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U.S. national team skier to join Brotherhood in Whistler



Summit to bring thousands of black Americans for week-long event

Speed skier Andre Horton, one of the few black Americans at the top of the ski racing game, is getting excited to come back to Whistler for the National Brotherhood of Skiers Summit.

This place, specifically the Dave Murray Downhill, has nothing but fond memories for the 23-year-old racer.

It was here about four years ago when he ripped down that run to get his first ever Nor Am podium. It was a pivotal moment for Horton.

"That race was what helped me get on the national team," said the Alaskan native who is a member of the USST Development Team.

"Every time I go there I’ve had success on that hill. I just love the hill. It’s designed well for how I ski."

He’ll be back on the Dave Murray Downhill again on Feb. 5-6 when the NBS and the Whistler Mountain Ski Club hold the first international open invitational super G.

The top black American ski racers associated with the NBS like Horton, his sister Suki and Errol Kerr will compete against Whistler’s best, including Rachel Walker, Chris Colpitts and Kendall Benbow.

The super G will be just one part of the NBS festivities going on in the resort Feb. 1-8 during the 30 th anniversary celebrations of the largest ski organization in the United States.

The NBS is dedicated in part to promote winter sports among people of colour in urban areas. One branch, the western region, has been coming to Whistler for three of the past four years to celebrate its Winter Carnival event. Each time between 500 and 1,000 black skiers came to visit.

It would seem the western region relayed a positive experience to head office and now the NBS is coming for their bi-annual summit, a national event combining all four regions and bringing in about 4,500 members.

"I think that Whistler of course appeals to this organization because it’s the number one resort in North America," said Schone Malliet, executive vice president of the NBS.

"The other part of it is at this time there is truly economic value. The value of the dollar goes a long way in Canada these days."

He expects that between $4 million and $5 million in revenue will be generated in Whistler through this year’s summit.

Perhaps more importantly though for the young black athletes in the organization, the Summit is the key time to raise most of the money for the NBS Olympic Scholarship Fund.