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The Black Summit

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5 min read

AN EVENT LIKE NO OTHER

Skiing is fast. Skiing is fun. But most of all, skiing is about community. The friends and family we spend time with on the mountain form some of the strongest bonds in our life. Over 50 years ago, after organizing their own successful local ski clubs, Ben Finley and Art Clay were brought together by a mutual friend and a desire to unite and grow the community of black skiers. Initially they planned an event called a "happening" at Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado. Soon thereafter the name was changed to The Black Summit and clubs from around North America started to join up with the National Brotherhood of Skiers and The Black Summit.

The Black Summit kicked off Sunday with a parade through the Snowmass Village. A procession of ski clubs rolled by for what seemed like hours. All with their own unique banners, flags, logos and uniforms. It is really something to see all the creativity brought together for the love of skiing and community.

After a full day of skiing with new and old friends everyone made their way to the daily happy hour party to share stories of the day and season to date. As the DJ spins into their routine the crowd began to dance and rejoice in another great day skiing with friends.

The highlight of the week (besides the skiing and parties) is the annual fashion show. NBS members outfit themselves in new and upcoming products from event sponsors to highlight partnerships and give the attendees a look into what’s coming. All eyes were focused on the new Spyder X NBS T – Necks featuring artwork by Lamont Joseph White. Make sure to grab yours this fall and help support the NBS. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of the collab T – Necks will go directly back to the NBS to support the organization.

After a few days to get their ski legs warmed up the NBS members are ready for the annual race. For 3 days skiers of all ages and abilities stepped into the start gate to battle for glory and bragging rights. Out of a field of over 150 racers came a few victorious smiling faces. Each winner was provided with Spyder gear to rep for the rest of the season and more to come.

An event can be just that, an event. Or it can create memories and friendships that last a lifetime. We are honored to partner with the NBS and The Black Summit to help support and grow the incredibly vibrant and welcoming community of black skiers. The ability of skiing to bring us together is truly wonderful and should not be taken for granted. Our calendars are already marked for The Black Summit 2023. 

Looking to the future, NBS president Henri Rivers is most proud and excited to expand the reach of NBS and The Black Summit to promote more environmentally sustainable practices so that we can all keep skiing into the future and to ski the Atlas Mountains in Africa.

“When I was introduced to NBS and started skiing with them it was just phenomenal. You didn’t think that there were others of color that skied. That wasn’t thinking broadly enough. Thinking that you’re the only one. Because you never are. What I was doing in the Catskills there was a kid doing it in detroit. There was another kid my age in Mammoth… They were thinking the same way I was, that they were the only one doing it. Because that’s all we ever saw. You think it’s just you.  When I did meet the NBS and I saw that there were so many other “just you’s” and we all came together, now instead of just you’s, it was just us. And it was us skiing together.” - Henri Rivers - NBS President

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