Every winter brings the excitement of a new ski season, along with several types of job opportunities for seasonal workers. While many skiers have a routine for each ski day, few think about the employment behind every moment of that day. Here is an overview of some of these occupations.
First, check the weather forecast.
Weather forecasts are investigated and reported by atmospheric and space scientists. In 2015, there were approximately 150 atmospheric and space scientists employed in Montana and they were being paid a median wage of $41.47 an hour. Over the next ten years, there are expected to be about six annual job openings for this job.
Next step, breakfast.
If you enjoy sitting down and enjoying a big breakfast before the ski day, then you will be ordering from one of Montana's 8,590 waiters and waitresses. If you would rather save time and get fast food, then you will be speaking with one of Montana’s 10,560 food preparation and serving workers. Whether it’s sit-down, fast food, or just coffee, there are over 48,000 people employed in food preparation and serving related occupations, with a median wage of $9.28 an hour (figure 1 shows the top five detailed occupations within this category). There are expected to be about 2,360 annual job openings in this occupational group over the next ten years -- the largest number of openings of all major occupational groups.
Time to hit the slopes.
Ski lifts are operated by workers that fall into the occupational category of "amusement and recreation attendants," which includes ski lift operators, ride operators, golf starters, and others. There are 580 workers in this category being paid a median wage of $9.19 an hour. There are about 40 annual job openings expected for this occupation through 2025.
In case of a small fall or major tumble, ski patrol is nearby to help. Ski patrol is in an occupational category with lifeguards and other recreational protective service workers. There are approximately 310 of these jobs in the state, paying a median wage $8.90 an hour. There are only about eight job openings expected per year.
If you get hurt...
If you are one of the unfortunate few to get hurt, Montana has many healthcare workers to help. There are 41,160 jobs related to healthcare in Montana, with an estimated 1,750 annual jobs opening in these occupations over the next ten years. Figure 2 shows the top five healthcare jobs with the most annual openings.
Time to relax
If you manage to ski the entire day injury free then head on inside, enjoy a warm beverage or snack, and relax. However, make sure you are aware that prices consumers pay for snacks has increased 39% over the last ten years. At the same time, fresh fruit went up 10% and soup increased 17%. For drinks, alcoholic beverages increased 20% over the last ten years, while prices for nonalcoholic beverages and beverage materials increased only 11%.
Inflation from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Price Index
2015 Employment and wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics
Number of openings through 2025 from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry 2015 to 2025 Occupational Employment Forecasts