Terrorist attacks may affect jobs on the mountains 

Fewer people may be hired this year on the mountains in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the U.S earlier this month.

"Obviously we are taking a look at our business and what might happen as a result of the tragedy in the United States," said Kirby Brown, director of employee experience for Whistler-Blackcomb.

"If we reduce it... it will be out of that first-season group (of employees)."

The mountains are still looking to hire 1,000 people for this season. The hiring blitz begins this weekend with the locals job fair at Dusty’s in Creekside between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Brown is hoping about 500 applicants will turn up for the fair.

"We will hire all 500 if they are what we are looking for," said Brown.

"We will hire as many locals as we can because of their hands-on experience in the valley and their passion for the lifestyle.

"This season more than ever we are looking for people who have a level of maturity and emotional intelligence to treat guests with care and with dignity and to make sure that people are getting exactly what they need this winter, and that is escape from the realities of the rest of the world."

Last year 500 locals were interviewed and 285 were hired.

There are 1,000 people who work year round on the mountain. Another 1,500 return every year to be hired for the season and up to 1,300 are hired every year for the first time. Of those hired seasonally about 600 are foreign nationals.

Brown said he is not concerned about fewer foreign nationals applying for work this year because of concerns over travel or uncertainty in the geo-political arena.

Most, he said, already have their work visa paperwork completed. Anyone applying now may find it a slow process as Canadian immigration officials are being extra vigilant in assessing those who are trying to gain entry to this country.

"We’ve made some calls within Australia and we haven’t heard of anyone changing their work plans this winter because of what has gone on," said Brown.

Foreign employees are an important part of the mountain experience.

"As a resort we would not survive without foreign nationals," said Brown. "They bring not only an international flavour but also a high level of enthusiasm."

But, said Brown, most recruiting is focused on hiring within Canada and that’s where the mountains will look if fewer people from overseas apply this year.

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