S1 E5 Henri Rivers - There's Only One Question

Kris00:02

Hi everyone. Thank you for joining me on the BIPoC Outside podcast. I'm Kris Cromwell. And I had the pleasure of sitting down with Henri Rivers, president of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. This is the largest and oldest Black ski organization in the world. With over 3,500 members and a 50th anniversary coming up in 2023.

So let's get into it. Henri thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time. How are you?

Henri00:32

I'm doing well. How are you? today? Kris

Kris00:35

I'm doing amazing. So we're going to jump right in and I want to start with some questions about you. So you were born in Queens, right?

Henri00:43

Queens? New York? Yes,

Kris00:45

So how did, what was your introduction to skiing?

Henri00:48

Well, my parents moved to this upstate New York up into the Catskill regions. The first set of mountains you get to in New York. And back then in the seventies, we got a lot of snow, late sixties, early seventies, Thanksgiving came. You had three feet of snow outside. And what do you do? I mean, do you stay in doors for six months or do you go outside and, and start enjoying things?

I chose a latter found a pair of skis, tried them on. They fit me. But they were a little long because I was all five feet tall and the skis are longer than six feet. And just started messing around, outside in the snow.

Kris01:26

Amazing. So where's your home hill now?

Henri01:29

My home hill now is at Wyndham New York, which is not far from where I started. I started in a little ski area called Phoenicia ski center at the Simpson ski center. Graduated up to Belleayre mountain, which was a state run facility. That was great. Now,

I'm at Windham mountain, which is a privately owned resort.

And it's a, it's a very good family resort. That's why I'm there with my children and my wife.

Kris01:54

And this is, this is a family affair for you now, in fact, your family has a segment coming out with Warren Miller this year.

Henri02:01

Yeah, it's amazing. Unreal. You know, who would have thought that I never would have imagined my children will be skiing in a Warren Miller film. It's great. It's great.

Kris02:11

So, you have been doing this for some time. You've been a coach, a professional instructor a jury adviser. Take us through, take us through the progression.

Henri02:21

Well, you know, I, like I said, I started like 8, 9, 10 years old started pushed myself down a hill. No control, no, no tactics, no nothing knowing nothing about skiing. No, no family pedigree and skiing, you know, there was no one before me. But. The sensation of sliding on snow, down a hill. And then at that time I didn't have control, but then being able to control and turn, when you want to turn and stop it, it's just, it's so gratifying and it's so much fun.

So I did that for many years. Finally I guess 14, 15, I tried out for my high school ski team. I was the last kid to make the team. They take 15 kids. I was number 15, proud number 15. And as I skied with them, I started to learn a little bit more, what I would do before. That was what would sorta prep me for making the team was I would follow around a mountain.

All of the kids that were in ski programs. I couldn't afford a ski program back then. The first mountain I ski that was $5. The lift ticket. I couldn't afford a lift ticket. Okay. When I went to Belleayre, it was $9 a day. So what I would do, I would ski behind the other kids that were in the race programs and see what they did and, and try to pick it up and, and follow and make the same moves they were making.

And you know, that's how I progressed. And I got, I got to the point where I was good enough to become number 15 on ski team. So fast forward to that year on the ski team, I guess, halfway through, I started getting better and better. So I think by the end of that season, I was probably number 12 or number 10, who knows.

But I did get better. I, I just kept progressing. That was, that was really the extent of it. And then I went away to college and I didn't ski much. I mean, I was, I was an avid skier. But I was playing another sport and, you know, they, they frowned upon you skiing. So we we'd steal away and get a couple of days in here and there, but it was, so it was so much fun when I got out of college, I always, you know, going back to high school, the kids on my ski team would all go to Europe or out to Colorado for for Christmas holiday. I'd be at Belleayre. I couldn't go to those kinds of places. You know, it's a few thousand dollars. A family trip would go and they'd ski all over the world. And I told myself when I got out of college that the minute I have a couple of dollars, I'm going out west. So, in the early eighties I put together some money and took my first trip out west first mountain I went to was Breckenridge and that was great, but I got there at night.

