The overqualified unemployed now work at Lake Tahoe ski resorts

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 24, 2010 6:03 pm

Unemployed? Join the other 9.7% of America. And then head up to Lake Tahoe–you might just find yourself a job at one of the several ski resorts in the area.

That’s what hundreds of unemployed professionals have found themselves doing. People who have given up hope of finding a new job in their qualified field have moved up to the mountains, shacked up with roommates, and started working for only slightly more than minimum wage.

Ski lift operators, parking lot attendants, ski instructors, chefs…these are the jobs that are available…and they’re being filled fast.

“These applicants were highly qualified and highly motivated, certainly in part because of the state of the economy and the unemployment situation in California,” said Kirstin Cattell, a spokeswoman for the Northstar-at-Tahoe resort near Truckee, Calif. “While many of our employees are perhaps overqualified for their job, everyone is passionate about winter sports.”

Jeff Carl had a retail advertising business that went bankrupt. He sold his home in Aptos, CA for less than what he owed on it, and he moved to Lake Tahoe in 2008. The 46-year-old now works as a ticket-scanning supervisor. He makes 25% of what he did as retail advertiser. “I had my own business, and it got hit very, very hard,” said Carl, a divorced father of two adult children. “I took this job because there was nothing else out there.”

We hear too many stories like Jeff’s.

Don’t go thinking that this a sure-way to employment, however. This past winter, Squaw Valley had 1,000 job openings. They received 3,000 applications.

Times are tough. We do what we can. Best of luck to everyone who’s fallen on hard times.