Deer Valley workers furloughed as economic fallout of early end to ski season continues
Nearly 300 year-round workers at Deer Valley Resort have been furloughed or had their hours reduced due to the financial fallout stemming from the premature end to ski season, a spokesperson for the resort said.
Emily Summers, senior communications manager at Deer Valley, indicated in an email response to a Park Record inquiry that the changes were effective April 4 and will remain in place until further notice. Approximately 290 hourly and salaried employees were affected by the cuts, she said.
“We are continuously monitoring and adhering to the ever-changing and fluid COVID 19 situation and community health directives, but we do expect this reduction to last at least through the month of April,” she said. “Employees will return to the resort once we are able to determine the timing of future resort operations.”
Alterra Mountain Company, the owner of Deer Valley Resort, has taken similar steps at its other ski areas, according to the Denver Post, as it reacts to the economic ramifications caused by the coronavirus.
Summers said Deer Valley employees affected by the measures will retain their health care benefits and can use accrued paid time off. They are also eligible for state and federal unemployment benefits, though they will keep their seniority and employment status.
She also said capital improvement projects planned at the resort may be put on hold or canceled, though specifics were not available. In early march, the resort announced $14 million in projects, including a renovation of the Snow Park Lodge.
Vail Resorts, which owns Park City Mountain Resort, has also pursued significant cost-cutting measures, including furloughing employees at its U.S. ski areas. Nearly 400 workers at PCMR were furloughed earlier this month for at least the next several weeks.
Both Deer Valley and PCMR closed in mid-March alongside their parent companies’ other North American properties as the coronavirus began to spread in Summit County and other ski resort destinations in the West, which have been hit particularly hard by the disease.
Ski season at both Park City resorts was originally planned to end Sunday.
Though the closures came after the majority of the winter season had concluded, the abrupt end to the season nonetheless represents a significant blow to the ski industry. Vail Resorts has said it anticipates losing $180 to $200 million in revenue as a result of the season’s unexpected end. The National Ski Areas Association, meanwhile, has estimated U.S. resorts collectively could lose $2 billion, according to the Colorado Sun.
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The Vail Resorts announcement ends months of speculation about the mechanics of the ski season at PCMR.