You know, it was such a long travel. Imagine this, I put everything together the whole week, the lodging, the airfare to lift tickets, everything was 500 bucks,

Kris05:22

Wow.

Henri05:23

everything, everything. So needless to say, as soon as one part of the puzzle, didn't line up, I wound up being in the airport for about eight extra hours until the next ride came.

So I get to the I get to my lodging. It's like maybe midnight, you know? So can't see anything. I can't see a thing I get inside. I wake up the next day and I walk outside and I looked and the mountains are the largest mountains I've ever seen in my life. I mean, from the street that I'm on, I'm looking up and I, it just seems like the peak just keeps going up.

And I was just like in total or total shock, I was like, Wow.

this is big mountain skiing this is Colorado so I started back into my ski journey, loving it. And every year that's all I did. As soon as the snow hit, I would just ski to the point where I told my, my wife to be at that time. I said, if you want to hang out, I said, you gotta learn how to ski.

I said, because otherwise six months out of the year, I'm going to be gone. I said, and you know, when I come home, hopefully you'll be here. So she learned how to ski and it became a family venture. My triplets, I have triplets, they, they grew up skiing. They started skiing when they're about a year and a half and they haven't stopped.

I mean, they're amazing little skiers we have a great program at Wyndham. It's a great family program. So it allowed me to teach them and watch them learn and grow. They're all. Now first year U16 Alpine racers, and they also race skier cross. But they're doing very well and that's how it became a family endeavor and we all participate.

And it's part of it's part of our family life. You know, we know come November, we're done, we're done until March we're skiing every weekend. And that's, that's where we're at.

Kris07:17

I love it. That's the life. That's the life. So you joined the National Brotherhood of Skiers in 96, and you are now their 16th president. Tell us a little bit about NBS.

Henri07:30

The NBS is a great organization. You know, I wish I had known about the NBS when I was much younger. I didn't find it until I was in my thirties, but so 1996, someone, I was actually on a beach in Jamaica reading a ski magazine and somebody walked by and oh you ski. I said, Yeah.

So they informed me about the NBS.

So the next trip they were having, the next summit they were having was in Austria. And I said, okay, I'll go. So I had never been to Europe. I said, okay. It sounds like a, sounds like a good trip. Good plan. So I went over there and honestly, before that point, I'd never really skied with more than two or three Black people or people of color at all.

Didn't think that much of it, you know, I figured this was just a space that, you know, would not be. Very diverse. It was a space that wasn't very welcoming, but it wasn't a space that I felt intimidated in because I love skiing. So I really didn't care what the look was, what the comment was. Didn't matter to me cause I was going to ski anyway. So now I'm in Europe. And I get out there and I see so many people, so many people of color, so many Black people, it was just, it was just so enlightening. It was, it was like, wow, this is so cool. Since that day I've never missed a summit okay. And then everyone that you've I've met over the years becomes a friend.

You know, everybody within that organization, you know, right now we, we say we have about 3500. Members, I honestly can tell you. I know every single one of those people by face might not know all their names, but I know every single one of them by face, and it's such a close knit family oriented organization that, you know, once you're in it, you don't ever want to leave it.

You know, you're like, you know, you can't wait for the first day of summit. And then the last day comes and you're crying and you're like, oh, I'm not going to see you guys for the next event. But it, it is great. So my progression within the organization, I came in in 96 entered the first ski race with them did well, I think I came in third or something did well and I liked what was happening.

So I said, okay, how do I get involved with the organization? I, I like the competition side of there's a whole lot of parties, a whole lot of great events that are great. They they're, they're amazing. And you want to partake in those, but I really enjoyed the skiing aspect and the racing aspect. So I said, okay, how can I help the organization?

And that was through coaching. So I became a certified coach, started helping with the national coach, the national team, helping coach that team and, and just kept wanting to get more certifications and, and improve my ability as a coach. So just kept going to classes and, and clinics and everything I could.

And I became, as I became a certified coach, then I said, well, where can I go to maintain this and actually do this when I'm not at a summit because the summits only 7 days so, you know, how do I, how do I maintain coaching throughout the course of the winter? That's when I came and I said, you know what, let me try Wyndham.

