Lack of snow prompts creativity and movement for seasonal employees

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 20:54:28-05

ASPEN, Colo. -- This season’s lack of snow is having a huge impact at ski resorts across Colorado. Places like Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge only have half of their trails open. With less terrain open, less lifts are operating, and fewer people are skiing. But it’s also having a big impact on those who count on the season for their livelihood. 

“We’ve definitely had less snow than I’ve ever seen in my 10 years here,” Aspen Snowmass seasonal employee Nate Tattersall said. 

He is one of hundreds of seasonal hires that is being hit hard by Mother Nature’s lack of snow love this winter in Colorado.

“We have had our hours cut back a little bit,” he said.

If there isn’t enough snow to open a lift, the lift crew that normally operates it has nothing to do. If the lift is closed and there is a restaurant at the top of it, those people also need work. 

“You’ve got to find somewhere to reassign them or someplace to put them so they can work, so they can afford to live and they can enjoy the experience,” Jeff Hanle, of Aspen Snowmass, said. 

Snowmass has had to mix things up to try get everyone as many hours as possible. 

“My roommate actually is a snowboard instructor and he’s been doing work on the alpine coaster and rentals,” Tattersall said.

The resort even stepped in to feed its employees. They offered free meals to employees three times a week to try to make up for their lack of hours. That ran from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but Snowmass may continue it once a week into the future.

All of that could change if and when the big snowfall finally comes. Aspen could see more than a foot of snow this week, which means more lifts open, more people back to work, and things back to a sense of moderate normalcy.