Big White Ski Resort significantly changes hiring strategy

Big White's hiring challenge

As Big White Ski Resort adjusts to the reality of tourism in a world with COVID-19, they're also having to adjust their staffing model for the upcoming ski season.

Limited international travel and visa restrictions have heavily impacted the ability of non-Canadians to fill positions at the ski resort, which traditionally hires many workers on temporary work visas. 

Local and domestic employees have made up about 30 per cent of the workforce in previous ski seasons, with the remaining 70 per cent made up by international workers. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big White employed up to 1,400 full-time and part-time staff to keep operations running at the resort.

“It’s like reverting back to the 80s, when we would go on hiring clinics through the prairies to find groomer drivers, rental shop personnel, lift operators, and other on-mountain team members,” says Big White senior vice-president Michael J. Ballingall.

He's hoping Canadians will take interest in the idea of working a season at the ski resort, especially those based in Kelowna.

Ballingall says the resort will need to house staff in Kelowna, and bus everyone back and forth for shifts, due to the other problem they're currently facing - limited availability at on-mountain accommodation facilities. 

During the 2019/2020 season, Big White completed construction of new staff accommodation at Black Forest, boasting four buildings that could house 192 staff members.

However, as a result of the pandemic, that number has been halved, and the maximum number of people per room at other staff accommodation facilities on the mountain will be reduced to two. 

Priority roles that need to be filled as soon as possible include lift operations and certified ski and snowboard instructors. 

The resort also needs to fill roles in Food and Beverage, Rentals, Retail, Repairs and Central Reservations. 

“Canadians will enjoy spending a winter in a resort like Big White,” Ballingall says. “Even if you have to work a few shifts a week, the skiing is awesome.”

To view current positions available, and for more information on working a ski season at Big White, click here

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