CBMR aware of the housing crunch as season approaches

Housing considered a challenge but hopes a wage increase helps…

[ by Mark Reaman ]

Crested Butte Mountain Resort will start spinning the chairlifts in about 80 days and like any business in the valley there is some concern about having enough employees and finding housing for those seasonal workers. As the largest employer in the North Valley, CBMR is impacted by the housing crisis as much as anyone.

“Securing affordable housing in mountain communities, including those where we operate, has been a challenge – one that Vail Resorts is continuously working to navigate for our employees across all of our resorts,” said CBMR communications manager Will Shoemaker. “We’re actively exploring different options and maximizing our resources both internally and in our communities for seasonal employee housing. This includes exploring different master lease options. While these efforts will not solve the problem for all CBMR employees, we believe they are a significant step in the right direction.”

Vail Resorts has approximately 55,000 employees throughout the world and while the corporation doesn’t publicize the number of employees at individual resorts, it is safe to say it reaches into the hundreds at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (or at least more than 10 and less than 55,000). Shoemaker said one element that might help workers is putting more money into the pocketbooks of those employees.

“We’re committed to investing in our employees,” he said. “The largest single investment Vail Resorts will make ahead of this coming ski and snowboard season is a wage increase, including a $15 per hour minimum wage as well as increased earnings for other hourly employees. In the spring, we implemented an end-of-season bonus available to more than 28,000 year-round and seasonal employees up to $1,500.

“We’re actively working on affordable housing solutions for our employees, and I hope to be able to share more as we get closer to the season,” he continued. “While we’ve made good progress, what we know is that affordable housing is a community-wide challenge that can’t be solved by any one entity alone.”

CBMR is one of four partners along with Gunnison County and the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte in the 14-acre Corner at Brush Creek parcel that is being eyed as a location for affordable housing development. There were indications as development plans were being discussed that the ski area was working with the potential developer of the project to sign master leases guaranteeing rents.

“Finding long-term affordable housing options in our communities requires strong collaboration between local governments, employers, community members and developers – and finding solutions needs to continue to be a priority for everyone going forward,” Shoemaker said. “We need to embrace the viable projects here in our community that add more beds and more affordable options. Our partnership with our local communities has made a tremendous difference in solving challenges like those associated with affordable housing, and we’ve seen that it’s pivotal for our communities to welcome members of the workforce as their neighbors. We believe solution-oriented thinking and collaborative partnerships like these are essential in addressing this issue across our mountain resort communities.”

CBMR did donate proceeds from the public auction of Peachtree Lift chairs to the local Valley Housing Fund. This auction took place August 6-7 and Shoemaker said the event went very well, with bidding totaling a little over $65,000 raised for the Valley Housing Fund.

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