The National Brotherhood of Skiers hosted its 49th annual summit event in Snowmass. The historic first gathering took place in Aspen, Colorado in 1973 and was attended by over 350 skiers from all over the country. This year over 2,000 Black skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes in Colorado. Today, the organization has 3,500 members and 54 clubs across the U.S. and U.K. For more info on the NBS GO HERE:
ABOUT NBS ORGINS:
At a time when African Americans on the ski slopes were a rarity and black ski clubs were an exception, Ben Finley and Art Clay were not deterred from their vision to create a national Black Summit for skiers. The two founders met in 1972 after being introduced by a mutual friend while Finley was President of the Four Seasons West Ski Club of Los Angeles and Clay was Trip Director of the Sno-Gophers Ski Club of Chicago. They moved forward with a proposal to bring together 13 black ski clubs for an event which was called “A Happening”, but was later changed to “Black Summit,” at the suggestion of a member of the Jim Dandy Ski Club of Detroit. The Black Summit would represent black skiers coming together at the summit of Ajax Mountain. The purpose was “to identify and discuss problems and subjects which were unique to the black skiing population, ski and socialize”, according to Finley.
The Historic gathering took place in Aspen, Colorado in 1973 and was attended by over 350 skiers from all over the country. There was an overall sense of camaraderie and connection that pervaded the event then and still holds true with the Black Summits today. The images of this occasion will forever stay in the minds of those who witnessed this event. As the East Coast met the West Coast, there were discussions of Teo Hyde of Chicago who was recognized as an aspiring contender for a position of the U.S. Ski Team. The formation of the national organization was set for Thanksgiving weekend in 1973 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At a meeting of the club leaders, it was proposed that the primary purpose of the organization would be to place a black skier on the U.S. Ski Team. This mission was unanimously embraced by everyone in attendance and sparked the first national organization of predominantly Black ski clubs.
The National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS) was chartered in 1974 and incorporated as a non-profit organization in Illinois in 1975. It received its 501(c)3 designation in 1978. Black Summit ’75 was hosted by the Sno-Gophers Ski Club and was held in Sun Valley, Idaho. Over 750 skiers attended. The clubs in attendance elected Ray Mott of Black Ski, Inc. as the NBS’ first President.