By Meegan Moszynski, NSP Executive Director

As the national conversation about racism amplified in late spring 2020, the national staff and I started to think about how NSP could contribute. Our 10-year strategic plan addresses our vision to “have increased membership numbers, diversity and increased retention” and ensure that “all of our members have compelling stories of patrolling success,” and we looked at this part of our vision as a guide to how we participate in next steps.

One of the first things we wanted to do was hear from our members. We took at a look at the comments we were seeing on social media, and we reached out to some of our members of color to see if they were willing to have a more in-depth conversation with us. The resulting dialogue between Mandela Echefu and Mark Hardy, moderated by Candace Horgan, is a glimpse into the environment of patrolling as a person of color. The conversation is genuine, raw and constructive, and we are so grateful for their candor.

Being a membership association, we frequently look at the dynamics of our members and how we can support them. We also focus on growth—how can we expand our membership, and how can we bring our training and education to a broader audience? I recently participated in a Town Hall conversation about “Creating Change Across the Winter Outdoor Industry,” hosted by Snowsports Industries America, to discuss how we can move forward as an organization in this space. Additionally, I am currently participating in training with a group of peer executives—from NSAA, PSIA, SIA, OIA and Share Winter—to work toward greater inclusion in winter sports. I hope that these opportunities for collaboration and accountability, along with a continuous conversation with our members, all will contribute toward expanding our membership and providing an environment for success.

I encourage you to view the whole video if you can. Both Echefu and Hardy shared a wide range of insights and experiences, and it’s a unique opportunity to be able to hear these direct perspectives. From their mutual love of skiing and patrolling, to their experiences being singled out because of their race, to their thoughts about bringing more people of color to snow sports and patrolling, there is a great deal here that is valuable to all of us.

As we continue in this work, I continue to be grateful to all of you for your service and dedication to NSP, and I look forward to continuing this conversation.

 Meet the participants

As the conversation about systemic racism is being addressed by multiple industries, Candace Horgan, the editor of Ski Patrol Magazine, held a Zoom video chat with two Black patrollers to talk about their experiences as patrollers of color. Mark Hardy has skied since he was young and now patrols at Alpental in Washington. Mandela Echefu, who moved to the U.S. from Nigeria at the age of 19, embraced outdoor recreation and patrols at Wisp Resort in Maryland. He didn’t start skiing until was 28.