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September 27, 2006

Picking on Brian Head

The Employment Listings for Brian Head for the Upcoming Season are out. Let's make a bold career move and leave IT to work at the resort:

Position Department Hourly Pay Rate
Ski & Snowboard Instructors Winter Sports School
$6.50
Strong communication skills & ability to teach others. Patient & friendly personality. Intermediate or above skiing or snowboarding ability required. Ensure guest safety and guarantee a good time on the slopes for your clients. Employment is dependent upon applicant passing an on-slope ability test prior.

I will save time and space by summarizing... lots of jobs for line cooks, lift operators, rental shop folks, daycare providers. And all of them pay $6.50 an hour.

BUT, and that is a big BUT, the resort wants the town of Brian Head to subsidize a $10M expansion project (that will probably never get completed) to allow them to make a bunch of new condos Slopeside by paying for a $1M bridge across the main road.

So what is the resort giving back? I just plain don't understand it. I would like to see audited financials from the resort to see where all the money is going. I mean, if they are struggling to make ends meet AND PAYING THEIR EMPLOYEES POVERTY WAGES WITH NO BENEFITS, then perhaps it is not a good investment to spend any more money on the resort at all. If, on the other hand, the owners are doing well AND PAYING POVERTY WAGES, I sure don't see why the town should spend money on improvements. The resort, flat out, is not a good neighbor if they are paying these kind of wages. Why create more $6.50 an hour jobs at a resort where no one can afford to live all so that we can build huge slopeside condos for folks in Vegas to come and spend their Vegas money while our locals make $6.50 an hour. Let the folks from Vegas pay for it in their new Condo prices.

An important part of a resort town is to have locals. The industry has effectively priced locals out of living near the mountain or near their job. The smallest studio condo at Brian Head is $100k. A mortgage on that at say 7% would yield a payment of $700 per month plus Homeowners dues of another $200 give or take. Add in utilities and that is right at $1,000. Let's say that a person makes $6.50 an hour and is lucky enough to work 40 hours a week. That works out to $260 per week before taxes or $1040 per month.

Notice why there are so few locals or the locals we do have don't actually get to enjoy living at a resort because they are working three jobs. The only folks that actually live in Brian Head are either retired, own a business, or are Realtors.

And the resort wants the town to subsidize their industry? Yeah, right. Pony up, Brian Head Resort.

Posted by Justin at September 27, 2006 11:11 PM