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Mountain News: Tourism must adapt



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Crested Butte has several new lodging properties, for which more employees are needed. The resort had hoped that employees with H2-B visas would comprise 20 per cent of the workforce. However, the company hopes to fill staff positions with students holding J1 visas. It will be, said general manager Randy Barrett, a case of all hands on deck.

Other resort operators, such as Vail, seem much less distressed about the H2-B visa shortage, owing to more advance work in securing employees.


Mammoth scaled back visas

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, Calif. – Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is certainly aware of the cap of H-2B visas, but The Sheet says nobody at the ski area seems ready to hit the panic button.

“Ever since 9/11, we’ve been preparing for something like this by reducing our dependence on foreign workers, so we’re certainly not freaked out by this,” explained Jack Copeland, the vice president and director of human resources at the Fortress-owned ski area. “It may limit some of the service we can offer, but it’s not going to put us out of business.”

Copeland said of Mammoth’s 92 H-2B applicants who are returning, certified ski instructors, only 40 have been approved.

“We used to have hundreds of foreign employees, particularly Aussies and Kiwis, and we’d like to continue to have some, because we do feel they add some richness, some fun for our guests and other employees. But unlike some other ski areas, we haven’t become too dependent on foreign workers,” he added.


Micro-hydro considered

ASPEN, Colo. – In an effort to walk their talk about reducing their share of greenhouse gas emissions, both Aspen and Pitkin County were scheduled to look at two separate but similar proposals.

The more immediate proposal was before Aspen voters on Tuesday. That proposal was for the city to take on $5.5 million in debt in order to build a new hydroelectric plant on a local creek. Production is expected to be sufficient to supply 600 homes.

The plant had been in use for much of the first half of the 20 th century, but could not compete with the cost of coal-produced electricity. Letters to The Aspen Times indicated only minor opposition to the proposal, mostly from landowners near the plant.

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