Last year's lackluster ski season dealt an economic blow to Lake Tahoe resorts and businesses while at the same time creating pent-up demand that could explode into profits if the weather cooperates. Tahoe-area resorts are gearing up for that possibility by hiring as many as 10,000 seasonal workers whose jobs will start when the snow flies.
Most hiring is being done en masse at a series of job fairs that start this weekend with events at Northstar California and at Kirkwood, which will be taking on 1,200 and 750 workers, respectively, and conclude with a Nov. 3 frenzy of hiring at Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA.
Positions range from ski and snowboard instructors to ticket scanners, bus drivers, retail sales staff, parking-lot attendants, groomers, lift operators, janitors and reservation agents. Virtually all positions, even part-time ones, come with an unrestricted season pass.
The influx of workers will provide an economic boost to a region still convulsing in the wake of one of the worst snow years on record.
The 2011-2012 season was "way off, somewhere between 20 and 40 percent" compared with the 8 million resort visits recorded the year before, according to Bob Roberts, spokesman for the California Ski Industry Association.
The seasonal migration of temporary workers to Lake Tahoe also benefits the real estate sector by creating a market for winter "ski leases" of condominiums and second homes. Craigslist's Reno/Tahoe pages are bursting with advertisements for such short-term leases, many of which are taken out by resort workers who team up to put a roof over their heads.
Applicants should check with each hiring resort and follow procedures to obtain an interview on job-fair day. Most require online applications and interview appointments in advance. Walk-ins can apply in some cases, but are not guaranteed an interview.
Here's a rundown of upcoming hiring events at Tahoe's major resorts:
Heavenly Mountain Resort: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 20, California Lodge; apply at http://jobs.vailresorts.com.
Kirkwood: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Red Cliffs building; and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 20, California Lodge, Heavenly Mountain Resort; apply at http://jobs.vailresorts.com.
Northstar California: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday in the Village; apply at http://jobs.vailresorts.com.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 3, Olympic House. Apply at www.squaw.com/job-openings.
Sugar Bowl: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20, Mount Judah Ski Lodge. Apply at www.sugarbowl.com/employment.
Sierra-At-Tahoe: 9 a.m.-2 p.m Nov. 3, Ski and Snowboard School. Apply at www.sierraattahoe.com/employment.
Mount Rose: Will begin hiring Monday. Apply at www.mtrose.com/general-information/employment.