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Huge donation from Eldora helps Colorado group Ski Noir's effort to diversify ski slopes

Huge donation from Eldora helps Colorado group Ski Noir's effort to diversify ski slopes
Huge donation from Eldora helps Colorado group Ski Noir's effort to diversify ski slopes 02:29

A large moving truck filled to the brim with ski equipment made its way down the mountain this summer and brought with it life-changing gear that could have an impact in diversifying Colorado's ski slopes.

"I truly have this fond memory growing up of just being accepted in a place that felt like a place I was welcomed," said Quincy Shannon, the president of Ski Noir 5280, a group dedicated to bringing access and diversity to Colorado's ski areas. "I had a chance to have some of these youth programs really have an impact on my life. What are the ways we don't have to reinvent the wheel?"

Shannon says he started the group to get more of his friends, who had never skied before, up into the mountains. He realized barriers like transportation and gear stopped a lot of people from getting involved in the sport. So he, and the rest of the Ski Noir team, started working to lift people up. 

"It started with something small like coats. And from coats I started getting gloves. From gloves I started getting hats. Aspen ski company donated 500 helmets," Shannon said. 

He kept conversations going last winter, and then found out that Eldora Mountain ski area wanted to donate its entire rental fleet to Ski Noir as part of its Play Forever initiative.

"We realized there wasn't a gear library on the Front Range," said Elly Orzsulak the Director of Rental, Retail and Guest Operations at Eldora. "I would still say it has some good amount of life. And the goal is to start doing this program every three years."

"When I first found out about the donation of skis was to be like, 'Thanks but I don't know if we're really prepared for that.' I got a storage unit and was like alright they'll bring a few skis a few snowboards down. And then they sent the manifest and the manifest had 1,000s of pieces on it. Opening that U-Haul. the look and expression on my face was like I don't think we have enough storage," said Shannon.


"We were overwhelmed, too, because this is one of the most heartwarming things we've been able to do since I've been at Eldora," said Orszulak.

Ski Noir is planning to take a slow approach in loaning out the fleet of gear. Right now, it's working on a liability waiver and finding ways to get the gear into rental spaces within the community in Aurora and Denver. 

"We know there's people in the community who would love an opportunity to go skiing or snowboarding who otherwise wouldn't have had that opportunity. What are ways we can lower some of those barriers to make sure they have those? And as we're doing that, how do we make the right partnerships," Shannon said. 

But the impact could be endless.

"The industry is very much a socioeconomic barrier, as much as it is a racial barrier. So, what are way we can make sure the people who get on the bus with us the people who go on trips with us feel welcome and feel like it's a family," Shannon said. 

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