January 13, 2007
Aspen, CO ColoradoPARK CITY, Utah – The two dozen FBI agents who swarmed Park City Mountain Resort weren’t busting anybody Friday.They weren’t even armed – unless you count the sharp ends of ski poles.With the temperature near zero, agents hit the slopes – some on challenging runs, others on bunny hills – in an unusual drive to publicize the FBI and perhaps attract a few recruits.Many skiers and Park City regulars were perplexed or even a bit unnerved. Some thought the whole effort was nutty. Jokes were flying about agents skiing on the public dime, but nobody seemed to mind.”This is a first for the bureau,” FBI recruiter Carol Covert told agents as they lined up at the base of a chair lift with a new, gleaming 40-foot command truck parked nearby.”So remember, ski and recruit!” she declared. “If this goes well, we’ll do it at other resorts.”The agents dispersed across seven mountain tops, with a top elevation of 10,000 feet. Skiers can be chatty on chair rides, where agents were doing some of the recruiting.Covert said the FBI doesn’t face a particular staff shortage, “but we’re always looking for agents and support staff.” Starting salary for an agent: $52,400 plus location pay.Anyone who snapped photos of agents kicking up the 8 inches of fresh powder here could turn in the images for trinkets, including FBI calculators, patches and pins.”If people see the FBI emblem on the back of a jacket, they might come up and say, ‘Hey, why are you guys from the FBI out here? You’re about the tenth agent I’ve seen,”‘ said Timothy Fuhrman, chief of the Salt Lake City office, which supervises agents in three states.Park City Mountain Resort provided free lift tickets, although about 10 agents had season passes.