Lifestyle recognition keeps employees coming back in resort towns |

Lifestyle recognition keeps employees coming back in resort towns

David Das, a Safeway employee for 10 years, scans groceries on Thursday. Safeway hasn't had much trouble keeping employees but is offering new incentives this year to try to attract new workers.

Everybody moves to the Fraser Valley for a reason, but most will agree it’s not for the night life.

It’s the mountain lifestyle that draws residents in and keeps them pining for the next big snowstorm through seven months of winter.

But with so many seasonal residents looking for jobs that will cater to their outdoor lifestyle, several local businesses are stepping up to the plate by offering incentives that keep their employees happy. After all, they too understand why their employees decided to make a living in a mountain community.

Restaurants, for instance, already offer flexible hours for powderhounds, but some take it a step further by providing free season lift passes. Fontenot’s Fresh Seafood and Grill offers some of its full-time employees a season pass, and Hernando’s Pizza Pub treats its management to free passes.

Other restaurants in the Valley that are members of the Winter Park/Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce receive discounted season pass rates for employees.

Full-time employees at Rocky Mountain Moonshine, a liquor store in Fraser, receive free season passes, as well as full-time employees at Home James Transportation Services. Some local construction companies offer a six-inch powder rule ” meaning if it snows six inches or more, employees can take the morning off to go and enjoy the new powder.

Grand Sports, a ski and bike shop in Winter Park, offers a season pass for Copper Mountain and Winter Park for all its full-time staff, said owner Dan O’Connell, along with flexible scheduling ” “because I know these guys want to ski,” O’Connell said.

“Split-shifting works in retail. They can ski in the middle of the day while it’s slower, and we have a flexible six-inch powder rule,” he added. “That’s important.”

Another incentive offered by ski and snowboard shops is a discounted purchasing price on sports equipment. Many ski bums end up spending most of their pay check on these items, because they’re usually offered below the wholesale price.

Safeway is trying something new this year to recruit employees in mountain towns, in addition to its flexible schedules and year-round employment. This year, it is offering a free “welcome” backpack of Safeway products, a $200 gift card for working all shifts scheduled from date of hire through Jan. 31, and eligibility to win a month’s worth of groceries.

“Every year there’s a push to get employees. It is challenging to find employees,” said Public Affairs Director Kris Staaf. “This year we really wanted to step it up.”

Many Safeway employees end up staying over 10 years, she added, because of the opportunities offered for career advancement. But to draw them in, Staaf and her public relations staff brainstormed some new ideas this year, she said, “to get people excited.”

But for skiers and snowboarders, Winter Park Resort is the mother lode. Employees who work for the mountain not only receive a season pass to Winter Park, Copper and Steamboat, but they can also ski for free at some other big time ski resorts like Snowmass, A-Basin, Telluride, Aspen and Crested Butte. It also offers vouchers for the YMCA Nordic Center, Devil’s Thumb and SolVista.

Employees at the resort can receive free ski and ride lessons, and discounted equipment.

“I think the resort offers these perks because as much as you love to play, you also have to work really hard,” said Communications Manager Darcy Morse. “So, you get to be rewarded. I think the resort does a good job taking care of its employees, and it keeps people coming back year after year.”

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