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The National Brotherhood of Skiers Hosts 50th Anniversary Black Summit

The National Brotherhood of Skiers celebrated its 50th anniversary Black Summit at Vail Mountain last week, bringing together the nationwide community of Black skiers and snowboarders. | NBS photo.

The world's largest snowsports organization celebrated its 50th anniversary last week in Vail, Colorado. The NBS (National Brotherhood of Skiers), which is made up of 55 clubs and 5000 members, had 2100 of its members turn out for its Black Summit to promote its mission of supporting athletes of color who will win the Olympics for the United States and increasing participation in the winter sport. Naturally, this week is extremely socially active and intentional, which is why they like to call it “partying with a purpose.”

This year, the partying started the first Saturday, February 4, and never slowed down until the following weekend. There were happy hours, which turned into extended happy hours, après, barbecues, concerts, fashion shows, gala events, cinematic-themed parties, and even special performances by Anthony Hamilton and Ne-Yo, who even opted for a beanie instead of his signature fedora for his frigid outdoor show. For the entire week, NBS members were dressed stylishly in modern winter wear or vintage apparel from past summits. No shortage of veterans showed up, sharing their time with many newer young members out for their first summit. Even some non-members, affectionately nicknamed renegades, came out to crash the week-long party.

Ne-Yo and Anthony Hamilton performed shows for the crowd. | NBS photo.

Of course, in between events there was the skiing, which is ultimately what brings all these members together. In addition to regular free skiing, the NBS hosts races, competitions and educational classes. Attendees enjoyed prime conditions for backcountry or telemark skiing or even snowshoeing through Vail’s beautiful snowcapped peaks. In a place with as diverse of outdoor offerings as Vail, the NBS tries to offer it all to its members. And if the legs needed a day off, there were opportunities to watch any of its Olympic or X-Games-bound athletes. The NBS athletes are some of the best skiers on the mountain, if not the best, on any day, and together with how many members attended, this year's Black Summit is the result of fifty years in the making.

There were first tracks aplenty for all those attended. | NBS photo.

NBS founders Ben Finley and Art Clay initiated the inaugural event in 1973 at Ajax Mountain, in Aspen. 350 people from ski clubs all over the country showed up for its first Black Summit. By Thanksgiving later that year the national organization was officially formed with its initial goal of helping support a black skier onto the U.S. Ski Team. Since then, the NBS has helped produce several Olympic skiers and today a few of its athletes are training for the next winter Olympics in 2026. Plus every year thousands of young black skiers go skiing for the first time, which is made possible through the help of their local clubs and ski resorts like Vail.

Showing that opportunity is out there is really important, a lot of kids in inner-city communities don't see mountains when they look out their windows. It's not on their radar. So we need to show them, 'Look, this is out here. It's out here for you. So come out and experience it!

- NBS President Henri Rivers

About The Author

stash member Teton Gravity Research

It all began with a dream and a little cash scraped together from fishing in Alaska... Since 1995, we've been an action sports media company committed to fueling progression through our ground-breaking films (37 and counting) and online content.

I am waiting for this event for a long time. Besides, drift boss is also an interesting game.

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