Epic crowds are colliding with epic labor shortages at ski areas

As a record number of pass holders arrive at Vail Resorts ski areas, a critical labor shortage and quarantined workers has delayed terrain openings and cut services, spurring a backlash among workers and local skiers

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
The line was long on Dec. 28 at Vail's Chair 5.
Scott Willoughby/Special to The Colorado Sun

Alex Kaufman thought it would be an amusing website. Something to poke fun at the largest resort operator in North America.

So he bought for $12 last March, just as Vail Resorts announced a plan to slash the price of its popular Epic Pass by 20%.

“I thought ‘Oh, this could become a thing. This could be a situation,'” said Kaufman, who worked in the ski industry and at resorts in New England, Oregon and Colorado for 20 years.

It has become a situation. The EpicLiftLines Instagram page has grown into a nationwide vent for thousands of resort workers, most of them, he said, employed by Vail Resorts, which owns 34 ski areas in 14 states and Canada. The website gets thousands of clicks a day. The EpicLiftLines Instagram handle has more than 15,000 followers, even though Kaufman made only a handful of posts. Kaufman this fall started getting dozens of direct messages a day. Last week, he said the account was getting “a thousand every day.”

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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