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RealVail.com is an online-only news, political, environmental, business, opinion and outdoor lifestyle site that offers an independent view of the events and people shaping the Vail area, the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. The site was launched in 2007 by veteran Vail-based journalist David O. Williams, whose credentials are listed below, and relaunched in 2013 alongside sister site RockyMountainPost.com.
Over the course of two decades, Williams has become a leading statewide voice on a wide variety of issues, including the Olympics, the environment, energy production, immigration, health care, infrastructure and public lands. As an independent journalist, Williams relies on the ever-shrinking freelance budgets of newspapers, magazines and websites around the state and nation, as well as sponsorship contributions from individuals and organizations that value his ongoing commitment to journalism in Colorado.
To learn more about how you can support RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com, either by advertising or direct funding, please email Williams: davido(at)realvail.com.
David O. Williams
Williams has been a freelance reporter based in the Eagle River Valley (Vail area) of Colorado since 1991, give or take a couple of years. At the Vail Daily in 1994, Williams landed the first interview with former President Gerald R. Ford after the death of former President Richard M. Nixon, whom Ford pardoned after Watergate. As editor of the Vail Trail in 1997, Williams won a Colorado Press Award for a story on a Vail man who died in Thai police custody, changing U.S. State Department policy.
During the Kobe Bryant case in 2003, Williams explored race and privilege in Eagle County for the LA Weekly in “Cirque du Kobe”. For The New York Times in 2012, Williams was in Aspen for Lance Armstrong’s first comments after admitting to doping. Williams got a tagline on a 2014 front-page Times’ story on political lobbying with Pulitzer-winner Eric Lipton, plus a photo credit for his shot of then congressman and later CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vail.
In 2019, Williams won a Society of Professional Journalists award for Best Marijuana Enterprise Reporting for a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette on the environmental impacts of illegal pot grows on public lands. In 2020, his Paradise Paradox story on mental health in mountain towns was part of a Gazette series that was a finalist for the National Institute for Health Care Management award for mental health care reporting. The same year, his coverage of water-quality issues at a local mobile home park earned the Colorado Press Association best public service, series and investigative reporting awards.
Williams has interviewed two former presidents, four Colorado governors, covered three Winter Olympics, heli-skied in four states, skied in six countries and clicks into skis around 100 times a ski season. He lives in EagleVail with his wife Kristin, his three boys (off and on), and his dogs, Monty and Chuck.
Williams runs RealVail.com and has had his work published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.