About 7% Of Ski Resort Customers Are Black; 'Exclusive Sport' Now Working Toward Inclusion
Skiing, despite the cold, the travel and the high cost, offers an attraction few sports can rival. In a word: "Freedom," said Henri Rivers, of West Babylon.
Rivers is president of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, founded in 1973 to encourage more Black people to ski and to develop Olympic competitors.
Black ski club officials say fewer people from their communities hit the slopes due to socioeconomic factors, lingering prejudices and a long-standing lack of outreach from resorts.
"I don't believe that the snow sport industry has marketed to our communities at all," Rivers said. "It's always been an exclusive sport … and it has never been inviting for people of color, or African-Americans for that matter."
Tennis, long a country club sport, benefited from what Amy Bass, professor of sport studies at Purchase, New York-based Manhattanville College, called "a legacy of pathbreakers."