Workers are a little tougher for Aspen Skiing Co. to find

Article author: 
Scott Condon
Article publisher: 
The Post Independent
Article date: 
21 September 2014
Article category: 
Colorado News
Article Body: 

Aspen Skiing Co. anticipates a tougher time filling its positions this winter than in recent winters — but how much tougher isn’t clear yet.

“I think we’re seeing the pendulum swinging back,” said Jim Laing, vice president of human resources and retail operations ...

Aspen and Snowmass Village, like many Western U.S. ski resorts, traditionally have generated more jobs than there were workers to fill them. That changed during the five years of the recession and its hangover. Now it’s switching back ...

Skico will not use many H-2B visas to fill positions this year. That was a helpful tool in prerecession days when the company couldn’t find enough workers in the domestic market, Laing said. It used as many as 400 H-2B visas prerecession. The company would work with the U.S. government to get the visas, then the company would recruit workers who could come to the U.S. specifically to work that position.

Last year, Skico used one H-2B visa on its mountain operations positions and a “handful” in its hospitality division, Laing said.

This year, the company didn’t apply for any H-2B visas in April and May — early enough to allow processing and to get employees trained by December, he said.

Skico will use an undetermined number of J-1 visas that are available for foreign students who want to work while they are on their summer break. There are typically a large number of students from Brazil and Argentina who want to work using those visas, he said ...