How Ski Resorts Are Fighting The Employee Shortage Crisis

Dan Scheibelein | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsBrainsBrains

Brighton, Utah Snow Cat Maintenance

Ski resorts are finding it harder and harder to find employees with the unemployment rate at an all-time 50 year low. With more and more jobs coming on the market with better wages, benefits and, stability the vintage ski bum life is becoming harder to live. Thankfully, resorts big and small are putting in the effort to keep the interest of working at these magical places alive.

Tamarack Resort, Idaho Employee 

The monetary incentives and perks are by far the most enticing for people that have to travel and move to start to work for the resorts. New Hampshire’s Wildcat resort is currently offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus for snowmakers. Year-end bonuses, equipment vouchers, and referral incentives are other examples of some of the other monetary perks resorts are now offering.

KT-22 being cleared after large snowfall. Photo: Will Paden

For those not persuaded by the idea of money, ski resorts are accumulating housing for employees, free transportation, and bringing employees through the J-1 visa. Brundage Mountain in Idaho partnered with a local summer based resort so that employees who wanted to live in the mountains year-round had that opportunity. Then resorts like Sugarbush in Vermont are going to be bringing on more than 100 foreign college students to fill their demand for employees through the J-1 visa. The J-1 visa allows people from other countries to come visit the United States and use the opportunity for working or schooling.

It comes to no surprise that ski resorts are brainstorming up some creative ways to gain employees for seasonal and year-round work. David Byrd of the National Ski Area Association says that 8,000 J-1 visas will be hired this year. These j-1 visas will be a part of the total of 100,000 seasonal employees will be brought on as well at the more than 450 ski resorts in the USA.

Sean and Ridge, Alpine Meadows ski patrol – photo: Jared Dalen


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5 thoughts on “How Ski Resorts Are Fighting The Employee Shortage Crisis

  1. Small resorts in parts of the east simply need to start by increasing starting wages. For many first year workers, wages are less than $8 per hour in PA. These resorts have no housing etc., its a seasonal job mainly for young people, who can make more at McDonalds….and we’re finding that free snowboading is not enough.

  2. Housing and accessibility are clearly big impediments, but so is (was) the lack of a central marketplace for identifying and connecting with potential talent. That’s exactly why PeakSeason.com exists, to help employers differentiate themselves and attract great candidates.

  3. Capitalism. Pay people so enough so they are lured away from other jobs. Money is everything, but love and good vibes don’t pay the gasoline or food bills. Or give employees passes to give to friends.

  4. “For those not persuaded by the idea of money…”

    We’re talking primarily about seasonal jobs in expensive, resort-driven housing markets. I’m pretty money is still the primary concern driving any employee shortage. (Even after a $1000 signing bonus. If you get hired as a snowmaker. At one single resort.)

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