By Amy Fendley
The National Brotherhood of Skiers arrived in Whistler this week for their 1999 winter carnival, On the Move to Olympic Glory, which is held in honour of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The NBS’ purpose in hosting the carnival is to support its mission of identifying, financing and developing young people of colour into Winter Olympic calibre athletes.
The annual carnival, which this year is drawing 1,500 members, has been held in Alpine Meadows, at Lake Tahoe for more than a decade. But Michael Steinback, public relations director for NBS, says this year Whistler was the destination chosen based on popular demand.
"Last year we went to Park City, Utah, a first-time change from Tahoe, and in the planning of that it was decided that next year’s would be in Whistler," said Steinback.
"We’re a very colourful organization with a lot of youth. The carnival is a time for races and we try to have a lot of fun in the process."
The carnival is a reunion of sorts for 1,500 NBS members belonging to 23 western region clubs in the United States representing adults and youth. Members are mostly serious and recreational skiers, snowboarders, and parents of youth racers.
Proceeds from the event benefit the NBS Youth Ski and Outreach Programs such as alpine ski and snowboard race training, personal leadership development and life skills. The organization’s goal is to enhance the development and support of American athletes in winter sports — with the emphasis on skiing — and providing the necessary skills to place African Americans on the United States Winter Olympic Team.
Nationally, the NBS Olympic Scholarship Fund provides financial resources to qualified youth who meet the educational and training requirements of future Olympians. A maximum number of 16 youth are enrolled per year at various ski academies.
The NBS is a non-profit, tax exempt corporation made up of more than eighty member clubs with a combined membership of 15,000 adults and children.