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Ski workers wanted: What resorts are doing to lure employees to the slopes

FoxBusiness.com

Seasonal workers are in demand. Given the tight labor market, ski resorts are struggling to fill jobs, and they’re adding more perks to bring potential employees to the slopes.

In New Hampshire, Wildcat Resort is hoping a $1,000 bonus will bring in new snowmakers, and Sunday River in Maine recently boosted its hourly wage from $13 to $20.

It’s not just the East Coast that’s pushing the perks.

In Utah, Snowbird is expanding service for employees with a pool van service.

SKI RESORT FOR ULTRA-RICH HIT WITH LAWSUIT OVER LOW WAGES

The hiring challenge is “enormous,” said Dave Byrd, director of risk and regulatory affairs for the Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association.

Because ski resorts are by their nature in mountainous areas, they are often far from cities from which to draw workers. And with the national unemployment rate recently hitting the lowest level in 50 years, potential workers would rather have full-time jobs with benefits, Byrd added.

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"We don't have a lot of ski areas that are in close proximity to major metropolitan areas. And even when we do, like the ski areas in Salt Lake ... they're still struggling to find people," he said.

Bird said 460 ski resorts across the U.S. hire about 100,000 seasonal workers, and many rely on foreign guest workers for labor. He said at least 5 percent to 10 percent of workers use the J-1 visa program.

Because resorts are having problems hiring American workers, Vermont’s Sugarbush is outsourcing more than 100 international college students to fill the demand. A spokesperson for the resort said a few years ago, the site didn’t even use the J-1 visa program to hire workers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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