Ski club drives Olympic dreams in Breckenridge |

Ski club drives Olympic dreams in Breckenridge

Larisa Graham
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Eric Drummond/Summit DailyNational Brotherhood of Skiers national race director Henry Drake (without a helmet) embraces Lyron Maxey as they exchange congratulations with other racers after competing in the club's Annual Meeting Challenge Cup Thursday in Breckenridge.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Adrienne Wiggins and her brother, Aaron, came all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, to attend the National Brotherhood of Skiers annual meeting this week in Breckenridge.

The brother-sister duo are members of the youth team, and when they train in Alaska, they rarely interact with any other African American ski racers.

“You feel so isolated sometimes, and you come here and get to see everybody and meet a lot of other people,” Adrienne said. “And different resorts get to see that there are African American skiers out there ” and we’re good.”

The Brotherhood, a group focused on youth skiers, tries to help young athletes like the Wiggins to become top-level athletes. Both Adrienne and Aaron hope to ski on the World Cup team, and have hopes of racing in the Olympics.

“There has never been a black skier in the Olympics, so we spend all of our money on those who are training because that is their aspiration,” said Rose Thomas Pickrum, president of the National Brotherhood of Skiers.

U.S. Paralympic team member Ralph Green already knows what it’s like for the Olympic dream to become a reality. Green was the first African American to make the U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski team, raced in the 2006 paralympics in Torino, Italy, and is training for the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Between traveling around the globe to attend World Cup races, Green tries to set aside time for the annual meeting.

“I make it to the NBS summit every year if I can, when I’m not racing. It’s a lot of fun, a lot of networking and a lot of skiing,” said Green.

Green, who lives in Vail and is sponsored by the Brotherhood, finds the organization helpful in raising awareness of young African American athletes.

“It’s important for organizations and ski clubs to get together as one and travel to different ski areas annually. To have fun, to network, to promote the awareness of skiing within inner-cities and to help produce a lot of the young African American athletes and to get behind them,” Green said. “So its definitely a good thing whenever we can come to a ski area and host a summit.”

Through its Olympic Scholarship Fund the Brotherhood has helped young adult skiers from around the country attend ski academies and compete in various national and international competitions.

“We would love one day to see an African American skier in the Olympics, not only to represent our country but represent us, the National Brotherhood of Skiers,” Pickrum said.

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