Resort workers are moving on | SierraSun.com
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Resort workers are moving on

Lara Mullin, Sierra Sun

The classified section is back in business. The employment listings and “for rent” postings are being passed around town and lingering in the hands of readers all over the Tahoe-Truckee area.

With the ski season coming to an end, resort employees are scrambling to find new means of employment and housing.

“At Northstar about one-third of our employees stay on and work in the mountain bike park, food and beverage, grounds and housekeeping or with the golf course,” said Public Relations Director Erin Bernall. “We encourage seasonal workers to stay with Northstar full-time if they are interested.”

While employees at Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley USA have the option of continuing their employment through the summer months, many resort workers are now looking locally to restaurants or water sports for work.

For workers dependent on employee housing, the end of winter means finding accommodations as well as a new source of income.

Squaw Valley USA employee Scott Wilcox said that the cost of living in the Tahoe/Truckee area and the low wages for summer employment are reason enough to leave town once the snow is gone.

“Once the big lay-off comes on April 22, most of the lift-ops will be done. Then I will pack up my stuff and head back to Jersey where I can make $20 an hour roofing and have less rent to pay,” Wilcox remarked.

Personnel departments at Squaw Valley and Northstar are available to assist workers in finding new employment once the ski season ends both within and outside of the resorts.

“We do everything we can to help employees who want to stay either with Squaw or just remain in the area,” said Squaw Valley Public Relations Director Katja Dahl.

At Northstar, those living in the resort’s housing can stay on if they continue employment after the April 22 closing date. Squaw Valley’s hostel, which during the height of the winter had over 90 residents, is now down to a mere eight souls.

The hostel serves as a host to camps and retreats over the summer and the current residents have until the tentative closing date in mid-May to find a new place to call home.

Expired visas have already driven many international workers out of town. Diamond Peak employee Knut Nystad will be returning to Norway this week to wait out the summer before returning to the area next year with the snow.

“We had no snow for so long and business was so slow that I did not get to work very much over the last two months. I was planning on staying until May, but now I am going home early to make some money,” said Nystad.

An early end to the season motivated many resort employees to begin looking elsewhere earlier than usual to pass the time and pay high rent prices.

“I was leaving early every day because it was slow. While the hours were still available to me if I wanted them, it was boring to sit around and do nothing all day,” said former Northstar employee Caressa Brannon.

Brannon, who was working at Miner’s Camp as an instructor for children, opted for restaurant work in the Truckee area at the end of March.

Many options for summer employment exist in the area at local golf courses, stores and restaurants. Lake Tahoe Aqua Sports also offers opportunities for lifeguards, wakeboard instructors, ticket sales and reservation agents.

“We have a lot of returning employees who work at the mountains during the winter, and another crew that are either local or just in town for the summer that we also employ,” said Lake Tahoe Aqua Sports Owner Mark Sentyrz.


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