Northwest Report

The perks for full-time employees are significant at Powder House in Bend, Oregon. “The six full-time employees are on a base salary plus commission,” says employee Julie McCuen. “We get a ten-day ski pass, health insurance, six weeks of vacation, and a yearly trip to the Caribbean.”

There are also four to six part-time employees who make six- to ten-dollars an hour with no perks beyond that. “Most of the full-time employees have been with the store for ten years,” says McCuen, who works full time. “Why would they want to leave with perks like that?”

At the Sled Shed in Rexburg, Idaho the starting hourly wage is average ($5.50), but the spiffs are good, says Manager Brian William. The shop has a small staff of one manager and two part-timers. “We’re in a college town and the turnover is pretty high,” he says. “However, we have good employee discounts, family discounts, pro purchases are encouraged, and we get free a season pass to Grand Targhee.”

Board Bin Owner Jim Slanetz has an unusual problem. The shop, located at the base of Sun Valley in Idaho, attracts overqualified employees: “One employee had finished law school and passed the Bar and wanted to take a year off. Another was a college graduate.” This makes for high turnover, he says.

In winter, Slanetz usually employs three part-timers who are paid between six and eight dollars an hour. Season passes at Sun Valley cost 1,500 dollars-too expensive for a perk-but Slanetz can offer employees a season discount card that allows them to buy the 50-dollar lift tickets at half price. Of course, the store also offers 30-percent discounts for off-the-shelf merchandise, and at-cost deals for product orders.

Ride On Snow & Skate Owner Jeff Bucy likes to start his part-time employees out at between eight and ten dollars an hour: “If you’re getting ten, you’re the man. You know all the products, you’re opening and closing the store, the works.”

The shop, located in Redmond, Washington, currently has one full-time employee and one part-timer.

“Employees get passes for Alpental or Stevens Pass-whichever they live closest to,” says Bucy. “Of course, they get all products at cost if they pre-order it from me. I also like to spread the kick downs from the reps. A lot of companies sell Rep kick downs, but I think it’s better to get the product out on people who are using it in a hurry.”

Art Couture, owner of Boardsports in Eugene, Oregon employs six snowboard staffers. The other five employees work the windsurfing rental and training business. “There are four full-timers who are on salary; part timers start at six dollars an hour-which is minimum wage here,” he says.

Full-time employees receive health insurance, and Couture likes to give bonuses during the year: “I might give everyone 100 dollars at Christmas for example.”

Of course, all employees get discounted shop merchandise and freebies from reps. “We also get two free tags for our local hill-Willamette Pass-and we make sure we share them among employees,” he says.