Deer Valley taps RV park for worker housing |

Deer Valley taps RV park for worker housing

Deer Valley Resort officials have tapped a recreational-vehicle park in Heber to house part of the resort’s ski-season work force, a move meant to relieve some of the pressure faced by seasonal workers as they search for living quarters in the area’s expensive housing market.

Deer Valley and the owners of the Heber Valley RV Park Resort entered into a five-year agreement, with options for additional years, according to Bob Wells, Deer Valley’s vice president. Wells said the deal will cost Deer Valley about $600,000 each year to subsidize reduced rents for the resort workers and to run worker buses between the park and Deer Valley.

The owners of the recreational-vehicle park will purchase 50 cabins, priced at about $1.5 million combined, to house the Deer Valley workers, according to Wells. They are 400 square feet each. They will each have two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The park will own the cabins. Deer Valley will rent them in the winter.

Deer Valley’s ski-season work force numbers 1,700. The year-round staff is 300. The local mountain resorts, hotels and restaurants, among other industries, greatly expand their staffs for the winter, usually hiring people by the middle of the fall and keeping them until the resorts close, typically in April or early May.

But many of the workers earn menial salaries and finding accommodations in Park City during the winter is notoriously difficult. Some of the workers commute from the Salt Lake Valley, the East Side of Summit County or the Heber area. Others rent in Park City but fill their places with more people than are allowed to live there.

"It’s been an issue we face, and all employers in town face, every winter season," Wells said.

The resort anticipates four people will live in each of the cabins, and Wells said Deer Valley will likely offer them to first-year employees. He expects the workers will arrive in November, a few weeks before the Deer Valley ski season opens. The resort will charge the workers to live there, but Wells said the rent has not been set. He said he expects the rent will be similar to the $250 to $300 per month the resort charges for its other work force units.

Wells said Deer Valley doubles its number of work force units with the deal. The resort previously had 70 units that could house 200 people, he said, including places in Prospector and on Empire Avenue.

Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley, said in a prepared statement the recreational-vehicle park provides "desperately needed housing for our work force during our ‘on season.’" He said a "true Deer Valley employee community" could be made there.

The recreational-vehicle park has a general store, a small restaurant and laundry facilities. Wells acknowledges some at Deer Valley were skeptical initially. They later found the accommodations worthy, he said.

"It’s quite a community there. We overcame our concerns pretty quick," he said.

The recreational-vehicle park on its Web site advertises itself as having "luxury accommodations" and a "tradition for hospitality and entertainment." It is a "legendary vacation destination," the Web site says.

A co-owner of the recreational-vehicle park, Chay Eysser, said about 13 Deer Valley workers had rented places there in previous winters. Eysser said the new arrangement is desirable because there are fewer people renting space there in the winter, meaning the business from Deer Valley will come at an opportune time. She is happy with the Deer Valley workers who have rented there before.

"I love them. They are very classy people, and they respect people down here," she said.

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