Steamboat Resort fills ranks for ski season workers despite low unemployment |

Steamboat Resort fills ranks for ski season workers despite low unemployment

A family loads a lift at the Steamboat Resort. (file photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Despite an unemployment rate of only 2.5 percent in Routt County, Steamboat Resort is successfully finding their seasonal workforce.

Each winter, Steamboat Resort hires about 1,600 people to run the lifts, flip burgers, patrol the 2,965 acres of skiable terrain and perform other duties at the ski area.

A team of 11 people in the human resources department is tasked with making the hires.

“It’s going pretty good,” said Trish Sullivan, the vice president of human resources.

She said about 87 percent of the staff has been hired.

Steamboat Resort started their annual hiring push in August and recruited people at job fairs outside Colorado.

“We continue that throughout the fall and the winter,” Sullivan said.

The staff this year will include 60 international workers who will use the J-1 visa program.

Sullivan said recruitment has gone well thanks in part to a bump in the base wage from $10.50 to $12 per hour.

New benefits are also helping to entice workers.

The ski area’s owner, Alterra Mountain Co., rolled out six weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers and fathers who are employed with the resort for at least 10 months a year.

Effective Aug. 1, Sullivan said Steamboat Resort employee health insurance premiums decreased, and the company doubled its 401(k) match from 1.5 to 3 percent if the employee contributes 6 percent of his or her wage.

Once the ski area gets people hired, the employees need to find a place to live.

Workers in recent weeks have been moving in at The Ponds, which Steamboat Resort uses to provide 482 beds of employee housing.

Steamboat Resort spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said there is currently a waiting list for the housing, but that was not unusual for this time of year.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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