I went to Wyndham, they opened their arms. They said, sure, come on in and coach with us. And that's where I started coaching. And that's where I've been coaching. As I did that, then I said, okay, maybe I should become a a certified instructor as well. So I did that and I am a level, two instructor at one more level to go.

I'm a master teacher and a children's specialist, but you know, that, that was the progression. And as that was happening, I was using the skills I was learning and the techniques I were learning to help the National Brotherhood of Skiers coach our national. Now the mission of the National Brotherhood of Skiers is to identify, develop, and support athletes of color that are going to win international Olympic competitions representing the United States.

And we also add to that, that we want to increase participation in winter sports. Now, if you think about that, the competition is excellent. It's really good. And it's what drives a lot of competitive spirit in athletes. But to get those athletes, we have to increase awareness. We have to increase our outreach.

We have to bring in more candidates and more athletes into the athletic pool so that we have you know, we can build a stronger team. So what we're focusing on much more now, not much more, but we're focusing on more within the National Brotherhood of Skiers is expanding our winter outreach programs. So this year. We partnered with Katz Amsterdam. They gave us a grant, almost a hundred thousand dollar brands and that was spreading over four clubs. One of our clubs in Detroit, the Jim Dandys a club in Boston, Boston Ski Party, a club in Ohio COAST and a club in New York the Thrillseekers..

So those four clubs will each host five outreach trips to the mountain exposing youth probably 50 to a hundred, a youth per trip so that's anywhere from 250 to 500 per club per year. That's going to get exposed to skiing. We're also going to find and train four additional ski instructors. Now. That is critical because you want the kids that you're teaching and training to see role models.

I mean, just like anything else in life, if you see it, you can be it, you know, but if you'll always see the other guy on the other side, you're like, well, maybe that's not for me. Maybe I can't be an instructor. So this is to, to open up that thought process. So they see that this is a possibility, you know, and that's the outdoor industry is so vast and it's so it's it's so I didn't even know how to say it, but if you're, if you've interacted with the outdoor environment, you won't kill this planet, you know, you won't destroy it.

You know, you're going to want to cherish it. You're going to love it and you're going to want to help it grow. So I think that we really need to focus on that, especially now with the climate crisis that we're in, you know, The climate crisis going to happen anyway, but mankind has definitely accelerated that whole process substantially exponentially.

So, you know, that's, that's what we're doing with the winter outreach. This year we have 16 athletes on team NBS. They're all receiving a scholarship awards to help them further their training, their travel whatever we can do to help them pursue this dream. That's what the NBS is going to do for them. I after becoming an instructor and a coach with the NBS And I, I don't even remember what year, 2003, 2004, I was appointed the Olympic scholarship fund administrator. That was the person that oversaw the monies that we collected to administer the scholarship awards to our athletes. After that I was appointed the national competition director.

After that, I ran for regional vice president, not regional vice president, national vice president. And I won that. And now I ran for president and I won the presidency. So as a 2020 I'm the 16th president of National Brotherhood of Skiers, it is an honor to be amongst those individuals that have led this organization because the organization historic and itself, know, we've been around 50 years, skiings been around a long time.

But we've been around the same time as modern skiing. You know, so I want people to really understand that Blacks are not new to skiing okay. And, and it's you know, people are missing from, especially the ones that say, oh, Black people, ski, you know, that's the farthest thing from the truth, Black people, don't ski, that's totally wrong.

There are many Blacks that ski snowboard and, and I say ski, but when I say ski, I do mean all snow sports, snowboarding, riding, tele, whatever it is, we do it. And we do it well, you know, so what I really want people to take away from this is that we are the NBS. The NBS has been around a very long time and we're going to be around a long time.

We are part of the snow sports industry. The snow sports industry is aware. They have awoken to this position that they do realize. That Black people do ski. They do realize that the NBS is here. They do realize that the NBS is a resource for them. We're here to help them. They're the only ones that can change the perception and what's happening in the snow sports industry, but we can help.

We can guide them. We can give them insight. We can tell them the things that shouldn't be done. We can tell them the things that shouldn't be said. And we can help them with their marketing campaign. You know, they, if you're going to market to Black people, you need Black people in your marketing material.

