Chileans get Vail Valley work, ski passes in |

Chileans get Vail Valley work, ski passes in

Dustin Racioppi
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” The impression of Colorado’s Vail Valley for a group of Chileans here for their summer vacation could have been a lot worse.

Up until last week, there were no good memories to be had, unless you consider practically begging for work and sleeping in a rental car worth reminiscing about.

The four college students came to the valley several weeks ago, after spending nearly $4,000 each on plane tickets and J-1 visas, with agreements to work for Specialty Sports Venture in Beaver Creek. When they arrived, the jobs were no longer available, they were unexpectedly told. They were left looking for a place to stay ” the first two nights were spent sleeping in the airport and a rental car ” and looking for answers.

Now they have those answers.

Specialty Sports met twice with the group last week to right what Chief Operating Officer Kat Jobanputra called a case of miscommunication, He said an e-mail was sent out in November, after the work agreements were made, warning potential employees their jobs weren’t secure.

Jobanputra is on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Out of the meetings, three of the visitors ” Cristobal Maack, Thomas Spencer and Tomas Cubillos ” were given jobs at the Vail Village store and another, Andres Varela, will be heading back home on Specialty Sports’ tab Jan. 8.

“It was an adventure for us,” Varela said. “I don’t want to talk bad about SSV because the end was good for us.”

Varela decided not to take Specialty Sports’ offer of work, which was only guaranteed for two weeks, and opted to fly home to spend the rest of his vacation with his family. On top of paying for his trip to Denver International Airport and the flight, the company gave Varela and his friends free ski passes, which Varela said was a large part of the reason they came here.

“For me, it’s been a good week. I get to ski and then I go home,” he said.

And he said the skiing here has been as advertised. In a way, he’s sad to leave, but thinks he’ll be back.

“The looks you get from the lifts are incredible. It’s beautiful,” Varela said. “If I have the money in the future, I’d come back here for a vacation. People are very nice, very kind.”

Cubillos said he and the others decided to stick around because they’re enjoying the area and are confident with all the snow that’s fallen, they’ll be able to find and maintain employment throughout their stay, which ends in March.

“Many things can happen,” he said. “We’re going to have a happy ending.”

For Varela, he’s already had that.

“If someone would’ve told us things were going to be like this, I still would’ve made the trip,” he said.

Varela and Cubillos are sure to bring memories back to Chile, they said. Some will be good and some will be bad. But they’re happy to have the mix.

“We’ll remember all these situations and we laugh and we like it,” Cubillo said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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