Black Summit convenes in Keystone |

Black Summit convenes in Keystone

Story and photos by Eli Pace
Members of the National Brotherhood of Skiiers, which reports to host the largest gathering of African-American winter sports enthusiasts in the United States, move to the dance floor Thursday during a private party at the Mountain House in Keystone.
Eli Pace / |

About the NBS

The National Brotherhood of Skiers is a nonprofit formed in 1973 in Aspen. While the group’s official mission is “to identify, develop and support athletes of color who will win international and Olympic winter sports competition representing the U.S. and to increase participation in winter sports,” over the years, NBS has sponsored numerous athletes who have gone on to become “winners” in their own right, including ski instructors and business professionals.

In continuing its support of youth programs, the NBS also partners with the National Winter Sports Education Foundation and supports youth attending the National Winter Activity Center, whose mission is assisting organizations in improving the lives, health and fitness of children through winter sports. The NBS organization has four regions with 56 clubs, and they are still looking to sponsor their first Olympian.

Upstairs at the Keystone Mountain House Thursday evening, security was tight, and few, if anyone, without a wristband got in.

Tempting visitors up the short climb was the unmistakable sounds of a hopping party, the bass of a live DJ, feet bouncing on a full dance floor and skiers and snowboarders enjoying happy hour after a day on the slopes.

Responsible for the exclusive dance party was the National Brotherhood of Black Skiers, which came to Keystone for its odd-year biennial Black Summit, the first here since 2001.

According to the group, together they stand as the single largest gathering of African-American winter sports enthusiasts in the United States, and they boast being historically known as the single biggest skiers and snowboarders organization in the country. Formed in Aspen in 1973, the organization is celebrating its 44th year in existence.

Judging by Thursday’s after-slopes party, it’s easy to believe organizers of the Black Summit when they claim to have more than 1,000 members, representing 56 clubs nationwide, in Keystone for the weeklong gathering that began Feb. 25 and wrapped up Saturday.

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They came from all over the country, from Florida to Los Angeles, Texas to Milwaukee, and they came for a week of skiing, snowboarding and top-notch entertainment.

Many brought their families, and the Black Summit included activities for its youngest members too, fun things like tubing, swimming and bowling.

Big-name performances throughout the week included hip-hop DJ Chubb Rock and a concert with Grammy-nominated artist Chante Moore. Both were open to registered participants only.

Other festivities throughout the week involved an opening ceremony with remarks from co-founders Art Clay and Ben Finley and special recognition of African-Americans who have had a long standing history with Colorado snow sports. They also had a day at Vail Mountain, a Gospelfest celebration and a mountain picnic, along with other themed parties.

“We also want people to know that the Black Summit is a party with a purpose,” NBS President Peggie Allen said in a prepared statement. “The event proceeds support the organization’s athletic scholarship and our community-outreach programs, which introduces a diverse audience to winter sports.”

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