Some Ski Resorts Struggled to Hire Workers After Four Years of Drought

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SODA SPRINGS --

Another snow storm brought heavy, wet snow to much of the Sierra on Tuesday. The wet snow turned into some nice powder for ideal skiing at the upper elevations of many ski resorts.

“The forecast for El Nino to be growing even more ... we have 13 inches in this current storm, we’re supposed to get two feet, and we have 18 feet at the top, so its only going to get better," said Peter Avedschmidt, who works with Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

It made for tough road conditions for travelers and commercial truckers. The break out ski season has also put a premium on ski resort workers.

"Because of the drought the last four years or so, it’s hard to get work up here," said Donner Ski Ranch owner Janet Tuttle.

Tuttle said she needs extra workers because skiers are coming up in droves.

“The season started out great for us, it's the best on record," Tuttle said.

Although she gives priority to hiring locals, the seasonal nature of the work has caused her to turn to foreign college students on three-month work visas. She has 60 students on staff from Peru, where they are on their summer break.

Many have never seen snow before. But others are right at home like Ivan Cruz.

“In Peru I work with the snow, so I know how to work with this," said Cruz, who works in the rental shop.

Tuttle said the work is often hard and in tough weather conditions. But the job continues to attract young seasonal workers from all over the country, and the world, who are more interested in a winter adventure in the mountains than on wages. Most resort workers get free ski passes. Cruz and his fellow Peruvian students see it as a cultural experience, as well.

"It’s just amazing, we work with people, we meet people, we are improving our English, so ... it’s really fun," Cruz said.

Applications for resort jobs started coming in once potential workers realized that the snow was for real.

Sugar Bowl Ski Resort is now fully staffed.

“We’re doing really well on staff, everyone is getting their hours, as you can see, we’re open wall to wall, nine lifts running and everyone is busy, " said Avedschmidt.