Originally Posted by faisasy
Back on topic...why are there so few minority skiers?
Here are some thoughts on the one particular minority ethnic group I have most experience with: Indians (as in, from the Indian subcontinent -- meant to include Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis). Note that these mostly pertain to immigrants and not to US-born Indians.
- Indians are generally pretty comfort-loving. A day spent lounging around, hanging out with friends, watching TV, or just even going for a drive are much more enjoyable ventures when compared to going out in the cold, struggling in ill-fitting boots and slipping and sliding on snow.
- Since Indians, for the most part, come from a pretty warm climate, the cold is hard to take. Lack of knowledge on how to keep warm is the main culprit here.
- Indians are also very social beings. It would be hard to get an Indian couple to spend a weekend in the mountains skiing or learning to ski by themselves. However, getting 10 or 20 friends/families to go up and spend the weekend together may be a more attractive option. Having non-skiing options will attract non-skiers in the bunch.
- Athletics and sports aren't a big part of the Indian culture once you "grow up". Sure there are a lot of kids playing football and cricket in the streets and fields, but once you're out of high school, participation in sports drops drastically. When Indians therefore come to the US they don't bring a huge past experience of physical activity. It'd be hard to get excited with the idea of yo-yoing up and down the mountain all day.
- Cost, as always, is a big barrier to entry.
As I mentioned, these apply mostly to those who have immigrated to the US. Indians who are born here in the US don't necessarily match all these stereotypes -- however, living in the immigrant culture, it'll probably take a generation or two for distinctly non-Indian activities like skiing to take hold.
It would be interesting to hear from instructors about what kind of return visits they've had from minority students.
I beg to differ on some of your points from a personal perspective....
1) I am a cold hog, winter beats summer hands down....
2)I spend 60-70% of my free skiing time alone, it gives me the chance to push myself a little beyond my comfort zone, allows me to progress technique which would not be done had I been in a large group
I speak from the perspective of a large number of sides being discussed here...
-a US citizen
-never saw real snow until about 8 years ago
-Grew up in E-africa
-Hadn't skied until 2001
-Am of southasian (indian)
-(Almost) full time ski instructor PSIA L1
Here;s what I see amongst south asian students and friends who don;t really ski...
I've had numerous south asian students who are never evers, and have returned for a second/third lesson later on in the season. This is everyone from the US born indian kid whose parents don;t/never will ski or the ones whose parents DO ski and are getting their kids to learn. I've also had numerous comments from these groups about the first time they've seen a brown dude instructing (positive remarks that is). In regards to the type of skiing, I've never seen an indian racer, or someone with a high level of technical ability i.e. PSIA L8 or above, mostly the return/ regular indian skiers relegate themselves to the green/blue plateau.
Why? This has to do a lot with the indian mentality of cautiousness; i.e. fear of injury, which in my opinion is due to the general indian mentality of living life on the tamer realm of things. This is true amongst my non skiing friends who have come out on the once- a year excursions, I see the same level of cautiousness on the slope.
Another thing I've noticed is the growing number of parents who push skiing on their younger kids in an effort to 'add to the resume' which is a very common theme amongst imigrant indian parents and their first generation US born kids. I've had mixed results with these kids, some seem to pick up the basics right away and keep on track with the normal progressions while others lets say take a while and don't have the urge/drive to learn to ski.
The south asian market is a huge untapped income earner for resorts, especially in the NE. There is a large proportion of south asians who can afford(monetarily) to ski but don't because of the lack of exposure. I think as time progresses, there will be this shift and you'll see the brown folk RETURNING to the slopes in larger numbers
Also, YUKI mentioned resorts hiring the barely ski proficient minority instructor to overcome language barriers, I think I may know who she is reffering to; didn't see her get too many lessons though, sometimes, at a place like __ ____, it becomes a necessary evil in order to satisfy the customer....