I mean, it's not, it doesn't take too much to figure that one out. So we're working hand in hand with a lot of different entities within the snow sports industry to make this a reality. It's a shame that people don't realize it's not that hard. It's not that difficult. It's difficult if you don't want to do it. Okay. So, so, you know, my, I say to them, and I say to all the naysayers, if you really want to do this, it can be done. You know, it really can, and, and it should be done because as, as you find, the more diverse you make your team, the better your team produces you know, and that's in every aspect of life in business, no matter what it is, you know?

So once we start looking at ski resorts, looking at the management of ski resorts, looking at operations of ski resort, ski instructors, patrollers, hospitality managers, you start bringing. People of color into those positions. You're going to see an increase in your revenue. You're going to see an increase in, in your membership or your participants or, or the people, and your vendors.

All of that's going to change all that's going to increase and your bottom line is going to increase. You know? So the question is, do you want to do that or not?

Kris18:57

Yeah.

Henri18:58

Because there's no way that it's been proven that financially that's the, it's a goldmine for you. You know, it's a goldmine. So if you don't want to do it, that means you don't want the money.

That means that you don't want to be inclusive. That's what it means. It is. There are no two ways to say it. There's only one way to say it either you do it, or you don't either you want it, or you don't want it, that's it, you know,

Kris19:29

Well, and the census that came out in the U S last year and Canada, the year before both show that like these two countries are diversifying exponentially fast. So that's an, that's an entire market that some people are leaving on the table.

Henri19:47

Yeah. And as you, as you know, from next census report, 2045 is the year that the minority residents will, will be the primary inhabitants of the country. So do you want to, w do you want to plan for the future, or do you want to not plan and fail? You know, what are you going to do?

And again, the, the question is so simple, you know, do you, do you want to do it, or do you not want to do it? That's it? That is all there is to it. You know, we can have, we can sit down, we can have meetings. We can have zoom meetings every month or DEI committee meetings and all these different think tanks and processes on how do we make snow sports more inclusive?

How do we do that? You know, if you want to do it or you don't, you hire people or you don't, if you don't, oh, Well, we've got to build up our infrastructure that will support us, hiring Black people and people of color to work in our resorts that are all white. Well, you can't wait to hire people to increase your, your inclusion. You know, if you wait, oh, well, let me work on my infrastructure. I'll wait five years and build this up. And then I'll start hiring that doesn't work. All right, you have to do all these things simultaneously. You must bring people and sure. You might lose some people because they said I'm not working here.

I'm the only Black person in this whole place. And they might walk out, but you might get two more that say, Hey, I don't mind. And I want to help increase diversity within this organization. And then once you get two then you get four and you get eight, then you get 16. Next thing you know, you've got an inclusive workforce, you know, but you can't do it.

Wait I'm gonna, I'm going to train all the existing white employees I have when how to accept a Black employee coming in. I should be ready to start hiring in about five years. Okay. All right. So I'm gonna put your resume in this file cabinet and wait. And then five years, I'll start hiring you guys, you know, do you want to do it or you don't want to do it?

We're back to, there's only one question, you know, that's it. So we can play around with it all you want, the reality is, are you ready to do this or not? Hopefully the NBS will, the direction I want to go with the NBS is to be that resource. For a lot of these industries and tell him just what I told you guys, if you want to do this, we we're here to help.

We're here to assist, but you got to pull the trigger. You're the one that has to make this happen. You have all the money, you have the resources, you have the facility. What do we have? We have nothing, you know, but we can tell you what you need to do. And we can tell, we can tell you how we can help, but you've got to want to do this. And then again, the next question, I'm sorry to keep cutting you off, but the next question is do you want to stay exclusive or do you really want to be inclusive? You know, so it's the guy and I'm going to, he's sitting up there in that white ivory tower and he's looking down at his exclusive resort.

Does he really want Blacks and people of color in his resort? That's the real question. Does he want to do that or, or not? He's the one. It's not, it's not his CEO. It's not his manager. And I'm saying his, it could be hers. I don't know, but it's not, it's not their call because there are a lot, I've met many CEOs, many presidents of organizations that definitely want to see inclusion.

