Tamarack employee at work at top of lift

An employee at Tamarack Resort near Donnelly smooths the snow at the top of a chairlift in this file photo from the winter of 2014. Idaho ski resorts, like those across the nation, are offering additional pay and incentives this year to attract seasonal employees in a tight job market. Employees typically hired for the season range from lift operators to ski instructors to cashiers, food service workers and snow groomers.

With U.S. unemployment falling to a 50-year low in September and Idaho’s rate even lower, it could be a big challenge for a nonprofit ski resort to have to hire 500 seasonal workers before winter. Like ski resorts across the country, Bogus Basin northeast of Boise has dealt with the tough labor market by raising pay and adding perks, and the ski resort is not alone. Idaho ski resorts are offering employee housing, sweetening the traditional benefit of a free season ski pass by adding family benefits and offering other enticements — everything from end-of-season bonuses and a ride to the resort to free on-site child care.

Bogus Basin raised its minimum wage for most positions to $10 an hour this year.

“That certainly seems to have helped,” said resort spokeswoman Susan Saad.

And Bogus already has hired 400 of the 500 seasonal workers it needs for the season. Brundage, Tamarack and Sun Valley also are in the midst of hiring hundreds of seasonal workers. You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's Sunday/Monday edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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