Extreme staffing shortage at ski area leads to long lines

December 28, 2021 GMT

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A staff shortage at a city-owned ski area in Alaska where workers are paid less than the state minimum wage contributed to skiers having to wait an hour and a half in line for lift tickets and rentals this month.

“Staffing has been an extreme challenge this year, much more so than previous years,” Dave Scanlan, general manager of the Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau , told KTOO.

Starting hourly pay for lift operators is $9.50, while food service workers at the ski area begin at $8.50 — $1.84 less than the state minimum wage.

The state minimum wage law doesn’t apply to government workers and the the city owns the ski area. Eaglecrest must pay at least the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25.

For the next ski season, Scanlan and his board of directors plan to ask the Juneau Assembly for enough money to bring entry-level pay up to the state minimum wage. That would bring pay in line with national industry norms, he said.

Eaglecrest has also been working on plans to generate more revenue with off-season activities like lift-assisted mountain biking and ziplines.

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This story has been corrected to show that starting pay for lift operators is $9.50, not $8.50.