‘We’re all here for the free ski pass’
Steamboat Job Fair sees far more applicants than available opportunities
Steamboat Springs — Jorma Nicander wasn’t looking for a full-time job on Saturday.
He was just looking for a second source of income to help him survive the ski season.
Like so many other people at the job fair hosted by the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, Nicander, 24, filled out a job application with some reservation about finding employment through ski corp. during the winter months.
“It’s been difficult to find a job in Steamboat,” he said. “And now we’re all here today fighting for the same jobs.”
Nicander, who works part time at Mazzola’s, said he had assumed the job fair might open up some job opportunities to counter the absence of job openings that seemed to be so prevalent in Steamboat businesses.
But looking around at the steady stream of people eager to be employed, he admitted he wasn’t too sure about his chances.
Cho Tin Tun, 22, sat across from Nicander and filled out the application with similar doubts about finding a job for the ski season.
A CMC student, she said she works two part-time jobs that don’t promise enough hours.
“It’s tight when everyone wants more shifts, so I came to the job fair hoping to find something else,” she said.
The promise of employment was not the sole reason people came to the job fair.
Employment through ski corp. promises a free ski pass at any American Skiing Co. resort, a summer mountain bike pass, limited guest ski passes and limited ski and snowboard lessons for employees and guests.
“We’re here for the jobs, but everyone knows that we’re all here for the free ski pass,” Tin Tun said.
A larger number of prospective employees lined the hallway to the Burgess Creek Ballroom before the doors opened at 9 a.m., said Trish Sullivan, ski corp.’s human resources director.
“We’re definitely seeing a larger turnout than last (year),” she said. “We expected that.”
By noon, about 250 people had submitted applications for about 60 available jobs, she said.
The job fair ran until 5 p.m.
Sullivan said ski corp. expected a large pool of qualified candidates with so many people vying for fewer jobs.
Openings for bartenders and wait staff saw the most applicants.
That popularity can be traced to the generous tips that food and beverage employees receive, said Peggy Haas, a ski corp. lift operations supervisor.
“People who apply with us realize that they’ll get a flat rate of $8 an hour and that it’s manual labor,” Haas said.
But that did not deter people from applying for positions as ski lift operators, she added.
“I’m so excited at how many people have come out for this,” Haas said. “It’s a whole range of people, young and old.”
She said many applicants expressed a desire to work in new environments to escape the monotony of their old jobs.
Most applicants were in their mid- to late 20s, she said, but a few retirees came out to see what jobs were available.
Dottie Singer, 50, was one of those people looking for a change of routine.
Singer, who works part time at Safeway, joined the ranks of people looking for second and third jobs.
She said this was her first time to the job fair, but she would not be too disappointed if she could not find a job.
“It would be nice to have the extra income, but I can walk away without one and still be OK,” she said.
“It’s those people who are depending on a job today and don’t get it that I’m more worried about.”
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