Big White Ski Resort looks to locals to fill jobs for the upcoming ski season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Big White Ski Resort looks to locals to fill jobs for the upcoming ski season

Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Big White Ski Resort
August 24, 2020 - 11:39 AM

Local workers are going to have to step up to help Big White run smoothly this year.

The ski resort employs upwards of 1,400 staff, both full-time and part-time, every ski season to keep the resort running smoothly. Many of them arrive from other countries on work visas.

This year, however, with international travel curtailed, every department at the resort will be relying on local and domestic employees, the resort said in a press release.

“It’s like reverting back to the '80s when we would go on hiring clinics through the prairies to find groomer drivers, rental shop personnel, lift operators, and other on-mountain team members," Michael J. Ballingall, senior VP at Big White Ski Resort said in the release.

To get a good understanding of what the resort is facing, Big White staff said that the usual ski season sees Canadian employees make up slightly more than 30 per cent of the workforce, Australians make up nearly 40 per cent, British make up typically 10 per cent and the remaining employees come from anywhere from Estonia to Malaysia to South Africa.

It's unclear how many of the 70 per cent of jobs usually made up by visitors will need to be filled, considering Big White will be hiring fewer staff this season due to COVID protocols that will limit indoor capacities and housing arrangements. But the resort still needs to fill positions that are integral to opening.

Big White’s priority is to find Canadians to work in lift operations, and secondly, certified ski and snowboard instructors.

It is also looking for people to work in food and beverage, rentals, retail, repairs and central reservations.

Big White is also faced with finding accommodation for all of its employees. During the 2019/2020 season, the resort completed construction of new staff accommodation for 192 staff members. With COVID-19 protocols, that number will be cut in half, and the maximum number of people per room at other staff accommodation around the mountain will be reduced to two.
 
That means the resort will need to house staff in Kelowna, or rely on Kelowna-based employees, and bus everyone back and forth for shifts.
 
“Canadians will enjoy spending a winter in a resort like Big White,” Ballingall said. “Even if you have to work a few shifts a week, the skiing is awesome.”
 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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