Letter: Vail Resorts must provide living wages, housing
This is in response to the recent letter from Dave Thomas from Chicago. Dave, while I agree that Vail Resorts has made positive investments in our ski resorts, as a visitor you don’t understand the crisis in our community.
Eagle and Summit counties are in the midst of a historic housing crisis. The workers who operate the chairlifts, prepare the slopes, cook and serve your meals and prepare your après-ski cocktail, the very humans who make your mountain experience so enjoyable, cannot afford to live here because rents have skyrocketed. Current rent on Zillow for a T2: $2,400 (Breckenridge) and $2,600 (Avon).
Most employees cannot afford such a price. Vail Resorts’ starting salary is $15 an hour, which equates to $31,200 per year full-time. According to the recommended guidelines (maximum 1/3 of income), a person should not exceed $866 per month in rent. Do employees have to stack three bodies in a one-bedroom apartment to make ends meet?
Vail Resorts shall assume corporate responsibility and provide adequate permanent and seasonal housing to meet workforce needs; however, they have demonstrated time and time again that they put profits before people.
Locals see the drop in quality of operations because we experience it daily. 2.1 million Epic Passes have been sold this season. With record sales, how is the reduction in ski lift operations justified?
Perhaps Vail Resorts managers should consider offering a competitive salary so they can continue to operate the resorts at previously established levels? If Vail Resorts does not improve the treatment of employees, I predict that your future visits will not be as enjoyable as the number of employees dwindles when they can no longer afford to live in our beautiful mountain paradise.