1900 workers sought for winter ski season Mountains guarantee housing for seasonal workers By Andy Stonehouse The joint forces of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are on the look-out for a few good people — 1,900 employees, to be exact. A huge cast of full-time, part-time and volunteer employees are being sought for the upcoming ski season, with the ski company’s recruitment fair to run between Sept. 21 and Oct. 31. Gord Ahrens, director of employee experience for the mountains, said this year’s recruitment drive promises to be the biggest on record. "We’re looking for about 10 per cent more people than we did last year, mostly for ski and snowboard school positions, plus more employees for the new Roundhouse Lodge," he said. "We’ve projected business growth in all areas of our operation, and about a five per cent growth in skier visits." Ahrens said new staff will also be sought to operate Whistler Mountain’s newest lift, the new high-speed quad Peak Chair, and the modified Franz’s Chair serving the area below. Recruitment staff will be accepting applications from potential employees at Whistler/Blackcomb’s main offices, near the Kids’ Camp area at the Blackcomb base, with help on hand seven days a week. Ahrens said the mountain’s biggest enticement for employees this year is a guarantee of housing for everyone hired for the winter, thanks to a new and stable pool of private rentals available to mountain staff. "We are able to guarantee 1,065 beds that we know we’ll have... we had enough that we didn’t even fill them all during the last season. We’ve also arranged to rent 40 private houses, which will add another 205 beds. It’s all started to change the perception that there’s not enough housing availability for people who want to work here." Those same rental homes are now coming back on a regular and recurring basis, a development Ahrens credits to good support from the community and the acknowledgement that Whistler/Blackcomb can provide reliable and accountable tenants for local rental properties. The company has also spent $500,000 on renovations to its existing staff housing in the Benchlands, which will mean fewer roommates sharing units there and at the Nordic and Brio complexes. Depending on the unit, employees can choose accommodations which range between $8.25 and $15 a night, with full laundry and cooking facilities available at each. Ahrens said Whistler/Blackcomb will be advertising across the entire country during the recruitment period, but said that no trips are planned to spread the mountains’ message. "We managed to have a full staff last year. Now we know that if we want good people, we need to have the beds, so we’re ahead of the game. We offer people a job, a ski pass, a place to stay and a variety of social events — it’s a whole package." Until the recruitment drive officially begins, interested employees can hear about jobs currently offered by the mountains by calling the job line at 938-7367.