Ben and Ben from New Hampshire eagerly were filling out applications at the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. job fair Thursday.
Ben Turner, of Amherst, and Ben Faucher, of Northwood, are freshmen at Colorado Mountain College. Both know that a Ski Corp. job offers a much sought-after benefit -- a season pass for skiing and snowboarding.
"That's very much a good thing," Faucher said with a grin. He hopes his experience cooking in a pizza kitchen in his hometown near Concord will help him land a job this winter. Turner plans to study resort management at CMC and said a position with Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel would work nicely with his academic pursuits.
A ballroom in Steamboat Grand was lined with decorated tables Thursday, when hotel and ski area department managers interviewed applicants on the spot. Applicants also were able to view job descriptions and pay scales posted on the ballroom's walls.
Trish Sullivan, vice president of human resources for Ski Corp., said her department directors are looking for friendly people who want to have fun on the job. Steamboat Ski Area is scheduled to open Nov. 23.
Ski Corp. managers already attended a job fair in Yellowstone National Park last month and will attend a similar event at Glacier National Park from Sept. 13 to 15.
This year, hiring levels will be similar to those of last year, Sullivan predicted. Ski Corp. managers hope to identify 250 potential hires from this week's job fair on their way to making 600 seasonal hires. When Steamboat Grand and year-round employees are taken into account, Ski Corp. will employ as many as 1,800 people this winter. That figure does not include volunteer positions.
Sullivan said she added only a handful of applications for the 240 H2B visas Ski Corp. used last year to hire workers from foreign countries. Many of those workers come from Australia and New Zealand. Others are recruited from South America. The H2B visas allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. for finite periods of time for specific jobs.
Seasonal hires at Ski Corp. typically represent multiple generations and include college students taking a semester or two away from their studies and retired business executives who want to stay busy and be part of an organization.
Faucher said he was worried about his holiday break at CMC, when dormitories are closed. He was uncertain how he could stay in Steamboat to work his shifts during Ski Corp.'s busiest time of the year. Sullivan said that situation always works itself out. Whenever Ski Corp. has open units at Walton Pond Apartments, they're made available to student-workers a week at a time. Other student workers become adept at couch-surfing.
Ski Corp. job descriptions range from coffee-shop barista to cafeteria worker. Most Ski Corp. jobs are listed with three pay scales depending on the employee's experience. A barista at Gondola Joe's coffee shop would begin at $6.52 an hour but could move up to $8.69 an hour at the scale's mid-range and would top out at $10.43 an hour.
Cooks at the Stoker restaurant at the top of the gondola begin at $7.92 an hour and can top out at $12.67 an hour.