Skiers on the Boomerang Chair at Fernie Alpine Resort. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Skiers on the Boomerang Chair at Fernie Alpine Resort. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Excitement in the air for upcoming ski season despite FAR staff shortage

Skiers and borders are gearing up for opening day at the hill

Opening day at the Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) is around the corner and excitement is building among powder shredders of all types for the that first tear of the season.

If all goes well and enough of the rain turns to snow, Saturday, Dec. 4 is the big day. As of Monday (Nov. 29), the forecast is rain and shine all the way up to the weekend.

Those who arrive at the mountain early enough might catch a glimpse of snowboard veteran Greg “G-Money” Barrow emerging from his tent to be first in line when the lift starts its inaugural turn for the winter. He plans to camp overnight the day before the hill opens, as he has done for the past 20 years straight.

The lifts are set to open at 9 a.m.

READ MORE: 20 years of first chair: G-Money celebrates upholding his decades-long tradition

Matt Mosteller, senior vice president with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR), said they are “stoked” for the winter.

“This is a coveted time that all skiers and riders look forward to! We are also giving thanks to the community of Fernie and all of the passionate skiers and riders who live here,” he said.

FAR is also celebrating 60 years in operation, he said.

“This is a milestone that has taken tremendous dedication, hard work and passion to reach — a tribute to our current and past team members and all of our friends and family in the community who have made this milestone possible.”

He said to “stay tuned for exciting details” on what they’ll be doing this winter to celebrate.

The resort has seen a lot of interest this season from skiers and borders in Canada and around the world. “Friends” from the U.S.A, Australia, the U.K., and some parts of Europe will be returning to the hill, but Mosteller says “for the most part” they are looking forward to their guests from Canada.

“We have seen tremendous interest and bookings from across Canada and are excited to see the return of many from Quebec and Ontario this season.”

Staffing shortage

As for staff, Mosteller has acknowledged that FAR is having trouble filling their roster for the season. A scan of the RCR’s “Available Careers” web page suggests the same.

The “Winter Outdoor” section has 12 job descriptions posted for Fernie. The “Winter Indoor” section has 36 descriptions posted for the city. The “Winter Operations 2020/21” section has one job description posted. The “Year Round” section has five postings, and the “Current Opportunities” section has one. That’s a total of 55 job descriptions posted for Fernie, which doesn’t equate to the exact amount of workers that are needed.

“We are still highly active in promoting job opportunities for this winter and have seen a good uptick in applicants and confirmed team members,” he said.

Mosteller didn’t give much away when it comes to how many roles FAR still needs to fill one week out from opening day, but he said that hospitality was a sticking point.

“It is still too early to tell exactly as the situation changes daily. Our team is preparing a variety of ways to deliver the best service and experience possible. While roles are available across the ski area, the areas that continue to have greatest need are food and beverage and hospitality.”

READ MORE: FAR adding beds in effort to aid workforce housing shortage


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