Denver, CO-based ski resort owner and operator Alterra Mountain Co. has enacted a series of measures from layoffs to pay cuts to reducing capital expenditures as an aggressive reaction to “zero revenue for the foreseeable future,” CEO Rusty Gregory told employees in a companywide email sent over the weekend.
Alterra’s properties include: Colorado (Steamboat and Winter Park Resort); California (Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort); Vermont (Stratton and Sugarbush Resort); Washington (Crystal Mountain); West Virginia (Snowshoe); Quebec, Canada (Tremblant); Ontario, Canada (Blue Mountain); Utah (Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort); plus CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures and Alpine Aerotech.
Here is the letter that Gregory sent to the company:
“Our decision to suspend operations on March 14th across North America marked the beginning of a long, strange trip for all of us. The human toll of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is gut wrenching. Unfortunately, the worst of this pandemic is still ahead of us. Stringent measures to mitigate the contagion will need to continue and be strengthened to save lives. These measures will be painful and disruptive. But know this – this pandemic will end, life will return to normal, our destinations and offices will reopen, and we will go back to our work, the fun we used to have, and the people we love.
“Along with the global economy, the travel and leisure industry has been profoundly disrupted and the financial impact to Alterra Mountain Company has been significant. Our company is well capitalized and maintains a very high level of liquidity to get us through difficult times. But these are unprecedented times without parallel. While I’m hopeful we will be able to reopen this summer and optimistic that we will open on time for winter, the fact is we don’t know when this will abate. We must react aggressively to the prospect of zero revenue for the foreseeable future, continuing to focus on protecting the health and safety of our guests, employees, and communities while maintaining our liquidity and financial viability in order to do more of the same for as long as possible.
“To this end, approximately 17,000 seasonal employees were laid off shortly after operations were suspended, operating expenses have been cut across the board and well over 50 percent of previously approved capital expenditures have been postponed in order to preserve cash. Additionally, beginning April 4th, our year-round employees in the U.S. who are unable to perform their work at either home, resort or office due to work restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus will not receive pay. They will remain an employee of their resort or business but will be listed on payroll for “zero hours” and will not be working until these restrictions are lifted. These employees will continue to receive health benefits, may access any of their accrued earned leave (PTO), will retain their current seniority and employment status, and will be assisted by our HR teams in applying for recently enhanced federal and state unemployment assistance programs. Our Canadian employees will be subject to similar provisions and receive similar benefits subject to variances prescribed by their jurisdiction, the recently announced federal government relief program, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and other preexisting arrangements.
“While I will continue my work as your CEO, I will go without a paycheck until each of our year-round staff returns to work. All other employees able to continue working will receive their full pay rate, with the understanding that this situation is fluid and we need flexibility to react as things change. While it is my fervent intent to avoid reducing anyone’s full pay rate for work going forward, we do not know how long this crisis will continue and it is imperative that we ensure that our finite resources last long enough to get us to the other side of this pandemic and fully open for operation when the time comes. I will be communicating frequently to keep you advised of any changes that may be required.
“This global crisis is far from over, but our vision remains the same – we are one company of many unique brands building a global mountain community. We will adapt and evolve as this crisis unfolds in order to survive and thrive on the other side. This is what it takes to build and protect our community.
Keep the faith.”
Photo courtesy Alterra Mountain Co.