Ski field operators 1200 workers short this season, calls for Kiwis to come forward

Ski field operators are calling on Kiwis to help fill a shortage of workers for the upcoming ski season.

The ski industry traditionally relies on migrant workers, but with border restrictions, they'll have to look closer to home.

"We are nervous about this season so we have been working very hard as a whole industry across New Zealand to really identify what our challenges are," Cadrona and Treble Cone general manager Bridget Legnavsky said.

"A big part of that is getting a massive workforce in just 100 days."

The ski industry usually attracts almost half its workforce from overseas.

"The industry employs about 3000 people overall, so we've guesstimated that there could be up to 1200 workers short this season," NZ Ski CEO Paul Anderson told Newshub.

"They raise really highly skilled people who travel from Southern to Northern hemisphere winters to roles that we can provide the training for."

The highly competitive industry is putting pressure on the Government to allow critical ski field staff into the country.

"If we can't get them in, it's going to mean we can't open parts of our business, we can't deliver our high performance part of our business " Legnavsky said.

"For a lot of the small resorts in New Zealand it's going to mean they may not be able to open their businesses."

For experienced workers like Josh Barrett, a season became a career.

"Seven seasons ago I guess I started working down here and kind of caught the bug and never left," he said.

"Yeah, I started working as a lifty and saw the career opportunities and patrol and started that."

Lift operator Rachel Penfold says it's a great place to work.

"I love it up here. I love the people, the vibe, the atmosphere, the views - it's amazing. Yeah, it's a great place to work and it's full of amazing people who all love what they're doing."

They say it's the closest thing to an O.E - at home.