New ski resort plans worker housing | AspenTimes.com

New ski resort plans worker housing

J.K. Perry
Vail correspondent

MINTURN – Giving employees a place to live is common for ski resorts. Vail Mountain shelters employees at Timber Ridge while Beaver Creek offers housing at The Tarnes and River Edge.

The Ginn Co. – hopeful developer of a private ski resort on Battle Mountain – expects to do the same. The company proposes to annex 4,300 acres of land into Minturn for development of a private ski resort including 1,700 homes, a golf course and ski terrain.

The resort is expected to employ 776 workers. Under half – 40 percent – might live on site in seasonal and long-term rentals as well as homes available for purchase.

Ginn Co. officials propose 130 to 170 employee units located on Battle Mountain and Gilman, where the homes will mimic current structures. All these units are in addition to the 1,700 homes the company hopes to build for its residents. The Ginn Co. plans to offer down-payment assistance and other assistance programs such as Habitat for Humanity.

Employees not living on site – about 60 percent or 465 employees – are expected to commute to the resort; 70 percent from Lake County and 30 percent from Eagle County.

A significant portion of Lake County’s population resides in Leadville. Of 2,688 Leadville residents, nearly half commute to jobs outside of the county, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Some people expect their fellow Leadville residents to seek employment closer to home at the private ski resort.

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Kathy Albers foresees people – especially Hispanics working outside Leadville – shifting from jobs in Eagle County to ones at the private resort. But the resort needs to lure residents with transportation shuttles so they don’t have to drive on sometimes treacherous Highway 24, said Albers, who owns the coffee shop Provin Grounds in Leadville.

Leadville resident Liz DaSilva enjoys the massage business she works for in Vail. It would take something more than a close commute – such as an employee-friendly company – to draw her and other residents away from their current jobs.

“I don’t think it would make it any more attractive as far as the commute goes,” she said. “I guess it would just depend on the resort and the type of people who are managing.”

While the private resort is expected to draw Eagle County workers, some employees currently working at similar areas such as Vail and Beaver Creek might not be willing to give up their jobs.

Tom Keating recently moved to the valley from New Jersey. He is a lift operator for Beaver Creek and wouldn’t be interested in working at the private resort on Battle Mountain.

“It seems like Vail and Beaver Creek do a good job taking care of our employees,” Keating said.

The job at Beaver Creek gets him a season skiing pass for six mountains, something the Ginn Co. might not be able to match, he said. It would take a substantial incentive – Keating doesn’t know exactly what – to lure him to a job at the private ski resort.

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