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National Brotherhood Of Skiers Hopes To Attract More Black Skiers, Snowboarders

SNOWMASS, Colo. (CBS4)- Henri Rivers loves to ski, and he loves to ski fast. That much was easy to see as he blew bast CBS4 Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson in Snowmass Sunday afternoon.

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Rivers is the President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, a group with a mission "To Identify, develop and support athletes of color" in winter sports, and support bids for global competitions. This year, the group is meeting up where the mission started back in 1973.

"...When you came to the mountains in 1973, there wasn't a welcome mat out there," Rivers explained. "There weren't people saying come on and join us. It was kind of an exclusionary practice. So we felt more secure and safer traveling together."

Rivers said he still feels better on the mountain surrounded by skiers and boarders of similar skin tone but said there has been progress made to help inspire an underrepresented group on the mountain.

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"It used to be you were the only Black skier on the mountain, now maybe there's two or three," Rivers said. "And that's still not a lot, but it's a 200-300% increase so that sounds impressive!"

This weekend, the group is hoping to change the dynamic of the mountainside, if only for a few days.

"Come tomorrow, you'll see it 50/50," Rivers said, laughing.

Rivers believes spending the day on the mountain is an experience everyone should get to have, which is why his non-profit has helped get kids out on the slopes for years to experience it for the first time.

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"Those are the communities that really don't see mountains, don't have the exposure or experience with snow sports," Rivers said. "We're trying to change that. We want to make sure that everybody knows that the mountains are for everybody, and we want them to go out there and enjoy it. "

LINK: National Brotherhood of Skiers

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