Illustrated.

“It’s that sort of witty, insightful and intelligent writing we’re after,” Rogers said. “We’ve begun the shift already, with more changes to come in the near future. Longtime local writer and Vail Daily staffer Randy Wyrick has been moved over to the Trail as the managing editor. He brings his distinctive voice and humor to the Trail.The shift will mark the return of Peter Leslie as a Trail columnist, where he will write about international affairs. Leslie is a former top official with the United Nations. His stint in the U.N. follows decades of working all around the world with major international energy companies. A native of Great Britain, Leslie grew up in India.Longtime Trail readers will recognize Allen Best’s byline, which will become more frequent as the paper’s changes continue. Best was the Trail’s editor during the paper’s height and will write features and commentary. He has already become a regular, contributing a column two weeks ago about illegal immigration, along with this week’s cover story on energy guru Amory Lovins.”A 40-year tradition in a community that’s 45 years old is a tradition worth honoring and preserving,” said Vail Daily Publisher Steve Gall, who also serves as publisher of the Trail. “We’re looking forward to the Trail’s new direction and we’re confident readers will enjoy it, too.”

The Trail has been around Vail almost since there was a Vail. George Knox, “The Skipper,” launched the weekly paper in 1965. His son, Allen, took over after The Skipper died and ran it during its heyday through the 1970s and 80s, and into the 1990s. The paper was a chronicle of life in a growing resort community, and the Trail grew right along with it.Like all publications, the Trail shifted editorial direction in keeping with the people who were writing it. Sometimes it leaned politically left, sometimes right, but through most of its four decades the paper played it right down the middle.What that audience enjoyed most, though, was vivid writing coupled with strong photography as it captured the names and faces of a growing Vail Valley community.”We believe readers will gravitate to publications that offer smart coverage of subjects that matter to them,” Rogers said. “Giving readers what they need and want is the key to success for any publication, and it will be the key to the Vail Trail of the future.”

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