Jobs with benefits: 400 apply at Powderhorn

A couple inches of snow on Grand Mesa was the perfect harbinger of the swooshing season to come for the hundreds of applicants who showed for a job fair Saturday at Powderhorn Mountain Resort.

By 8:30 a.m. a line of applicants wound around the resort’s lobby, seeking the roughly 75 available positions to work in the rental shop, shovel snow, sell gear, operate lifts, serve food and sell tickets, all aspects of the resort’s operations.

“The benefits are great. The benefits are what it is about,” said Andrea Reynolds, the resort’s human resources manager.

About 400 people either showed up or applied online to work this year at the resort, where employment comes with a season pass for workers to ski to their hearts’ content during off hours.

Many applicants appeared to be in their early 20s, dressed in the telltale uniform of snow lovers: ski and snowboarding pants and hats. Some folks appeared to be a bit more mature, like Cindy Ryan, who recalled when the cost of a day lift ticket was $2.50.

“It’s been years since I skied,” she said, adding that was one reason for applying at the resort. She applied to work as a cashier or to work in the rental shop.

“It’s the only way I can afford skiing,” Ryan said of getting a job. “It may be interesting working with the young’uns. Just skiing in the fresh air makes you happy and healthy.”

Ski resort officials are seeking applicants who can provide superior customer service, part of an effort to recast the mountain in a friendlier atmosphere, said Alex Gart, the resort’s vice president of finance. For example, new owners might expect a worker shoveling snow to take the initiative and the time to help a customer remove their skis from their vehicle’s overhead rack, Gart said.

“We’re trying to breathe life into the organization,” he said. “People have been looking for change here, and they never see it. We really want to make sure people are passionate about what they’re doing.”

New owners Andy Daly and Tom and Ken Gart, who purchased the resort in August, announced their plans to sink $800,000 this season into the resort in capital improvements, everything from a newly remodeled women’s restroom to the creation of a half-pipe on the slopes.

Skiers and boarders will get a first look at the improvements with the resort’s tentative opening date, Dec. 15.


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