While piles of snow may make it appear as if summer is still a long ways off, the annual hiring frenzy to prepare for the Flathead Valley’s busiest season is well underway.
Hiring managers from Glacier National Park to area breweries are all combing through piles of applications to fill the thousands of seasonal jobs that boost the local economy between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While some entities are deep into the hiring process, others are just beginning, meaning there is still time for those looking for summer work to apply.
“Now is a good time to apply for a summer job,” said Riley Polumbus, public relations manager for Whitefish Mountain Resort.
While the resort remains focused on the final few weeks of the ski season, Polumbus said they have one eye on the upcoming summer season. The resort usually hires about 250 people every summer to help run the bike trails, chair lift, zip lines, aerial adventure park and alpine slide. A number of mountain restaurants also remain open during the summer. This week, the mountain had openings for everything from mountain bike patrollers to line cooks.
Last year, the mountain started its summer season a little earlier and Polumbus said that was a huge help in filling jobs. In years past, the mountain wouldn’t open until late June or early July, meaning most people, usually high school and college students, have already found jobs. This year, the mountain will kick off its summer season on June 16.
Glacier National Park is currently in the midst of hiring 300 to 400 seasonal employees needed to run the 1-million-acre park. Spokesperson Lauren Alley said the government shutdown earlier this year delayed the hiring process, but officials are confident that all the necessary positions will be filled before the summer visitor season gets underway. She said one advantage the park has is many of the seasonal employees return year after year.
Alley said that anyone interested in working in Glacier National Park during the summer should keep an eye on USAjobs.gov starting in the fall. She added that while park rangers are among the most visible positions in the park, there are many different jobs in the park, including custodians and building maintenance personnel.
“A national park is a lot like a miniature city and there are all sorts of jobs,” she said.
Smaller organizations are also gearing up for summer, including the Kalispell Brewing Company. Cole Schneider, co-owner of the brewery, said that his company usually hires one or two extra people during the summer months. However, a number of the taproom employees are able to pick up extra shifts because they are teachers the rest of the year.
“It wasn’t our intention to hire teachers so they could work in the summer, but it happened by accident,” Schneider said.