Thousands of open jobs at Colorado resorts remain unfilled as ski season nears

ski lift.jpg
Posted at 12:05 AM, Oct 15, 2021

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Excitement is building across Colorado for a snow-filled ski season.

Wolf Creek Ski Area announced it will open Oct. 16, and Arapahoe Basin opens the following day. A string of other resorts are set to open after that, including Breckenridge, Winter Park and Eldora.

“We've had an incredible week of cold temperatures and snow fall,” said Katherine Fuller, the communications manager for Arapahoe Basin. “It's exciting to get things rolling, and we look forward to whatever happens this weekend.”

But the excitement is paired with growing concern that there are not enough employees to fill the open jobs needed for a full capacity ski season.

“We're probably looking for a few hundred or more people to hire before the season, so we're certainly behind," said Sam Bass, the marketing director for Eldora. “Just like every business and every industry across America, the ski industry is looking really hard to find employees to hire, and we're no exception.”

The problem has gotten so bad that ski towns are banding together to bring workers in. In an effort to fill more than 8,000 open positions, 113 companies hosted a virtual jobs fair on Thursday.

Sam Bass says Eldora has come up with strategies of its own, including raising all starting position wages to $15 per hour and holding multiple job fairs. The company is also reaching out to Boulder residents in flyers and advertising.

“We are looking for all sorts of positions,” he said.

As the snow falls, time is running out to fill the empty spots, but organizers say they are optimistic.

“Snow makes us excited, you know, so we're gonna make it through. We're gonna make it happen,” Bass said. “We're gonna make it a good season.”