The world has watched as Tiger Woods carved a path for African Americans in golf. In tennis, it was the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, who’ve broken the color barrier with their vicious serves and incredible stamina. Decades before any of these trailblazing athletes were born it was baseball legend Jackie Robinson who integrated America’s favorite pastime. These athletes have truly been pioneers, opening their respective sports to new generations of young black athletes. However, there are a handful of sports in the United States that as of yet remain mostly Caucasian pursuits. Skiing is one of them. As one avid African- American skier explained to Ski Magazine, “Every time my family and I went skiing, we were always the only black family on the slopes. There’s nothing bad about that, but I guess you like to see that you are not the only one in your group participating in this great sport.”
Many factors are pointed to as an explanation of this, including money—skiing is a very expensive sport to participate in. Also, African Americans have not historically participated in this sport, so it is not something that is passed down to their children. According to a National Brotherhood of Skiing (NBS), an African-American skiing organization, quoted in Ski Magazine, a third factor is geographic, “There are not many African Americans living in resort towns….They are not living in close proximity to skiing on a daily basis from the time they are very young.” A sister-brother duo from Anchorage, Alaska is poised to change this, not only showing that African Americans can ski, but that they can also become ski champions. By 2002 Andre and Suki Horton were the top-ranked African American ski racers in the country, and with their sights set on the 2006 Olympics, they may just become the top-ranked ski-racers.
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