Cultural Diversity Works On Ski Slopes
For the longest time, the ski slopes up here in Canada have been a pretty non-diverse environment. The population of skiers have always been as white as the snow on the ski slopes themselves and I didn’t really have an issue with that. In fact, when I’m skiing, I totally forget about the fact that I just might be the only Asian on the ski slopes and probably the only ski instructor for sure that’s not white.
The vast majority of my ethnic friends and relatives around my age group wouldn’t go near a ski slope if you paid them. Winter sports just are not the thing for them and this kind of continued even down to my younger brother’s age group.
The school groups here in Ontario all have ski trips where at least more students in the grade schools get a chance to try out skiing and snowboarding. I taught many ethnic students during these school trips when I was on staff at a local ski resort that caters to a lot of schools. It was interesting to see how bits of cultural diversity works now on the slopes as black, Asian, Indian, Arab, kids try out skiing.
Of course I knew that getting them to continue the sport would be something different altogether since skiing and snowboarding are not inexpensive sports to pursue. Many of their families probably wouldn’t have the financial means to let their kids continue even if they ended up liking the sport.
Then there’s the ethnic (and non-ethnic) impression that skiing and snowboarding are dangerous sports. Sure there are accidents but from a statistical point of view, many more people die in car accidents than on skis. The Natasha Richardson incident certainly didn’t help the image of skiing.
The fact is if skiers and snowboarders learn continuously under the watchful eyes of certified instructors, and I mean continuously, not just 1-2 lessons, then the chances of bad accidents are minimalized. Plus the fact that the majority of skiers and snowboarders out there today do wear helmets, should do wonders in increasing the safetly levels.
This winter, I’m seeing more young (teens and college age) people of ethnic culture, especially young Asians, on the ski slopes. I’m starting to see groups of Asian snowboarders and interestingly enough, not only males but females. In fact, the other day at the same local ski place I use to teach school students at, in front of me in the chairlift line were four young East Indians. They were all snowboarders and what was surprising to me was that three of them were girls.
This is a good sign since ethnic girls especially, have not been very adventurous in sports and this might be cultural. But to see both Asian and East Indian girls out there snowboarding or skiing is a positive sign for both cultural diversity and the winter sports industry itself. Diversity works on the ski slopes.