They definitely want to see more diverse communities at more diverse populations at their resorts. I know it, and, but they're not the ones that are signing the check. You know, they're not the ones that, that write the policy that they'd say, okay, let's do it. You know, they can make the recommendations, but it's not their call.

So we've got to convince the ones that are pulling the strings, the ones that make the calls to make the call, you know, and say, okay, this is what we need to do. This is the way it needs to go. In 2045, We're going to have such a diverse and inclusive population. I would want to be ahead of that. I would want to be, you know, people are going to say, when I went, before I joined the NBS, I don't think I've ever missed a ski magazine.

Okay. So what I would do back then is I'd flip through and say, what do I want to go skiing? Because back then they advertise all the trips in the books. They don't do that anymore, but they used to advertise all the trips in the book. And as I flipped through, I would look to see if I see any faces that looked like mine.

And back then I saw none, zero none, none, absolutely none. And so that wasn't a barometer for whether I would go to the mountain or not. For me, it was just whether it was a mountain that was challenging enough or a mountain that had never been. Now when I go through, or maybe even the last 15 years as I flipped through magazines, I say, do I want to go to this mountain?

And I'll look at their brochure if I don't see, and I'm counting, I count constantly if I'm flipping through and let's say, I just went through Free Rider, Free Rider magazine. All right. Their buyer's guide for this year. I don't know how many pages, maybe 150, 200 pages in the magazine. Three faces of color, one Black male and two Asians. And one was a female Asian yeah, three, three in 150 200 pages. You know, that's a abysmal , that's terrible it what we need to be doing. And it's. You know, in February Black history month, let's make sure that we get a lot of photo-shoots and get a lot of color in our magazine, and then those Blacks and people of color that want to travel.

Oh, they're going to travel during Black history month. So let's make sure that our magazine and our brochures are loaded. You know, I'm looking at all the other months for me, Black history month is 12 months a year. Okay. I wake up Black everyday, you know, there's no change for me. So I want to see consistency that it, and it's not, it's not a difficult task.

It is not, you know, it right now, anything they do is better than what they have done. All right. Cause if I look to this magazine, I see 3 faces of color in a whole magazine, and then, you know, you look at PSIA, you look at USSA and oh, all of the organization. They need to really start representing. And if they do it, they can do it on a small scale and just ramp it up.

I was online today and I went to the Spyders website. I clicked, I saw a pair of pants that, you know, I don't need, I don't need ski pants for rest of my life, but I saw a pair of ski pants and I said, wow, those look really sharp. And I did it at the wrong time because my wife was over my shoulder and she was ready to hit me in the head.

And so I click on the pants and it was a moving a model. He was Black. I was in shock. I screamed, I said, look at this, Spyder is taking the initiative. It was the only, only model they had on the page. And he was Black. And I was like, wow. I was like, you know what? And I say that, and I'm happy to say that because Spyder partnered with us last year, Spyder is a huge supporter and sponsor of our national team of the National Brotherhood of Skiers team.

And they're, they're remarkable and what they're doing, but I did not know that that model was, on their on their website. So when I clicked on it, I was just really, I was really happy. I was in shock and I said, this is great. And this is what needs to happen. I don't think you're going to hurt sales because a white patron goes on your website and they see a Black model.

I don't think it's going to hurt you. I think it's going to help you. If a Black patron goes on your website and they see a Black model, I can almost tell you, I would've, I would've bought those pants if my wife. Wasn't sitting there. I would have bought them okay. I would have bought them. Right. But, you know, it's just, I keep saying it over and over again, but it's just such a daunting task that they don't understand.

It isn't that daunting, you know, the, answer is what do you really want to do? You know? That's the question.

Kris29:03

I mean, you said the people who were running resorts, the, you know, the industry leaders, they have the money, the resources, the facilities, but NBS has something magic. And I want to know what it is your retention rate for a first time. Skier is five times the national average. When people come to see, come out with you the first time they come out, they stay with skiing.

So like, tell me your approach is different. So tell us about it.

Henri29:32

our approach is a family approach. Our approach is a friendly approach. Our approach is to make sure that you don't get hurt, that you can experience the thrill of skiing with somebody holding your hand. Right? Because I, believe that we've come through it. So, so many of us come through that process. I remember about 25 years ago, I was coming back from Taos New Mexico, and it was an airport.

