Deer Valley Furloughs 290 Positions Due to Early Season Closure
As the mountain resort industry remains at a standstill due to COVID-19, Alterra Mountain Company – the owner of Deer Valley Resort - has made adjustments to maintain its financial viability, resulting in the furlough of nearly 300 employees.
In a recent internal memo to all Alterra staff, CEO Rusty Gregory wrote that while the company is well capitalized and maintains a very high level of liquidity to help get through difficult times, this situation is unprecedented.
He added that while he is hopeful to reopen this summer and optimistic that their resorts will be open for the winter, the fact is no one knows when this will be over.
The company he said was reacting aggressively to the prospect of zero revenue for the foreseeable future. As a result, according to Deer Valley Communications Manger Emily Summers, 290 full-time year-round Deer Valley hourly and salaried staff April 4th were either furloughed or had their hours reduced.
About 160 members of the year-round staff were left untouched. The changes will remain in place till further notice.
Staff members affected by a reduction or elimination of their hours will be able to retain their health care benefits and can use paid time off to supplement their pay. They are also eligible for state and federal unemployment compensation and Summer says they will keep their seniority and employment status when they return to work.
“That’s the goal,” Summers said. The goal to have them, have their job to come back to.”
Those still employed full time says they’re doing what they would be normally do this time of year. Since there is no indication when business will resume this summer. those involved in the summer operations though are on hold, for now.
“No one wanted to see this ski season cut short or end in this way and obviously a very difficult decision for everyone and so we’re just hoping that things will turn around faster and we can get people back to work,” she said.
Every Alterra owned resort is affected by this but what positions were affected was determined by the management of the individual resort.
Gregory said he will go without a paycheck until all year-round staff members return to work. All other employees who are working will receive their full pay rate for now. As the situation evolves, Gregory said, that could change.
Operational expenses have been cut across the board, and more than half of the ambitious capital expenditure plans Alterra unveiled earlier this year have been postponed to preserve cash.
Here locally, Deer Valley Resort staff doesn’t know how these decisions will impact the recently announced plans to spend millions renovating Snow Park Lodge. Summer says they expect to know more soon.
This comes a week after Vail Resorts announced they were laying off nearly 400 local employees after the coronavirus forced an early end to the ski season. They too will retain full health care coverage from the company. Unlike Deer Valley though Vail resorts salaried employees saw pay cuts ranging from 5% to 25% for the most senior executives. Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said he is giving up his own salary for the next six months.