Mountain News: 

Polish students staff Four Seasons hotel

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — The new Four Seasons hotel in Jackson Hole aims for the top notch in customer service, and to do it staff members are recruiting workers from abroad. For summer, they are drawing students from Poland, For winter, the employees are going to Chile and Peru. About 50 foreign employees are hired during each season.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide explains that several agencies, such as the Student Adventures in Poland, arrange work placements with companies in the United States. Students can obtain work permits, called J1 visas, for four months for the first visit or for up to 18 months for subsequent employment.

For the Polish students, the work experience in Jackson Hole gives them an advantage in later securing employment with Four Seasons resorts in Europe. In Jackson Hole, the Polish students work up to 80 hours but get paid $10 an hour for work that might pay $2 an hour in Poland.

Ketchum honors second-home owner

KETCHUM, Idaho — Back in the mid-century, before "second-home owner" became a demonized phrase, Ernest Hemingway spent part of each year in Ketchum, the town made famous by the Sun Valley ski area. There, he fished and hunted and wrote the better part of several novels, including For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Finally, despondent by illness and mental illness, he killed himself in 1961. Since then, writers both famous and not have made pilgrimages to Ketchum to pay homage to his writing at a memorial erected along the banks of an irrigation ditch. "Best of all he loved the fall, the leaves on the cottonwoods, leavings floating in the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies," the memorial says, quoting from one of Hemingway’s own novels.

Now, Ketchum is seeking to capitalize on the writer’s fame by holding the first Ernest Hemingway festival. Events include lectures and discussions by national scholars, a short-story contest, a tour of his old hangouts, and other ways of paying tribute and drawing visitors.

Ketchum often delves into its past for festival storylines. In early September, the town hosts Wagon Days, when a parade of more than 100 non-motorized vehicles recall the wagons used to haul ore from the mines of the region to smelters and railroad cars. Another festival, held in October, is called Trailing of the Sheep, recalling the era when sheepherders drove bands of sheep from the high mountain pastures to trains waiting to take them to markets.

Such festivals, explains the Idaho Mountain Express, are more than entertainment. "Communities that don’t know of their origins and the hardscrabble existence of those who carved out the first signs of a town have no sense of tradition or pride that goes along with honoring the past."

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