And I saw a young lady that I'd seen on the trip. And I said to her, how was your experience? She was upset. She was livid. There's nobody helped me. Nobody showed me anything. And I was like, really? And I was like, why didn't you ask? I said, I didn't realize that you were by yourself and no one was there to help you.

So she had gotten pushed off and, and left for the mountain ski school to help her. What NBS does. We have never, ever clinics, not even clinics because before the last two years we were not a certified ski school. We are now a certified ski school. But we used to have, and we still do have like orientation clinics with all of our never Evers.

Anyone that signs up first time skier that wants to experience this we make sure we'll hold a hand and I'm telling you some, so many instructors will come back after days. And oh my God, they can't ski, you know, and it's funny, but they don't mean anything negative about it, but it's just that they, they spent their whole day making sure that they got through the experience.

The initial experience was the worst. I've seen people coming out of the rental shop with their boots on the wrong feet and the rental shop didn't even tell them. You know, so we, you know, we, we hold their hand, we take them through it. So that's one aspect of why our retention rate is higher. That's just one.

The other aspect is that our summit and our events are such a great time. The, events that we have, the parties that we have, the après ski that we have, it's off. There's nobody, there's no place I've been that does it better, no place. So even if you're dissatisfied with how your skiing turned out or how your, your first-time event skiing turned out, it doesn't matter.

You're going to give it a second shot because the parties were unbelievable. You're going to come back and say, wow, well, I did have a good time and, you know, at the happy hour, so maybe next year I'll come back and I'll do happy hour first, and then ski, no never do that. But they build such a rapport with everyone there.

And the comradery is what keeps people coming back year after year after year. I, and people that I've met in 1996, still come we're good friends and we look for each other every year, you know, and that's why we all come. You know? So I think that's part of that. That's a major part of our retention. It's a comradery that's built over the years and people just love the NBS.

They love their friendships. You know, it's your ski family,

Kris32:49

I I have not had an opportunity to come to a summit it's it's on it's high on my bucket list.

Henri32:56

February 5th through the 12th, 2022 Snowmass, Colorado.

Kris33:01

Snowmass.

Henri33:02

Okay.

Kris33:03

Wow. And even, even last year, I did attend online last

Henri33:07

Oh, you did come to the virtual.

Kris33:09

Yeah. Even online. That was a party.

Henri33:11

Oh yeah. Thank you for supporting us. And you know, we're not quite out of the woods yet with COVID-19, so we're really hoping we're planning for a great event, but in the interim, if anything should go awry and if any of the COVID spikes or you know, we'll, we'll have to go a different avenue, but hopefully we go right now.

This is October 21st, is that right? October 21st, we have almost 700 individuals registered for our event and we still have five months ago. So, you know, I, I think that we'll definitely reach a thousand and we're going to have another great, great summit, another great event. And this time it will be in person.

Kris33:59

Amazing. Yeah. I really want to come. I really want to bring my dad. I don't think my dad has ever skied with other Black.

Henri34:06

Oh,

Kris34:07

Other than his brother.

Henri34:08

Please bring them. And I'm telling you the first time I experienced, oh, the best one was in 1997 for me. I was at Vail resorts at Vail and I I came out of my condo and I was in the town Plaza and everyone out there was Black. I mean, but it was full there were 5,000 people there.

It was unbelievable. And I was just like, I, you know, I was, I was smiling So much, you know, you just like, you were just in heaven. I was like, wow, this is amazing.

Kris34:45

So I'm coming very close to your 50th season and, and you've been with the organization for a long, long time. What innovations or progressions are you seeing in the sport?

Henri34:59

Wow. You know, what's, what's helped the industry overall is the new design of the shaped ski that's helped a lot because that's allowed people, the learning curve on how to ski, how to move up from a novice to an immediate much quicker. And, and that's helped the industry a lot. It's helped us a lot.

