Sun Valleys’ first black ski instructor tells story |

Sun Valleys’ first black ski instructor tells story

Allen Best

SUN VALLEY, Idaho Ð Ed King is finishing up his fifth year as a ski instructor in Sun Valley. He is the first black in the 70-year history of the Sun Valley ski school.

But in the 1960s he wasn’t exactly welcomed. Reared in Seattle, he comes from a family of blacks with a string of “firsts” among black people in Washington state. He took his first ski lessons at Steven’s Pass when he was 11 and he was immediately hooked.

In 1968, he became a certified ski instructor and went to Sun Valley. Although welcomed by some, he seems never to have been asked to teach, although who wasn’t interested in his services – the ski company or clients – was not clear from a story in the Idaho Mountain Express. Returning in 1970, the story was the same.

But after he returned again during the 1990s, Sun Valley was ready for him to join the ski school. “It is where I belong,” he says.

Powder persists on some slopes

SILVERTON, Colo. Ð The lower portion of Vail Mountain looks like something you left in the refrigerator too long. At Snowmass, the lake under one lift looks deep enough for waders for anyone attempting to retrieve a glove or a ski.

But at Silverton Mountain, there’s still powder. A storm the first weekend in April delivered 26 inches of snow. “It might be golf season in the lowlands, but up at 12,300 feet it is still mid-winter,” crows the new resort. Discounted skiing for its guided tours is available through April.

Meanwhile, Silverton Mountain continues to await word from federal officials as to what will be allowed on federal lands. Silverton hopes for unfettered skiing, but the more likely prospect is continued requirement of guides, as is being done now in the trial program.

Few places have as much steep-and-deep terrain Ð and hence as much avalanche threat. However, according to reports in various newspapers, the new resort has shown it can do avalanche control well.

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