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South Americans highly sought after to work at Wisconsin ski resorts

PORTAGE, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin ski resorts are almost ready to open, but many are missing one important element -- employees. 

For several years, a number of Wisconsin ski operators have looked to South America to find the reliable part-timers they cannot find in the Badger State. 

Randy Axelson of Cascade Mountain near Portage says the seasonal nature of the work makes it hard to find local help. His resort will employ about 40 college students from South America for jobs that run into March. 

Axelson said surprising numbers of South Americans work at least two years or more. 

People in Brazil are often shocked by how cold it is -- but parts of Peru and Argentina are just as cold as it is here. 

Axelson says the South Americans are driven by getting U.S. work experience which will help get them work when they leave college. 

Little Switzerland at Slinger was having a job fair Thursday for about 100 posts that include cafeteria and ski lift employees. Co-owner Mike Schmitz said the jobs pay up to $12 an hour -- and for many, a benefit of free skiing is just as important.