WARREN, Vt. (WCAX) – Vermont ski industry officials say area resorts have been struggling for several years to find housing for their employees. Sugarbush over the past several years has been at the forefront of finding a solution and is now planning a significant new investment.
Sugarbush officials say finding places to house their seasonal workers has been an ongoing challenge. They are now using rooms at 11 different properties across the Mad River Valley to house upwards of 200 employees.
“My house is Sugarbush Inn on the access road,” said Moni Molinas, a Sugarbush lift operator for the past two winters. She says even though the resort is struggling, the rooms she has been using are great. “It’s big, big housing. It’s beautiful. We all have our own rooms — room for four, and I love it.”
But using those rooms for employees instead of guests also hurts the resort’s bottom line. And some of the employee housing has plumbing problems.
“We did have an issue with some water supply — some properties being brought in — but that’s being addressed as we speak,” said the resort’s J.J Toland. He says they are in the process of coming up with a solution to house their existing employees and an additional 50. “Two separate projects to address the challenge. One is a four-level project of 167 single bedrooms, and 16 studio apartments. The other is a mix of two, four, and six-bedroom homes.”
The projects are in the early stages. Sugarbush doesn’t have an exact number of how much they will cost or how long they will take to build but they’ll both be located just off the access road.
Sugarbush is not alone and Ski Vermont says the problem has been on their radar for some time. “We’ve definitely been seeing that in the ski business. The housing piece has become increasingly important in recent years. We’ve had such a crunch on housing availability that has just gotten worse,” said the group’s Molly Mahar.
If approve, Sugarbush officials say they hope to start building by summer.