​Summit ski areas raise wages, hire international employees to contend with labor shortage

Article CAIRCO note: 
​From article: there are a few more international workers than in past seasons...
Article author: 
​Taylor Sienkiewicz
Article publisher: 
​Summit Daily News & Vail Daily
Article date: 
November 7, 2021
Article category: 
Colorado News
Medium
Article Body: 

​Employee hiring — or lack thereof — continues to pose a challenge for Summit County businesses. With ski areas being the largest local employers of seasonal workers, where do they stand?

Summit County’s four ski areas — Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Keystone Resort — all had different responses to the ongoing labor shortage...

While hiring employees for the 2020-21 season saw many challenges related to the pandemic — including the suspension of international employee visas — Prather [Copper spokesperson] said the response to seasonal hiring this year is similar to what was seen in 2019. She said the resort is excited to welcome back international employees.

“Although it’s a small percentage of our overall workforce, it’s definitely helpful to be able to bring that program back,” Prather said Thursday, Nov. 4, noting that the resort mainly uses the ​​J-1 visa program...

One of the main hiring challenges Fuller said A-Basin is contending with is work visa caps.

“The ​​H-2B out-of-country cap was met for the first time ever,” Fuller wrote, referencing the statutory limit on the total number of individuals per year who can be issued an H-2B visa. “We missed that cap, so we could not bring on the cooks we had hired. This has been our biggest challenge this season.”

Despite the setbacks with the H-2B visa cap, Fuller said the ski area was still able to hire international workers and noted that there are a few more international workers than in past seasons​ ​...