From May until October each year, Jen Brown, the public relations manager for Vail Resorts, takes between five and six trips for work. This week she’s in Atlanta, which she says is hot and humid right now, and has her craving the mountains. Brown, along with the whole VR PR team is in “Hotlanta” for the week doing media visits and events, pitching story ideas to journalists and making plans to bring them out to cover Vail this season. Reached by cell phone Monday, Brown said she had been with CNN staff that morning and had spoken with staff from a magazine just north of the city later that day.
Brown will be back in her beloved mountains in a few days, in time to prepare for another upcoming trip to Texas. When the snow starts to fly though, life will settle down a bit for Jen.
Caramie Schnell: Tell me a little bit about your background, where you grew up, where you went to school, how you came to Vail?
Jen Brown: I grew up in New England where my family spent weekends skiing at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire. We were involved with the ski racing program at Waterville, which led to high school at Stratton Mountain School in Vermont where I focused full time on pursuing ski racing. I spent a few years on the US Ski Team and then landed at CU Boulder and ski raced through college.
I graduated with a (bachelor’s of science degree) in advertising through the J-School. I chose Boulder for a number of reasons: I was ski racing, I fell in the love with the facilities, the resources and I knew I wanted to be in the journalism school and I was also racing for the college. I was recruited by them.
CS: Are you married? Do you have children?
JB: I have a rock-star husband, Mike, but no children yet.
CS: How did you meet your husband?
JB: I reconnected with my now-husband while in Boulder after meeting him on the U.S. Ski Team. I literally ran into him at a ski race in Crested Butte and hadn’t seen him in about six years. I’d known him since I was 14. He was on the men’s downhill team and I was just starting to train for women’s ski team and we would train together.
I used to have a Scott goggle poster on my wall when I was a kid and he was on the poster, it was alongside my Jon Bon Jovi poster. It’s too bad, but I don’t have it anymore.
(Mike) is a long-time local and after college we married and I joined him in Vail. He was coach of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, and also a NASTAR pace setter in those years. He transitioned from coaching to running a stone masonry company in the valley.
After retiring from racing I worked at the Vail Valley Chamber of Commerce as the executive director. In 2002 I was hired as the PR manager for Vail Mountain and I’m happily still here.
CS: How do you see this community?
JB: This community is filled with highly skilled, motivated and giving individuals who share a common affinity for where we live. There is a tremendous appreciation and pride for our surroundings and people enjoy everything it offers. I’ve felt a definite sense of community and have seen few places where people chip in and help others the way this community does.
CS: And what’s your role in it?
JB: I’m in the unique position of being able to tell the world about all of the wonderful attributes we offer as a ski resort and a community.
CS: Tell me a little bit about your job – what you like about it?
JB: I get to meet journalists from all corners of the globe and tell them about our mountain, events and community among other things. My job is to tell the story about what an incredible place Vail is to come and visit. And, we have an amazing team at the mountain and in our corporate offices who share the same passion.
CS: How do you feel about the growth?
JB: I think when you look around not only at our community, but Colorado and the nation as a whole, growth seems to be inevitable. I believe in allowing others the opportunity to live and work where we all do. We’re lucky enough to be here. We need to be responsible as a community, a state, a country in managing that growth. If you ask me how we need to do that, I don’t know.
CS: What are you passionate about and why?
JB: I enjoy all of the diversity our mountain environment offers including skiing, snowmobiling, biking, hiking, dirt biking and exploring. The mountains offer me a sense of freedom and adventure.
CS: Do you think you’ll stay in the mountains?
JB: I’m a mountain girl at heart. I love big mountains, I love the dramatic landscape, I’ve always loved arriving in new destinations and seeing snow capped peaks. This is my home; I’ve lived in Vail longer than I’ve lived anywhere else.
My parents moved outside of Boulder and my brother is also in Colorado as well. It’s great – my brother followed me to school and my parents followed as well. Mike and I are very lucky, his family is obviously in Vail and mine are just two hours away. VT
Caramie Schnell can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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