Fall survey shows patrollers1 dissatisfaction with ski area | SummitDaily.com

Fall survey shows patrollers1 dissatisfaction with ski area

by Jane Stebbins

BRECKENRIDGE<Ski patrollers said Monday they cannot discuss how they feel about the 3 percent raise the unionized group accepted last week, but they had a lot to say about Vail Resorts in an employee survey conducted earlier this season.The survey was conducted to determine areas in which the resort, its operations and management can be improved. It was taken Feb. 14 before Vail officials announced they would be giving 3 percent raises to about 14,000 employees at Keystone, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Vail and various other resort holdings. At the time, ski patrollers at the Breckenridge resort were in negotiations for a raise and an equipment allowance, and weren1t happy about how those talks were proceeding.Sentiments submitted by 43 patrollers were summarized in three pages faxed anonymously to the Summit Daily News.3It1s not scientific; it1s not based on anything other than what people feel like saying, said Rick Sramek, vice-president of mountain operations. 3You do the surveys in the hope you1ll get information that1ll cause you to make some changes.That1s worked in the past. In the early 1990s, employees complained about a new grooming policy that prohibited beards; the policy was subsequently changed. Employees also said finding affordable housing was a major problem for them; the ski area later built $16 million worth of housing.The vast majority of comments in the survey showed the displeasure patrollers had last fall with Vail Resorts<and in particular, the bonuses CEO Adam Aron and president Andy Daly received at the beginning of the season.3I1m not a business person, and may not understand how it all works, wrote one patroller in the survey. 3But I don1t understand how people in management sleep at night knowing most patrollers are living paycheck to paycheck while they sit back and collect their $2 million bonuses. I believe greed is one of the seven sins.Some said they felt unappreciated, but would stick with the job because they loved it.3We are all trying to make a living in a very expensive area, one wrote. 3We love what we do and where we live and we want to stay. Please make it easier to do that.Others said the company used Sept. 11 as an excuse to freeze raises.But, Sramek said ski patrollers don1t realize how good they have it.3Look at the benefit package, he said. 3Nobody in the industry gets what they do: paid time off, COBRA bridging, sick pay, an equipment allowance. If people want to be pissed off about it, it1s unfortunate. But the world is what the world is.Jane Stebbins can be reached at 668-3998 ext. 228 or jstebbins@summitdaily.com.

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