Ski Public Relations
You can look and act how you like and still succeed as a writer. But to survive in public relations you have to be a corporate team player. An amazing number of people stumble into ski writing with absolutely no background in journalism. And some of them do astonishingly well because they have a genius for marketing their stories.
But these days, to get a jump on the pack in public relations you need specialized training in journalism or public relations.
Take for example the story of Ross Palmer, formerly a member of a six-person public relations office working for Vail Associates. Palmer didn’t just accidentally fall into ski public relations. He planned for it carefully.
Palmer earned a college degree in journalism and has worked as a news reporter and sports editor. If nothing else, a public relations person needs experience in journalism, because that’s your primary audience and you must understand how that industry operates.
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Because Palmer knew he eventually wanted to work in the ski industry, he taught skiing on weekends to learn the business from the inside. If you can’t do something like instruct, Palmer says any ski resort job – even if it’s in housekeeping or running lifts – will help you better understand the industry and give you an advantage. And if you can’t get a job with a ski resort, get a job with any kind of resort. It’s all valuable experience the next applicant might not have.
Palmer points out that working in ski PR means dealing with more than just the ski side of the industry.
“We are more than just a ski business. We run restaurants, so I’m dealing with food writers. We’re in real estate, so I’m dealing with real estate writers.”
A typical day for Palmer entailed answering a lot of phone calls, providing a lot of basic information about the resort, dealing with community relations, planning events, setting up media familiarization trips and writing press releases.
And on his days off, Palmer skis.