The Inertia Gear Editor
Staff
Vail Resorts Announce New Employee Raises

Yesterday, Vail Resorts announced a new $20-per-hour minimum wage for employees at all its resorts for the 2022/2023 season. Photo: Vail Resorts


The Inertia

Apparently Vail Resorts has been listening to criticisms. After getting a barrage of negative feedback from customers and media (including our own Steve Andrews) this season concerning questionable management tactics at its resorts, the company is reportedly responding to – and addressing those criticisms.

Effective for the 2022-2023 snow season, Vail announced yesterday that it will be investing $175 million in employee compensation, raising the minimum employee wages to $20 per hour at all 37 of its North American ski resorts, with adjustments for those higher up the totem pole based on “career stage and leadership differentials.” At Whistler, hourly wages will be raised to CAD $20.00 from CAD $15.20.

This represents a massive increase for workers at Vail resorts across the continent, and an average wage increase of almost 30 percent for hourly employees in North America. Cleveland.com reported that the current minimum wages at all four of Vail’s Ohio ski resorts (Brandywine, Boston Mills, Cedar Point and Alpine Valley) start at $11.25 per hour, with a two-dollar-per-hour bonus for employees who stay the full season. Twenty dollars an hour will be a huge change for workers at these resorts and other resorts with similar levels of compensation around the country.

“To deliver on our mission, we must invest in you and your experience with our company – that starts with competitive compensation,” Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said in an email to employees yesterday. “We cannot create an Experience of a Lifetime for our guests without first creating an Experience of a Lifetime for you – unfortunately, we have fallen short on that.”

In addition to the wage increases, Vail has announced it will “aggressively pursue” the building of affordable employee housing on property that they own, and seek to “expand affordable housing further” at all of its mountain resorts. Furthermore, the company will be investing some four-million dollars in human resources, resulting in an almost 50-percent increase in central HR service staff that will work with resorts to provide a “more personalized experience” for employees.

The Epic Lift Lines Instagram page, which has been reporting exclusively on the troubles Vail Resorts have been experiencing this season recognized the change with the above post, taking to the comments to say that “The push isn’t over ya’ll…Hopefully the significant HR investments announced are a turning point, but we shall see. Announcing (a break in our posting) ensures the media knows that a lack of story posts for a while is not indicative of solved problems. Just teaching VR [Vail Resorts] that positive actions will have positive results. We’re not done. Capacity exists. Thanks to all who support the cause and imperfect process.”

Top comments on the post indicate that while some among the ski and snowboard community are satisfied by the changes, plenty of others still have an issue with the mega-pass model overall, and are skeptical that the raised employee wages will have any impact on the negatives experienced by pass holders and other Vail Resorts visitors. At the very least, it’s a step in the right direction. We’ll surely be watching and reporting how this plays out next season.

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