Chicken-suited demonstrator protesting Vail Resorts cited for trespassing in Vail

John LaConte
Vail Daily

VAIL — A local demonstrator who has been using a bright yellow chicken suit to attract eyes to his protest signs has been issued a ticket for trespassing on Vail Resorts property.

Vail Police Department spokesperson Ryan Kenney said protestor Tim McMahon, of Avon, is allowed to demonstrate on Town of Vail property, but as soon as he crossed onto Vail Resorts property, the Vail Police Department was notified by the resort company.

“Mr. McMahon received a letter from Vail Resorts detailing that he was not allowed on their property,” Kenney said in an email. “We (Vail PD) met with Mr. McMahon previous to him receiving a summons and explained that he can carry his sign anywhere on Town of Vail property but he can’t trespass on Vail Resorts property. We explained exactly where the property lines were and how he can avoid them.”

McMahon was told to remain on the pavers during that initial interaction with police, on Dec. 5, in which he held a sign that said, “Vail Resorts, informing J1s by email that there is ample housing in the valley should be criminal.”

The Dec. 5 interaction was captured on police video; in it McMahon can be heard expressing a desire to avoid a trespassing ticket, and an officer can be heard saying “if you’re on the pavers, you should be fine.”

A few days later, however, McMahon left the pavers area, Kenney said, according to a witness statement.

“In the interview with the witness, he tells the officer that Mr. McMahon was on the elevated platform in back of Los Amigos,” Kenney said. “That elevated platform is adjacent to the top of the stairs, which would be off the pavers. It’s clearly on VR property and, more importantly, exceeds what Officer Clausen told (McMahon).”

McMahon, during his Dec. 5 interaction with the Vail Police Department, willingly gave officers his phone number after being asked for his name and contact information.

On Saturday, Dec. 10, Vail Resorts called the Vail Police Department and reported McMahon was on their property, away from the pavers, Kenney said. After viewing the video and taking a witness statement, an officer from the Vail Police Department contacted McMahon on his cell phone and explained that they had a summons for him.

“The conversation with Mr. McMahon about the summons was very casual,” Kenney said. “After explaining his need to serve the summons, Officer Bloom simply asked him if he could meet. Mr. McMahon said he was going to work and could meet him there … Vail Resorts had nothing to do with where the summons was issued.”

The total time of McMahon’s second interaction with police, which occurred at McMahon’s workplace, was less than two minutes, Kenney said.

McMahon said he never crossed any fences or saw any no trespassing signs in the area.

Kenney said while the issue is far from a major crime, the Vail Police Department sees it as a “tightrope” between Mr. McMahon’s right to protest and VR’s property rights.

“Mr. McMahon has always been cooperative and respectful,” Kenney said. “He can hold his sign anywhere on Town of Vail property. He just needs to stay clear of VR’s property.”

On the day he was cited for trespassing, McMahon’s sign said “Vail Resorts: A property management company, disguised as a ‘ski company,’ failing at employee housing.”

This story is from

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.