Ski patroller unions set to grow in Colorado’s consolidating resort industry |

Ski patroller unions set to grow in Colorado’s consolidating resort industry

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun


DENVER — The letter to ski patrollers landed a few days before Vail Resorts told investors it was sitting on $1.4 billion in cash.

The company was not going to include unionized ski patrollers in the end-of-season bonus program, saying the extra cash — up $1,500 — would violate federal law governing labor contract negotiations with the patrollers.

“It sucked hearing that,” said Stuart Griffin, a patroller at Crested Butte Mountain Resort who has worked under three different owners in the past 11 years. “We are out here busting our butts all season long and management has been singing our praises all season long, and they are like, ‘Here are 100 attaboys, but no money.’ Well attaboys don’t pay the bills.”

Vail Resorts management said bonuses for unionized patrollers at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Stevens Pass in Washington and Park City Mountain Resort in Utah would require revising contracts with the unionized workers, which cannot be done without collective bargaining.

A few days after the company reported better-than-expected results for the start of the 2020-21 ski season — telling investors it had close to $2 billion in cash and credit on hand to possibly add to its collection of 37 ski areas — the company switched direction and offered revised contracts to unionized patrollers that included the end-of-season bonuses.


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