Seasonal employees make a good winter great
March 29, 2016
This week’s snowstorm has extended an already abundant ski season – another bonus in what has been a very successful winter.
But before we hand out accolades to the resort executives, marketing directors, property managers and business owners, we’d like to offer a standing ovation to the seasonal employees who helped to turn some fortuitous trade winds into an economic boon for the whole community.
While the role of a seasonal employee at a destination resort might seem glamorous, those who have served in the trenches know better. Today’s seasonal workers face enormous challenges to make ends meet. Affordable housing is scarce and the cost of living, in general, is high. Traffic, too, has become another stress factor for those tied to a rigid schedule.
Resort workers are also subject to the vagaries of holiday schedules and unpredictable weather — one day they have to work overtime to accommodate an unexpected rush, and the next day they may be asked to punch out early because business is slow.
Then there is the weather. This year, as each storm laid a welcome carpet of powder across the slopes, public works employees scrambled to clear the roads. And when a severe wind storm knock over trees and forced the lifts to shut down, resort workers rallied to ensure every guest made it safely off the mountain.
When we tally up the books at the end of the season, we will owe an enormous debt of thanks to an army of dedicated employees. But in addition to our gratitude, we need to make substantial improvements to their working conditions.
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We’ve paid lip service to the need for affordable housing for far too long. It is time to enforce existing affordable housing requirements and to make sure that housing is built close to where workers will be employed. We need to support increases in the minimum wage along with local efforts to provide affordable childcare and expanded health benefits.
Yes, it has been a great winter. Let’s celebrate by making tangible commitments to the employees in hopes that both they and our guests will come back soon.