Vermont’s first Black ski director paves the way for people of color

Hometown Heroes

LONDONDERRY, Vt. (NewsNation Now) — Robert Johnson Jr. is the first African American ski director in all of Vermont. He is paving the way for people of color in the snowsports industry.

Johnson, ski director at Magic Mountain, has been skiing for 43 years. Johnson told NewsNation affiliate WVNY he hopes to bring diversity to the sport for the upcoming season.

“When we see people who look like us we gravitate to whatever it is that we’re doing,” Johnson said. 

Johsnon said there’s only 2-10% of people of color participating in the sport.

“So that means there 98-90% of people out there, willing for us to just market to them,” Johnson said. 

He believes the sport has economic barriers to entry that lead to racial barriers and said the snowsport industry should rethink their hiring process.

“Hiring not just marketers but Black people who understand the issue who know where to research to draw people in and how,” Johnson said. 

The President of Magic Mountain, Geoff Hatheway said diversity and inclusion are very important in skiing.

“This is what we’re about, this is what the sport of skiing is about, it’s not about excluding people it’s about including people,” Hatheway said. 

NewsNation affiliate WVNY contributed to this report.

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