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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A local ski club is doing its part to introduce the sport of skiing to undeserved neighborhoods across the Delaware Valley region. Joe White’s life has been going downhill for 32 years and that’s a really, really good thing.
“I was never in the service, I wanted to see the world and skiing took me all over the world,” said White.
At 80 years old, White is an avid skier and a longtime member of the Blazers Ski Club, which is currently celebrating their 40th season.
“I was in school and I saw a flyer for skiing and this was in 68 and I convinced one of my buddies to go with me. We went on a ski trip and I was hooked,” said founding member Louis Thompson.
“They were introduced to the sport of skiing but when they went to the mountains they didn’t see anyone who looked like them,” said President of the Blazers Ski Club Lavern Brown.
The Blazers and other affiliates of the National Brotherhood of Skiers have and are changing that.
The Blazers hold their monthly meetings inside the Belmont Mansion, which once served as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Significant in that the Blazers goal has long been introducing the sport to people of color. They currently have about 175 members in the Philadelphia region.
“When you have a group of people that come with you and see everyone have fun at the same time, it’s something you want to keep doing,” said skier Marc Chavarria.
The Blazers are completely self-funded and continue to grow, through their youth development program.
It’s a sport that is all about the journey and for members who have spent decades on the slopes, the Blazers ski journey has taken them all over the country and world.
“For me, I only have a high school education and I’ve been to most places in the world,” said White.
Joe has been to mountains across the mainland of the United States, Alaska, Canada, New Zealand and Europe five times.