Brotherhood of Skiers finds Winter Park to their liking | SkyHiNews.com

Brotherhood of Skiers finds Winter Park to their liking

by Stephanie Miller
Sky-Hi Daily News

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Winter Park Resort was packed Sunday afternoon with thousands of visitors vying for the fresh snow that fell in Winter Park Saturday night.

Adding to those numbers were roughly 450 members of the National Brotherhood of Skiers Eastern Region, who are staying in Winter Park for one week as part of the organization’s annual ski trips.

The group arrived Saturday and were greeted with several inches of fresh snow Sunday morning and a clear, bluebird sky. The Zephyr and Eskimo chairlifts were running Sunday, and a majority of the 400-plus skiers and snowboarders dispersed themselves onto Cranmer, Larry Sale and Parkway. While some members took lessons, others divided into small groups and joined a mountain tour led by the resort’s volunteer mountain hosts.

Samuel Hall Jr., 56, grinned up at the sun after making turns on Cranmer and coming to a stop at Snoassis, an on-mountain restaurant that hasn’t been opened yet this season.

It was difficult to keep track of the group through the swarm of skiers and snowboarders and various mountain host uniforms, but Hall easily kept up. A resident of Florida, he has been a member of the national brotherhood for 13 years.

“I’ve met a lot of good friends over the last 13 years, and every year I meet new (ones),” Hall said.

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He explained that along with trips to major cities, the organization takes an international trip once a year. Last February Hall skied in Austria, but it was early season and there was very little snow, he said.

“It’s not powdery like this,” he added. “This is a wonderful area. I like the accommodations … I’d like to come when there’s more snow, but this early in the season, I can’t complain.”

The National Brotherhood of Skiers was founded in 1973 in Aspen with a gathering of 350 skiers. Today, the organization’s membership numbers in the several thousands, and the organization’s mission is still clear to its members: To identify, select and finance training of potential Olympic-caliber minority youth.

That’s one of the reasons why Kevin Taylor, 38, still skis with the national brotherhood.

Wearing a bright yellow ski jacket with the words ‘New Jersey Group’ printed on its back, Taylor explains that he currently lives in Washington, D.C., and has been a member since he joined the youth ski program in New Jersey at the age of 12.

Taylor has skied with the national brotherhood all over Colorado, including Steamboat, Aspen, Vail and Keystone. He wants to see the organization fund an Olympic racer some day, he said. He also enjoys the camaraderie, and promoting skiing among blacks and urban skiers.

“Some of my friends have said, ‘Black people don’t ski.’ Well there’s about 500 people here and there’ll be a few thousand of us in Breckenridge,” Taylor said, referring to the National Brotherhood of Skier’s upcoming 35th anniversary celebration, which takes place in Breckenridge Jan. 12 through 19.

“Plus I like the mountain life,” he added.

This week is the Eastern Division’s 10th annual ‘Early Season Warm Up Ski Week,’ which helps raise money for the Olympic scholarship fund. To date, the organization has raised thousands of dollars for the fund to support ski and snowboard academy scholarships and training camps.

The National Brotherhood of Skiers is divided into four geographic regions ” Eastern, Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Western. It has a membership of more than 20,000 adults and youth, and is recognized as one of the nation’s largest ski organizations.

The organization will be in town until Saturday. For more information about the National Brotherhood of Skiers Eastern Region, visit http://www.nbs.org/er.

– To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail smiller@grandcountynews.com.

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