This June, President Trump restricted H-1B, L-1, H-2B and J-1 temporary visas, the latter two primarily concerning seasonal work, like those often used in US ski resorts. The order was overturned on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 1, but many companies and organizations had already made plans to hire more American workers.

“We had to make plans months ago,” said Ryan Huff, director of communications for Vail Resorts. “We had to amp up looking in the resort communities, and we are really pleased with the applicants” as reported by the Denver Post.

And it does not look like the pandemic or current civil unrest will stop vacationers from hitting the slopes this year, ‘according to Vail Resorts’ September earnings call, sales of the company’s Epic Pass was up 18% as of Sept. 18, as compared to the previous year’s number.’

To accomplish these high visitor projections, staffing is crucial, not just to run all aspects of the ski resorts as usual, but also now to make sure social distancing is enforced as well as daily sanitation.

The Dever Post reports:

One interesting trend we have seen this year is more interest from college students who are taking a gap year and for students who are in college but are doing all or most classes remote,” said Huff.

College students have been a key in staffing resorts, hotels and slopes across the board. At Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies, there’s also been an influx of young adults who are in school.

“A fair amount of people who would be in traditional college are doing remote learning from here,” said Athena Tilghman, human resource director at Snow Mountain Ranch. “We are allowing flexible schedules, and I would say we have at least 20 percent of our staff doing remote learning.”

Tilghman stated that the two YMCA of the Rockies locations in Granby and Estes Park get college students from South America each year who make up about one-third of the staff. They come in on various types of J1 visas. But even without this large chunk of imported workers, Tilghman said the staffing for the season looks good.

“As far as filling our numbers, we have had phenomenal luck and right now I am looking at being hired well into spring,” said Tilghman. “That’s unusual for this time of year.”

‘Based on the handful of hotels and resorts we spoke to, getting workers hasn’t been the struggle they anticipated’, the Denver Post commented.

Sarah Salomon, Vail’s director of human resources said there has been a high turn out of local applicants. A lot of the people, she added, come with quite the pedigree in the service industry.

“We have received more qualified U.S. candidates than ever before this year,” Salomon said. “I am sure that is due to the high unemployment rate and the hospitality industry struggling.”

For the complete story, please visit the Denver Post.

Updated: Tue, Nov 10th 2020 @ 12:20pm EST