Ski resorts looking for snow, staff ahead of upcoming season

Nov 1, 2021, 7:22 PM | Updated: 8:30 pm

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — Weeks out from the start of the ski season, resorts across the state of Utah are looking for two things: snow and staff. 

“We’re needing them,” said Sarah Sherman, communications manager at Snowbird. “We’re aggressively hiring, but we’re ready to open whenever that opportunity arises as well.” 

The need for workers comes at a difficult time.

For many businesses across the hospitality and tourism industries, that need has hit a breaking point during the pandemic. 

Sherman said they are “seeing staffing changes because of the pandemic,” but emphasized that many of their jobs are seasonal.

She said they’ve raised their starting pay to $15 an hour, but described a need that isn’t quite so desperate. 

“We’re definitely seeing the need for employees right now. I don’t know that it’s dire compared to seasons past, but we are seeing that need across the tourism industry, whether you’re a ski resort, a restaurant, etc,” she said.

Sherman also said they don’t need a full staff to open, just enough to get started with one or two lifts. And, of course, they need enough snow. 

October was a big month.

The resort up Little Cottonwood Canyon has already received 58 inches. But it’s melting and going to take more than that, combined with colder temperatures, for them to begin running their lifts, which they plan to do on Dec. 1. 

“We love it when the temperatures are getting cold. We love to see snow. I think it just adds to the excitement of the season to come,” she said. “We’re ready to build that base and we’re hoping to get ready for our 50th anniversary season.” 

Not far up the canyon from Snowbird, Andria Huskinson with Alta Ski Area said they already have the snow they need to open, but that they need time to train new employees before they run their lifts later this month.

Alta and many resorts are also hiring in several positions. 

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Ski resorts looking for snow, staff ahead of upcoming season