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Only a Story of a Fish


Raising Minimum Wage at Vail Resorts


Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.

~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


The lifties stand by the terminal at the bottom of the lift on a rainy late season day. They wonder why they took this job just to do the same monotonous task all day. The minimum wage at Vail Resorts is too low. The employees should be able to pay for housing near the mountain, earn enough to support their families, and be able to start off in a new country. Everyone who is not a manager in vail resorts is not living an easy life.

    No one can work if they have no place to stay. Short term rental services have made it tough for employees to find long term housing. Air bnb, VRBO, and similar services have made it hard for the workers to find housing because homeowners can make more money doing short term rentals instead of season long rentals. This also means that there are more tourists in the small ski towns, which creates the need for more workers who are not there because they couldn’t find housing. An excerpt from The Colorado Sun talks about this issue in Crested Butte. 

“‘We are seeing our community suffer. We are seeing our business owners close their doors and struggle to keep staff. Burnout is high. Turnover is high,’ said Emily Scott Robinson,” The Colorado Sun

The short term rentals are essentially overloading the small economies of ski towns. Though the landlords are making more money, this means the employees have to live farther away from the mountain where they can afford housing but have a longer commute. I heard about this from a current member of the Attitash park crew who worked at Bretton Woods for a few seasons. While he worked at Bretton Woods he was living in Pennsylvania because he did not want to buy a house near the mountain. Vail needs to raise its minimum wage so their employees can afford housing in these overrun ski town economies, let alone support a family in one of these towns.

    People want a job that can support their family, even though Vail Resorts pays just enough for this. Before the 2021/2022 Vail Resorts raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour, this is an improvement but still only $48,816 in a year. That is barely enough to support a family of four with two adults and two kids. An article by that was written before the season goes into depth about the pay of Vail workers by Outside Business Journal 

“Vail said its hourly minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour, effective for the 2021/22 winter season, at 10 resorts across Colorado, California, Utah, and Washington. The company also plans to increase the minimum entry wage an average of 37 percent across its Eastern resorts. This includes raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour at destination resorts in New York and Vermont,” Outside Business Journal 

Vail raising their minimum wage is a step in the right direction but it should still be more because the work that most of the workers are doing is tough work. Also Vail Resorts announced that for every employee that works the whole season that started before January first will get two extra dollars they worked at the end of the season. When Vail Resorts raised the minimum wage we saw some good but there should be more and they should raise the minimum wage to help the international employees.

    Many employees are from other countries and have to start from the beginning. The minimum wage should be raised so the international employees can start their life in America. Every year many employees from other countries such as Peru and Argentina come over to America to work for Vail Resorts. In the past few years this number has decreased because of Visa problems. When these people are in America they need money to put the roots in and start off in America because they do not have a foundation already in place from growing up in America. The Summit Daily wrote a super informative article all about the different statistics concerning international employees of Vail Resorts.

“Vail Resorts has roughly 16,000 employees in its entire company – that includes its lodging brand RockResorts, Heavenly in Lake Tahoe and Grand Teton Lodge Company. Of those 16,000 employees, about 4 percent are international, Ladyga said.” The Daily Summit

With Vail having a ton of employees from other counties raising the minimum wage would help them significantly. It could allow them to find housing close to the mountain and pay for travel. If the minimum wage was higher it support the international employees even more then the domestic employees. If someone shows the dedication to come to America and work for Vail they deserve a higher minimum wage to help them start off in a new country.

    Vail Resorts should raise their minimum wage so all their employees get an opportunity to live a good life.


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Aiden LaCamera

I like your essay Pete. You got strait to the point and you really crushed your theme, it was spread throughout your essay. I like how you educated yourself and knew what you were writing about. Great job.


Pete, even though I don’t agree with your argument, I love how you used an example from Vail Resorts on how they should pay more. I also love how you used opportunities as your theme because raising minimum gives more opportunities. Your hammered home your theme well. Good Job!


Great job Pete! I liked how you wrote your essay on a skiing related topic. I think it made it better because something you care about and are interested in. I also liked how you used an example of a park member you knew that lived far away from the mountain he worked at. This was a good example of the issue and was powerful. Great job!


Good essay, Pete. Something I noticed about your essay was how you used ethos and pathos effectively. You made me feel bad for the workers and want them to get a change and you backed it up with facts. One sorta flaw that I caught on to was that most people(not all) working a monotonous job at a ski resort are not raising a family of four. It still is unfair and keep up the good writing


Great job Pete. Your essay was clear and well thought out. Your intro got me hooked in and wanting to read more. Although Ski wages are not my main concern, I found this essay fun to read. Great use of specific examples.


Nice job Pete, you did a great job arguing your point. You also did an awesome job of balancing numbers and words. Your points were also very solid. You nailed this essay Pete!

Alexander Murdough

Pete while you got straight to the qoutes and facts, there are still questions to be asked. Such as does someone working a lift really deserve lots of money? I think that is more of a lifestyle thing, if someone wants to do better for themselves, they should go out and try, not settle for working a chairlift, or sweeping a hallway.


Great job pete. This essay was very informative and it helped me learn more about minimum wage and ski resorts. It was very clear and concise. I thought you had a great intro which lead me on to continue reading and you also had a great conclusion which left me thinking after reading.

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