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Ski resorts finding tight labor market for seasonal employment

It’s a new age for the ski resort labor market.

No longer a line of work reserved for poor ski bums trading high-paying jobs for the endless winter, Lake Tahoe areas are hiring a cross-sampling of people with varying ages, roots and motivations.

A few hundred of these people turned out for the North Lake Tahoe Winter Job Fair at Kings Beach Friday, many leaving with prospects of a dream job in Tahoe.



“It’s amazing the variety of people we get,” Diamond Peak Ski Resort Personnel Director Lisa Hoopes said, adding how the 75 prospects screened “blow all the stereotypes.”

There are retired people looking for ways to get involved with the community, students splitting school with work and, a more recent trend, full-time professionals trading part-time work for free reign on the mountain, Hoopes mentioned.



With ski passes amounting to $435, the incentive to work to ski sounds attractive to the recreational warrior.

Adequate housing represents one of the biggest obstacles facing ski resorts. So the Incline Village resort still offers season passes to homeowners who are willing to rent their houses to its personnel, a “win-win” situation to Hoopes.

The housing is so tight, some Reno residents out of the two dozen hired by Squaw Valley have chosen to commute, Squaw’s Personnel Director Jim Brady said, adding at least the hour-plus drive is a gorgeous one.

And some ski-resort personnel have elected to go mobile. Staffers at Coachland RV in Truckee have noticed a significant number of young people, who work for the ski resorts, parking recreational vehicles in its spaces.

Besides the promise of help in finding new digs and season passes, many ski resorts are propping up health insurance, car pool and shuttle service, 401K benefits and other supplementary benefits as carrots to sign new recruits who may be swayed by the glamour of the high-tech world.

With unemployment situated at sub 4 percent, it’s harder to attract kitchen workers, lift operators, groomers and bartenders to name a few positions needed to fill out the full-service ski resort, many personnel directors contend.

Some ski areas have even increased work options to accommodate workers who want to work nights to ski by day.


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