Mt Ruapehu skifields need residents to help fill the gap left by international workers as the ski season approaches.
With about half of those working on skifields typically from overseas, Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) hopes keen residents looking for a change, or those waiting for the borders to open, can help fill the void.
RAL human resources manager Sarah Webster said they typically spent a few months recruiting and interviewing leading into a season. However, Covid-19 and its uncertainty meant the whole process was especially condensed.
With the border closed for the foreseeable future, a large percentage of their usual workforce needs replacing.
"We usually sit around 50 per cent [New Zealanders and foreigners]. It's about half and half. Depending on the season, we would be 55 per cent New Zealanders and 45 per cent internationals. Generally as an industry, we sit around the 50 per cent range at our peak of the winter season."
In summer months, the workforce is closer to 90 per cent New Zealanders.
Webster estimated RAL had about 60 per cent fewer staff in 2020 than the 2019 season due to the full range of their services not being available.
Entering into unpredictable territory post Covid-19, the industry wasn't sure how much Kiwis would be travelling around the country.
"We definitely had more people than we originally anticipated. They were definitely bigger than we planned and we had a lot of people travelling around New Zealand particularly to come here."
With the Sky Waka Gondola operational and sightseeing opportunities available, Kiwis made the most of their new-found freedom.
"We had a really good season in terms of getting people through and getting them to experience skiing and snowboarding on Mt Ruapehu."
With Happy Valley and Whakapapa opening towards the end of May-start of June and Turoa opening end of June-start of July, Webster said they are in the start-up phase of their recruitment process.
"Right now we are in a bit of a promotional phase of trying to get people to apply."
Job fairs in Turangi, Ohakune, Rotorua and local areas are coming up in the next month and Webster hoped to see more locals make the most of the opportunity.
"We would definitely love to see more applicants."
Webster said with the border closed for the time being, this was a great opportunity for Kiwis who were looking to go overseas for an OE to get their foot in the door.
"Students finishing high school who aren't quite ready to jump right into university or not sure what they are going to do going forward, we think now is the perfect time for them to come and experience the ski and tourism industry.
"You can get some skills that, when the borders open, you can either head overseas to another ski area or even stick around for year-round permanent roles.
"I would highly recommend coming to work here. I've done 20-plus seasons across multiple countries and different ski areas and it's become a lifelong learning opportunity for me. I think it's a fantastic opportunity for Kiwis to come and see what we offer and get into our industry."