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Randy Lew  | Published on 7/25/2020


Whereas, President Trump by Executive Order temporarily suspended new foreign worker visas until December 31, 2020, including L-1 visas for intracompany transfers, H-2Bs for temporary non-agricultural workers and most J-1 visas for exchange visitors—which many ski areas and related businesses utilize; and

Whereas, due to the unexpected shutdown caused by the pandemic, this announcement can’t come at a worse time for the winter tourism industry that depends on a foreign, seasonal workforce given the rural, remote location of resort communities; and

Whereas, according to the National Ski Areas Association, last year 51% of the ski resorts could not fill all of their positions and the average number of unfilled jobs at ski resorts was 44—and a much higher number of unfilled positions for larger, destination resorts; and

Whereas, seasonal foreign workers are the drivers of economic growth in our tourist-driven communities by enabling our ski resorts to open fully—lift operators, instructors, food and beverage, housekeeping, snowmakers—and are also invaluable to retail shops, restaurants, lodging properties, and may small businesses throughout ski country; and

Whereas, ski resorts and lodging companies in winter-based economies typically begin the application process for H-2B and J-1 workers in July and August; and the enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 a week set to expire at the end of July could be extended, which would further challenge hiring in rural communities; and

Whereas, these jobs aren’t displacing US workers since college students aren’t typically interested in filling low-skill seasonal positions and aren’t available during the winter months and laid-off workers aren’t packing up and moving to mountain towns due to location, the often temporary nature of such jobs, and the very high cost and difficulty of finding housing; and

Whereas, the entire winter sports tourism industry including ski resorts, lodging properties, restaurants, and retailers, are fighting for their survival in an era of COVID-19, shorter winters and decreasing snowpack,

Therefore, Be It Resolved That Far West Ski Association, representing ten member ski councils, 150 adult recreational ski clubs, and over 50,000 ski club members in the twelve western states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, urges the Trump Administration to immediately cancel the new foreign worker visa suspension and allow visas to be approved and workers hired with enough lead time before the winter tourism season begins.

Passed by the FWSA Board of Directors 7/25/20 

Click for PDF copy of the resolution