Big Mountain angered employees in January by announcing without warning that it would start random drug testing beginning April 1. Some 225 employees were to be tested every year. But since then, Fred Jones—a veteran ski area executive who has worked at Vermont’s Sugarbush, Colorado’s Copper Mountain and California’s Kirkwood, among other places—was hired to replace Michael Collins as CEO of Winter Sports, the corporate name of Big Mountain. Jones doesn’t start until April, but with his support, the resort has abandoned the drug-testing program before it started. It wasn’t clear what Big Mountain was trying to accomplish anyway. According to managers, there have been no safety problems attributable to employee drug use at the resort.
Big Mountain is instead adopting a policy like the one in place at Montana’s Big Sky Resort. Managers will be trained to spot abuse and can order tests for any employees who are obviously messed up or who are involved in on-the-job accidents.
“The place to start is with a policy that provides for testing with probable cause or testing in the event of an injury or accident that involves property damage,” Jones told the Independent.
“If it’s determined that we have a drug problem, then we need to look further. But the bottom line is that we need to ensure the safety of our guests and the safety of our employees and anyone who is impaired