Steamboat Resort increases base wage, offers new employee benefits | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Resort increases base wage, offers new employee benefits

Gondola cars carry skiers up the slopes of Steamboat Resort. (File photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Facing a shortage of workers, Steamboat Resort is the latest ski area to bump up its base wage with the hope it will help entice people to keep the ski lifts turning and bloody marys flowing.

The resort recently announced it will increase its starting wage for non-tipped employees to $12 from $10.50 per hour. Colorado's minimum wage is $10.20 per hour.

"We were fortunate that we got support from our new ownership group to increase our starting wage by 15 percent," Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Rob Perlman said. "Our goal is to continue to attract and retain quality employees that provide a great guest service to those folks that come to Steamboat."

If you go

What: Steamboat Resort winter job fair
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1
Where: The Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle

The U.S. unemployment rate in August dropped to 3.7 percent, the lowest it has been since 1969. Colorado's unemployment level was at 3.4 percent, and Routt County's was 2.7 percent.

"Unemployment is very low in Colorado compared to the rest of the nation and even lower in Routt County," Perlman said. "We need to compete for employees, and we want to provide a great experience for our employees to come work for us at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation."

Other Colorado resorts have increased their base wages, as well. Winter Park went from $10 to $12 per hour.

"Ski areas and resort towns have to do it," Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert said. "To provide the employees a living wage is really vital to a healthy and productive workforce."

Aspen Skiing Co. went from $12 to $13.50 per hour, while Copper Mountain workers got a bump from $10.50 to $12.25.

"Colorado and especially our mountain communities are experiencing a very competitive job market with unemployment rates in mountain communities below the statewide average," Colorado Ski Country USA spokesman Chris Linsmayer wrote in an email. "We expect to see a competitive hiring market across the state this winter, and ski areas are responding to the labor market."

In March, Vail Resorts announced it would be moving its base wage up from $11 to $12.25 per hour. The Vail Daily reported the move was prompted by a change in U.S. tax law. The company also announced a 40 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to shareholders.

Steamboat Resort Vice President of Human Resources Trish Sullivan said that during the ski season, Steamboat Resort employs 1,650 seasonal workers, and the resort has 482 beds available to house them at The Ponds.

There will be additional perks offered this year for working at Steamboat Resort, which is going into its second ski season owned by Alterra Mountain Co.

There will be more subsidized employee meals available, Perlman said.

Sullivan said Alterra subsidiaries also 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.

"That's brand new, and we're really excited for new parents," she said.

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.

"That even applies to seasonal workers," Sullivan said.

Steamboat Resort will be hosting a winter job fair from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 at The Steamboat Grand.

"People don't have to wait for the job fair," Sullivan said. "We have pretty much all of our winter jobs posted now. People can go online now to apply."

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