Winter is finally here across the country, and skiers and snowboarders are beginning to head up and enjoy the mountains. However, at areas managed by Vail Resorts, the season may look different as many areas are short on staff.
Many of Vail’s resorts across the US have cut back on operating hours this year. Ski areas like Brandywine and Alpine Valley may not open this year. After a late start to the season, many resorts had to create a man-made base by blowing snow, but due to severe staffing shortages, there aren’t enough skilled workers to make that happen. Not only are resorts experiencing a lack of workers to make snow, but also a lack of employees to operate lifts.
The staffing shortage is partly due to the ongoing pandemic, but locals are also blaming the mismanagement and lack of preparation for the season by Vail Resorts. With the amount of limited staff at these resorts, some employees are having to take on new roles. In some cases, ski instructors are being asked to operate lifts.
Seasonal workers are paid a minimum wage. For example, ski patrollers who undergo major avalanche and medical service training are paid $15 an hour. Without ski patrollers to make sure terrain is safe, resorts aren’t opening the same amount of terrain as they have in previous seasons. Even if the terrain were open, with limited lifties, most of the terrain wouldn’t even be reachable.
- Related: Stevens Pass, WA, Skier Starts Petition Against Vail Resorts for ‘Disgusting Mismanagement of the Ski Area’
Not only is Vail Resorts lagging in hiring trained personnel to run the areas, but the company saw a 76% increase in Epic Pass sales this 2021-2022 season. This results in crowded areas with limited terrain for skiers and riders to spread out. Passholders are feeling scammed; not only is less terrain open, but the cutback on hours the resorts are open limits how much they can ski in a season. Just this past week, skiers and riders from Stevens Pass had over 30,000 signatures on a petition to Vail Resorts to resolve these issues or offer a refund for their passes.
Resorts managed by Vail all across the country are experiencing shorter hours of operations with only 60% of the terrain open to ski. Customers are furious after spending hundreds on a ski pass to resorts with less terrain, and most likely a shorter season overall.