Mountain News 

It’s still not 1999, but labour market tightens

Compiled by Allen Best

VAIL, Colo. — The "help wanted" sections are still looking anemic in ski towns, very much unlike the story about five years ago when the common joke was that the primary qualification for most positions was merely a pulse – and even that was negotiable.

However, there is some evidence that the employee market is tightening, reports the Vail Daily. Indeed, while the newspaper did not say so, the surprise would be if the labour market were still loose. Real estate sales in the Vail area are skyrocketing once again, and redevelopment that will eventually cost $1 billion has commenced at the base areas for Vail Mountain.

Still, the human resources director for Vail Resorts, which is both the ski area operator and the largest real estate developer, sees recruitment this year being similar to last year. "I think we’re still in for a pretty good recruiting season," said Rick Smith. "It won’t be like five years ago."

Vail Resorts has 1,200 full-time employees and 4,800 part-time employees locally.

Bears getting aggressive

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. — Bruins are getting unruly in the Crested Butte area in what officials say is fast becoming one of the worst bear seasons on record.

A bear in the town of Mt. Crested Butte charged a police officer, who had been shooting at it with rubber bullets. Elsewhere, a shed door was torn off by a bear after garbage that was being stored.

While it’s not unusual for bears to descend to residential areas, they’re doing so early this year because their traditional food sources such as berries have been inadequate due to the cool summer, reports the Crested Butte News.

So far, nobody has been hurt in all this, but officials suggest it could be just a matter of time. Unlike in the old days, the bears don’t seem to scamper off when they see people. Police are considering responding to complaints as a team because of this new aggressiveness.

Still, the situation does not seem to be as frayed as across the Elk Range at Aspen, where wildlife officers have suggested that people put bells on their doors to alert them when bears invite themselves in.

Record number of bears killed

ASPEN, Colo. — Colorado voters in 1992 ordered an end to the hunting of bears during spring, when sows are still nursing cubs. Since then, there has been an increase in the number of bear-people interactions. Some people argue that the bears have lost their fear of people.

But the numbers defy that logic, reports the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In fact, a record number of bears, 856, were killed by hunters during 2002.

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