The ski industry is scrambling to find employees for this upcoming season. We have seen many resorts boost their starting wage to $15+ per hour to address this shortage. Still, the industry is facing a huge staffing crisis.
In an interview with Vermont Public Radio, Mike Solimano, President of Killington and Pico ski resorts said he anticipates being short-staffed by 20-30% this season. Despite very low unemployment in the state of Vermont, Solimano states that he is having difficulty generating interest at job fairs.
Vail Resort’s minimum wage has bumped to $15/hour and is their largest investment this season. Back in Vermont, Mount Snow’s starting wage has jumped 28% and Jay Peak is reportedly investing $2 million to higher starting wages. Some resorts are offering signing bonuses and discounted child care.
Back at Killington, Solimano notes that he has had to ask employees to transition into roles outside of their initial job descriptions. He used the example of training an accountant on the basics of boot fitting to meet demands.
The root of this issue is complex and difficult to address. The cost of living and housing crunch in mountain towns is certainly a huge factor. In addition, with the labor shortage, workers can be more selective about which jobs they accept. It will be interesting to see what the staffing situation season looks like at our favorite hill this winter.