Featured, Local News

Killington faces employee shortages, purchases Mendon lodge for foreign workers

By Katy Savage

MENDON—The Mendon Mountain View Lodge will soon house international employees for Killington Mountain Resort.

Powdr purchased the lodge from Ski Mendon Properties, Inc. for $600,000 June 14, according to property records.

About 60 people will live in the 30-room lodge seasonally, said Killington Resort Marketing and Sales Director Rob Megnin. The lodge has a full kitchen, lounge and community area.

This is the first time the resort has purchased a building for international housing.

“This is part of a strategy to attract and retain staff,” said Megnin.

While the unemployment rate has dropped to 2.8 percent in Vermont this July, it’s become more difficult for the resort to find employees.

“The challenge to find staff is very competitive nowadays,” said Megnin.

About 10 percent of the resort’s seasonal staff come from foreign locations each year, said Human Resources Manager Judy Geiger.

The resort has hired about 100 people this year who are college students coming from the Southern Hemisphere and working in Vermont under J-1 visas. Another 100 people are coming from Mexico, unemployed under H-2B visas.

The resort starts a detailed recruiting process in May. To hire people under H-2B visas, the resort has to provide paperwork proving it could not attract enough American employees for the jobs it wants to fill.

“This is not replacing American jobs,” said Geiger. “This is supplementing a lack of local labor for seasonal and temporary work.”

Employees are expected to arrive in November and stay until April. The resort pays foreign workers prevailing wages the government sets based on wage surveys. Geiger said the salaries vary, but all are paid at least the Vermont minimum wage.

“There just isn’t enough labor to fill all the jobs that we have,” said Geiger.

Killington also formed a partnership with Castleton University last year to attract long-term employees.

Killington agreed to guarantee job placement to Castleton students while the college has agreed to provide transportation to and from the mountain.

In the past, the resort has helped employees find housing within walking distance of the resort. The resort pays travel expenses for foreign workers, but they are required to pay rent and other expenses when they get here.

“We’re always needing to find housing on the bus route because most of these people won’t have a car,” said Geiger.

Those who can’t stay at the lodge will stay in housing along Killington Access Road. Tenants will be responsible for rent fees when they arrive.

The lodge has been closed since the summer.

There are minor renovations being done to the infrastructure, said Megnin. The resort purchased new furniture and a new heating system.

“We’re hiring more and Mendon View is making it possible,” said Megnin.

Photo by Polly Lynn Mikula
POWDR purchased the Mendon Mountain View Lodge for $600,000 in June.

3 comments on “Killington faces employee shortages, purchases Mendon lodge for foreign workers

  1. This issue with Killington is that they would rather pay foreigners less money than pay a Local Vermonter. They also can make them pay out the ass for their hotel rooms. I’ve seen it all before. I was a kitchen manager and worked there for 6 years until they laid me off before the foreigners. I wasn’t working for someone like that again!!

  2. Vermont employers will continue to struggle with recruitment so long as the states majority population is over 50 and/or disabled.

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