This year’s Discover Eaglecrest Day was on Saturday and saw one of the best attendance in quite some time, according to staff. Many new vendors and attractions were on site for the public, as well as a chance to purchase season passes and new gear for the winter season (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

This year’s Discover Eaglecrest Day was on Saturday and saw one of the best attendance in quite some time, according to staff. Many new vendors and attractions were on site for the public, as well as a chance to purchase season passes and new gear for the winter season (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Wages —and a gondola —set to go up at Eaglecrest

7% employee wage increase and gondola arrival

This article has been updated to include additional information.

Winter is coming, which means a flurry of activity is preceding eventual flurries of snow at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Discover Eaglecrest Day was held Saturday and this year’s festivities included food, multiple vendors, and a chance to purchase Eaglecrest gear for the upcoming season. According to Eaglecrest marketing and events manager Kristen Strom, the annual event is a great opportunity to get squared away for the coming winter season as well as learn more about the resort and various clubs and other community groups.

A popular returning attraction amongst kids of all ages at Discover Eaglecrest Day was disc golf offered by Juneau Disc Golf Club. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

A popular returning attraction amongst kids of all ages at Discover Eaglecrest Day was disc golf offered by Juneau Disc Golf Club. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“It’s really a day to spread the word and spread winter stoke for Eaglecrest, we’ve got ticket sales information, youth programs, adult programs, we have people walking through the new cabin, it’s a good chance to see all of our off season programs, too,” Strom said. “The support has just been unreal today.”

Strom said that while it’s an annual event, the vendors and activities vary from year to year to some extent depending on who is able to make it up the mountain. Disc golf and mountain biking are yearly regulars, but this year, Strom said, they were excited to welcome some brand new editions.

Juneau Ski Club was just one of many vendors set up all throughout Discover Eaglecrest Day on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Ski Club was just one of many vendors set up all throughout Discover Eaglecrest Day on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“This year we’ve really got all of our bases covered, there’s really something for everyone. This year in addition to mountain biking and disc golf, we have porcupine rides, Trail Mix, SAIL (Southeast Alaska Independent Living), ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access), Ski Club, a lot of these great organizations supporting the day,” Strom said. “We’ve got lift towers along with the new cabin, we’ve got a new electric car charging station we’re pretty excited about, so a lot of new stuff and the community’s just kind of coming together to see all of it for the first time.”

Wages increase for winter staff

On Thursday, the Eaglecrest board held a meeting to discuss a 7% wage increase for staff along with options on how to increase recruitment success for the winter season. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

On Thursday, the Eaglecrest board held a meeting to discuss a 7% wage increase for staff along with options on how to increase recruitment success for the winter season. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

As the winter season is nearing, Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan said there are still many positions the ski area is looking to fill. In an effort to address those concerns, a special meeting of the Eaglecrest Board was held on Thursday to discuss wages and options to increase recruitment success for winter staffing. The board agreed to raise wages an additional 7% on top of another 7% increase that was made last January.

“Coming into this year, the labor market as we all know is just so competitive right now, there are so many vacancies, we’ve got around 60 seasonal positions we’re looking to fill and we’re just not anywhere close to being competitive,” Scanlan said. “What we’ve come up against is we’re having way fewer applicants as we’ve had in the past and then when we do have somebody interested who applies, when it comes time for us to talk about pay, we lose them.”

Scanlan said it’s because they’ve seen more solid revenue streams over the last few years that they were able to increase wages by 7% in January, which, counting the 7% increase made during Thursday’s meeting, moves them closer to their ultimate goal of a 22% increase. Now, Scanlan said, the challenge has become filling the large number of seasonal positions and making the wages competitive.

The gondola has landed

With three containers emptied, 18 remain full of various gondola pieces that will be unpacked over the next week in a half. The overall construction is said to likely take at least two years before the gondola is fully operational, according to General Manager Dave Scanlan. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

With three containers emptied, 18 remain full of various gondola pieces that will be unpacked over the next week in a half. The overall construction is said to likely take at least two years before the gondola is fully operational, according to General Manager Dave Scanlan. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Strom said one of the main intentions behind Discover Eaglecrest Day is to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the winter season. As part of that celebration, Strom said they’re especially excited to be able to show off the new arrival of the gondola, which will continue to be on display for the public’s viewing while the project slowly gets underway.

“We also have our gondola cabins unloaded in the Nordic lot, which is nice, people can kind of stop and see them if they want to,” Strom said. “People are welcome to pull over and take a look, it looks really good, it was just unloaded in the last two days.”

In March, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly agreed via 5-4 vote to spend up to $2 million on the gondola.

Scanlan said it’s going to be a multi-year project that won’t see construction in earnest until next summer. Scanlan added that depending on contractor availability and supply chain issues, the project is likely to take up to two years before it’s fully operational.

“We’re trying to stay ahead of it as much as we can and do as much preliminary work in case there’s availability from contractors that we can accelerate the schedule, we’re going to be trying to do so,” Scanlan said. “It’s a really big project involving a really impressive ski lift system that I think Juneau is going to be really proud of once it’s fully installed.”

4-H Luge Sledding with University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension was set up to give in-person demonstrations at Discover Eaglecrest Day, as well as sign kids up ages 10 and up. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

4-H Luge Sledding with University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension was set up to give in-person demonstrations at Discover Eaglecrest Day, as well as sign kids up ages 10 and up. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Discover Eaglecrest Day also served as the first opportunity to purchase Season Passes, something that long time Juneau resident Casen Spickler knows plenty about. Spickler said this year marks his 34th year skiing at the resort, something he’s been doing ever since he was 3-years-old. Now as an adult and parent of a Mighty Mite racer, Spickler said it’s important to him to be able to find ways to give back to the mountain that’s given him so much back in return.

“We’re up here with the Juneau Ski Club helping people sign up for registration and I was manning the bake sale for a couple of hours just trying to raise funds.”

Juneau Mountain Bike Club was stationed at Discover Eaglecrest Day for its annual timed bike race at Flow Trail. There were also opportunities to sign up as a member and enjoy yearly benefits. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Mountain Bike Club was stationed at Discover Eaglecrest Day for its annual timed bike race at Flow Trail. There were also opportunities to sign up as a member and enjoy yearly benefits. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Spickler said this was the 4th Eaglecrest he’s been a part of and thanks to the plentiful sunshine and warm weather it was by far the best attended he’s ever seen.

“The attendance this year looks great, it’s pretty good numbers it looks like. I think there’s even more vendors this year than I’ve seen in past years, too,” Spickler said. “It’s good to see Juneau showing up to support our mountain and I think this is probably one of the best things you can do if you’re going to live in Juneau is to spend time up here.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

One of the many new attractions at Eaglecrest this year is the installation of their new electric car charging station offered in the main parking lot. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

One of the many new attractions at Eaglecrest this year is the installation of their new electric car charging station offered in the main parking lot. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

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