Nearly 400 PCMR employees to be furloughed as Vail Resorts cuts costs in response to pandemic
Nearly 400 employees at Park City Mountain Resort will be furloughed for at least several weeks beginning Saturday as part of wide-ranging cost-cutting measures Vail Resorts is enacting as the ski area giant grapples with the economic fallout of the early end to ski season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz made the announcement Wednesday, indicating all of the company’s year-round hourly employees in the U.S. will be furloughed, starting Saturday, for “at least the next one to two months.” Spokesperson Margo Van Ness said 391 PCMR workers will be furloughed.
The affected employees will continue to receive health insurance through the company and will also be eligible for unemployment benefits.
“I had hoped we would not have to take this action,” Katz said in a statement. “But with each passing week, the financial consequences have become more apparent. To our year-round hourly employees, I am so disappointed that the vast majority of you have not been able to work these past three weeks and I assure you we will end the furlough as soon as possible once we have clarity on our business reopening.”
Additionally, pay will be reduced for salaried employees for six months, Katz said, with the size of each employee’s pay cut determined by a sliding scale, starting at 5%. Most of the company’s senior executives will see their pay decreased 25%, while Katz said he will not take a salary during the six-month period.
The company also plans to postpone on-mountain capital improvement projects, such as building new chair lifts, at its ski areas.
The cost-cutting steps come two and a half weeks after Vail Resorts closed its North American properties, including PCMR, with several weeks left in the scheduled ski season in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Ski resort destinations in the West have been among the areas hit hardest by the coronavirus on a per-capita basis, something health officials have attributed largely to tourism.
Vail Resorts has said it expects to lose between $180 million and $200 million during the current quarter due to the early closures.
“With the very real possibility that the global stay-at-home orders could be extended, and travel reduced regardless, our business in May through October is at risk,” Katz said. “We will work hard to reopen as soon as practical, but much of this is now outside of our control.”
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Bill White shut down his restaurants in the spring when the pandemic hit. They’re back up and running, but the challenges brought on by COVID-19 remain: “[I]t seems we collectively are taking one step forward and two steps backwards.”