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A recent report by the Mountain West News Bureau and Wyoming Public Radio has shed light on how Jackson Hole, Wyoming, residents have been impacted by the housing crisis sweeping mountain communities.
The report shows how service workers and other lower-income employees constantly move residences due to rising rents and frequent property sales. One restaurant worker, Brandy Borts, 47, said she had lived at 40 different addresses since moving to Jackson Hole in 1998. The constant moving forced her to pare down her personal belongings to what could fit in a few plastic bins.
“I’ve moved so many times that it’s just crushing,” Borts told reporters.
Two others, Ryan Dorgan and Emily Mieure, worked for the local newspaper, the Jackson Hole News and Guide, yet they had to split a three-bedroom home with four other people to pay the rent.
Stories like these are familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a ski town, where rising rent and a vagabond lifestyle are common. What’s new, however, is how the pandemic-fueled housing shortage has pushed hardened mountain-town renters past their respective limits. With high-income owners flocking to these destinations from larger cities, local workers are now leaving in droves.
Borts said she was finally leaving the valley after 24 years. Dorgan and Mieure had already relocated to Indiana.
The flight of workers has had an enormous impact on the businesses that rely on their labor. Major news outlets, Outside included, have reported on how the shortage of workers is reshaping these towns. Restaurants are closing, outfitters are searching for trained guides, and even the ski resorts themselves are feeling the pinch. Just last week, California’s Sugar Bowl announced it would halt ski rentals and cut back on other services during the busy holiday ski period due to a staff shortage.
Towns have proposed multiple solutions to the problem. But the dearth of housing—and of workers—isn’t likely to stop being a problem in Jackson Hole, Aspen, Colorado, or any other ski town anytime soon.
Bode Miller to Open Ski Academy in Colorado
U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller is building a ski academy in Granby, Colorado, as part of a multimillion-dollar plan to revitalize the local Granby Ranch Ski Resort. Called the Bode Miller Ski Academy, it will occupy a campus at the base of the resort and is scheduled to open for the 2025–26 academic year.
The school will work with between 150 and 165 high school–age athletes and will offer coaching in alpine, nordic, freestyle, and adaptive skiing.
Located in the Fraser Valley, about 75 miles west of Denver, Granby Ranch has struggled with ownership woes and financial setbacks throughout its history. Cofounders Bud Gettle and Kelly Klancke installed the resort’s first ski lifts in 1982, initially calling the site Silver Creek. But after the two were killed in a plane crash in 1986, the ski resort fell into bankruptcy; following two subsequent ownership changes, it was purchased by Brazilians Marise and Celso Cipriani, who renamed it Sol Vista in the early 2000s and then Granby Ranch in 2012. In 2019 the resort went into foreclosure.
In 2020 Granby Prentice Granby Holdings took ownership of the resort and hired Ridgeline Executive Group to oversee management. It invested $4.5 million in upgrades, dubbing the project Granby Ranch Rising. The partnership with Bode Miller is the latest investment in this revitalization.
“To get better you have to be honest with where you’ve been and the truth is that it’s been a really challenged ski resort,” Andy Wirth, the property’s new manager, told the Colorado Sun.
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