Sunburst, Little Switzerland ski resorts open for 'busy winter'
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. -- (CBS 58) 2020 saw a lot of people get outside and try a new hobby as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down a lot of traditional indoor activities.
"Businesses outdoors really excelled last year," said Jennifer Gilmore, general manager at Little Switzerland in Slinger. People who probably wouldn't have tried out sport came here."
It was the same just a few miles north in Kewaskum, where the Sunburst Winter Sports Park saw one of if not its busiest winter in over two decades.
"Skiing was actually a great thing you could come out and do," explained Jeremy Mayer, rental manager at Sunburst. "It's always good to see that many new people come out and enjoy the sport."
Both hills are anticipating a busy 2021/2022 ski and snowboard season, hoping that those who picked up the new hobby last year and veterans to the slopes will all return ready to have a safe, fun time on the hills. With that comes some challenges.
"It's been pretty difficult finding people this year," said Mayer, referring to a shortage of seasonal workers. "With no snow in anyone's backyards, no one really thinks of skiing."
Sunburst owner Rob Friedl says 2021 has been the most difficult year since he took over the hill in 2013 to find workers, but both he and Mayer are optimistic that the positions that are filled will be taken care of, adding that it shouldn't impact operations at the hill.
"Everybody around here jumps in and does whatever needs to be done to get the job done," Friedl explained. "Any of the local high school kids, we'd love to have them come out and work with us."
At Little Switzerland, Gilmore says they've been fortunate this year and aren't facing much of a shortage.
"We have employees that come here as a hobby to work for us, and we also employ a lot of teenage youth," Gilmore said. "We really rely on that seasonal staff."
Both Gilmore and Friedl are excited for what they hope will be a cold, busy, and snowy winter at their respective ski areas.
"We are expecting big numbers," Gilmore said. "We have plenty of space and we are expecting those customers who learned to ski and snowboard last year to bring their friends and teach them."
"It's always a little bit of nail-biting when we get into it," Friedl added. "We're excited for it."
Both ski areas do still have open positions.
To apply at Little Switzerland click the link here: https://www.littleswitz.com/employment
To apply at Sunburst click the link here: https://skisunburst.com/employment/