What innovation I'm looking to see, not innovation. It's, it's a clarification. I want to see more, more inclusion. I, you know, we're starting to see very slow the wheel turning so slow with this. It's tough, but, but I would like to see changes in management. I would like to see additions

in PSIA the professional ski instructors of America. What do you have CA what is it CSI a or something up in Canada, but PSIA, we've got thousands of instructors across the country. We have two Black examiners in the whole country two you know, so we've got to work on that. That's what I, I think once we start getting that happening that will attract more and more instructors to pursue higher levels of instruction. You know, we see that happen, that in itself will, will be a catalyst for more people wanting to come out and, and, and find out what's going on. What is this all about? You know, and it'll spark that interest. We get that going. That is what I'd like to see. That's the innovation I'd like to see, but it's gotta be, you know, Within management, like I said, hospitality, you know, you go to some of the, think about this.

I go to Jamaica, west Indies, and almost all of the resorts are run. You, you, the hospitality managers are Black and the chefs are Black and, and they're excellent cooks, you know, and their, management is very good. They send more of their cooks, their chefs and managers overseas, because Jamaica is a small island, you know, so that, I think that is their one of their jump off points with it where people can go abroad and, and study and

make their dream come true. So they go all over and you know, you go to Boston and you'll see hospitality managers that are Black and, and you're like, wow, okay. So that's what we need to start seeing in the snow sports industry. There are, you know, there are so many capable, competent individuals of color and, I don't even know why I have to say this there should be no reason to say this.

I mean, you look at, the people that put rockets on the moon and rocket in space, the mathematicians were Black, you know, so what more do you need that is probably, you know, those people were putting their lives in this one, Black woman's hands, you know, and they're still, and they came back, you know, so they got to know that we're more than competent.

So that's, that's what needs to happen, you know? So I know it wasn't exactly the answer to the question that you asked. that's, that's what I'm looking for. Those are the types of innovations I would like to see all across the board, you know, and it's got to happen, not just inclusion with Black skiing, you know, that's one aspect of it, but we need to see Blacks in the snow sports industry and the outdoor industry, you know, we have very few park Rangers that are Black, you know, and, and at the turn of the century, not this turn back in the 19 hundreds, they had a few, there are quite much more than we have now, but then they shut that down, you know?

So we, there's just so many opportunities that these young kids don't realize are out there and we have to make these, these career paths known to them. So you look, you can do this, you know, and, and live a great life. You know, be in and be in nature. One of my daughters, she loves the water and she wants to be a Marine biologist.

So I'm really hoping that she sticks with that pursues a career in the outdoors, because it's so much better for you holistically, you know, you know, then being cramped up in the city, breathing all the smog and the, and the carbon monoxide that's coming out of every type of combustible engine in the city, you know, stay on the outdoors, stay away from us, you know, enjoy your life.

Kris39:44

Talking about attracting people or giving the people the understanding that there's these opportunities. It seems like there's this perception that snow sports happens far away in expensive places. But I mean, you have, the NBS has clubs all over the world and they're not in places that you would typically associate with skiing, like Aspen or Tahoe.

You've got clubs in Miami St. Louis, Atlanta you're everywhere.

Henri40:12

Yup.

Kris40:13

And so like these urban clubs. Places that are, you know, in the south, not typically associated with skiing, how are they outreaching in the community? How, like, how do they work?

Henri40:26

Well, you know, what's good about our organization is most clubs are year round. You know, So, there's not just skiing, it might be cycling. It might be kayaking. You might be hiking you know, bowling, but, but it's it's again, it's comradery. They, they build a a bond within the club. so then they get to the point where it's ski season and that in most of our clubs, I say ski and ski and ride or ski and skate or whatever it is, but they keep the interest all year long and then they plan that big excursion or two trips a year to do skiing.

And I think that's what helps us deal with the proximity issue, not being close to the mountains. You know, but they'll talk about it. You know, you do one trip, you're going to talk about it for the next 51 weeks until that, that, that we comes along again and then you can have that trip, you know? So that's, I think that's how we do it, but again, it's what keeps our retention rates so high it's the, the bond within the clubs, you know, it gives us something to talk about and something to plan for.

Kris41:45

So, so they're less of a ski club and more of a community

Henri41:48

yes, definitely. Definitely. Again, like I said, the NBS that these are