This holiday weekend, Maine ski areas may be open and fully functioning — but they’re not fully staffed. Sunday River in Newry is advertising hundreds of open positions, including snowmakers and lift operators.
“We’re hiring for lots of positions, but that’s just kind of the nature of this beast,” said Sunday River spokesperson Darcy Lambert.
She said a seasonal worker shortage is nothing new. Ski areas, restaurants, hotels and other tourism-related businesses have been struggling to find skilled workers in recent years.
Filling those positions this winter may be an uphill battle. Maine’s workforce is shrinking and aging, and the state’s unemployment rate has hit an all-time low.
Sunday River has started new strategies to recruit help. They’re offering referral bonuses to employees, between $100-$300. Workers have new housing options, and will receive a season-pass for skiing.
Lambert said despite those open positions, skiers shouldn’t see a difference in their Sunday River experience.
“You’ll never notice it operationally,” she said.
Skiers spending their holiday weekend hitting the slopes seemed satisfied with the resort and its winter conditions.
“Great conditions, lots of snow,” said Ryan Waystack. “It’s man-made but it’s better than nothing.”
“We have a nice, early start to the season,” said Patrick Sullivan. “It’s great.”