Like many businesses in the Mad River Valley, Sugarbush Resort has been impacted by employees’ challenges finding workforce housing.
“Finding affordable rental housing (seasonal or year-round) is very difficult in the MRV and has been getting more difficult over time,” wrote Sugarbush spokesperson John Bleh in an email that represented comments from multiple resort departments, including planning and human resources.
“We estimate we were not able to house 25 employees this past season. The demand for short-term rentals and expensive seasonal rentals out-compete middle- and lower-income wage workers. Our Employee Services Department fields housing inquiries from staff and potential staff regularly. Being able to offer workforce housing to employees, along with our $15 starting wage, helps Sugarbush be an employer of choice in Vermont and the New England ski industry,” he said.
He explained that the resort will house approximately 50 employees this summer, roughly 80% of whom will be seasonal employees. Next ski season, it plans to house approximately 150 employees in nine Sugarbush-owned facilities along with additional rented facilities. Representatives said this number is similar to the number of employees housed on-site for the recent ski season.
“New workforce housing is in the preliminary planning phase but will not be operational for 2022-23,” Bleh said. “We are working closely with Alterra, our parent company, to develop a draft proposal to share with the town of Warren and the community in the next several months. We are keeping in touch with the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition and MRVPD as we plan for additional workforce housing at Sugarbush.”