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Where do I begin?

After thirty-seven years, I’m retiring from our group of magazines. It’s been an almost four-decade adventure that I couldn’t even have imagined when I first came to Vail. That was back in 1968, when the streets were muddy, Avon didn’t exist (except for a bridge and a ranch), Beaver Creek was a dream, and Edwards was the Gashouse. And Eagle, the county seat, seemed so far away it could have been in Utah.

I moved to Vail for what I thought was just a month in May 1972 to write my master’s thesis in a quiet place—and in May ’72, Vail was a very quiet place. The “off season” was truly off, like someone had flipped a switch and turned the town off. But then summer came, and I thought, “Wow! This is beautiful,” and I decided to stay a few more months. Then winter came, and the rest is history.

Looking back, I feel so fortunate to have arrived in Vail when it was a just fledgling town beginning to build a community infrastructure. I mean, how often do people get to help build a town practically from scratch? The Vail Master Plan was developed through, among others, the then newly formed Vail Symposium (still going strong), and cultural injections came from grassroots organizations such as the Vail Institute (a precursor to the hugely successful Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Vail International Dance Festival).

On top of that, we then had Beaver Creek to build from the ground up. I had the privilege of producing its opening-day program book in December 1980.

But more important by far are the fantastic people I have interviewed and worked with along the way. So many were so extraordinarily visionary, which explains the great success that the Vail Valley enjoys today.

My heartfelt thanks go to all of the magazines’ staff and contributors—writers, photographers, art directors, and the incredibly hard-working sales reps, among others, who over the years have made us what we are.

Then there are our astonishingly dedicated publishers through the years, who have provided me with such an enviable platform from which to explore in-depth the amazing community we have.

And finally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to you, the readers, without whose support our magazines could not have existed.

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

The Good Word

Contributors say farewell to a retiring editor

Don was a thinking editor, someone always with a number of good ideas, some that I couldn’t buy into but we always shared a mutual respect and never had a boring editorial planning session. He has a deep devotion to Vail and a background that identifies with the small-but-cosmopolitan nature of the town, both of which fuel an understanding of Vail and the valley that’s inspired its stories and it success over the years. Skol, Don! -Ernie Ashley Goodnough, friend and former publisher

Don was a keen observer of and writer about early Vail’s most colorful residents, perhaps because he was one of them. He enjoyed late nights at the old Hong Kong Café, yet always was up before dawn to work on the magazine. His quirky sense of humor was “bah, humbug,” yet he was empathetic and generous when it came to his articles, his writers, and his friendships. Cheers, Don, and here’s to many more successes! -Maro Lorimer, former managing editor (1970s and 1980s) and writer

As a local freelancer blessed to have Don as my editor, I’ve come to appreciate his affable character, considerable patience and understanding, generosity with his own ideas, and open-mindedness for those of others. Above all, I truly will miss his passion for fun, in-depth, adventurous feature stories, his light-handed editing style, and, ultimately, his knack for inspiring me to do what I consider some of the best work of my career. Here’s to you, Don. You’re a class act. -Stephen Lloyd Wood, longtime contributing writer

In the early ’80s when I started writing for Vail Magazine, I came to love Don’s colorful comments about a story he was assigning. His quirky “asides” gave insight into how to make it a rounded story. He once told me, “Interviews go very well for me. With my stutter, subjects do all of the talking because they don’t want to listen to me!” Without exception, Don Berger—a fair and helpful editor. -Rosalie Hill Isom, longtime contributing writer and former associate editor (1990s)

Communities are defined by their stories, which tell the history, culture, evolution of a people and their place. Don Berger has been Vail’s storyteller for decades, weaving information, comedy, adventure, mythology, inspiration, history, anecdote, and gossip into a beautiful tapestry that reveals the story of a ranching valley growing up into a world-renowned destination. Thank you, Don, for delivering our story to us, and for telling it to the world. You will be missed! -Susie Kincade, longtime contributing writer

Don’s been at the helm here for 30–35 years or so, but who’s counting? Moving to Vail in the mid-’90s, I saw his byline everywhere, not just in Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine. We first met when I was poaching one of Don’s clients, but he walked up, introduced himself, and asked if I’d write for the magazine. Over the years, we’ve had lots of laughs, and he’s given me lots of wonderful assignments. It’s hard to say goodbye to such a talented writer, editor, and all-around great guy. Good luck Don, good writing, and thanks for the memories. -Joy Overbeck, longtime contributing writer

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