Ebony Ice Encourages Black and Brown Communities in Milwaukee to Embrace Snowboarding and Skiing

Over 30 Years of Service

It’s an ongoing joke in the Black community that when winter hits then we are in the house. Without our daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun this can lead to multiple issues such as depression and lack of energy. To counteract the lack of activity, Ebony Ice Ski Club has been around for almost 35 years building involvement and a focus on representation in snow sports with a mission to introduce and promote skiing and snowboarding to Black, Brown, and P.O.C. communities.

Ebony Ice is a Milwaukee-based club that was founded in 1989 by Edna Abernathy, Greg Patterson, and Vickie Underwood. It is a branch of The National Brotherhood of Snow Sports (NBS).

Ebony Ice Ski Club.
Ebony Ice Ski Club. (Picture by Ebony Ice Ski Club)

The organization doesn’t teach lessons themselves but instead hosts group settings at different slopes around Wisconsin where they collectively take lessons from professionals. Ebony Ice President Brenda Dillard says being in groups takes away the fear and provides a community of support. The group settings are being held at The Rock Sports Complex in New Berlin, Wisconsin.

“It’s all about mentorship. A good solid lesson is important. I don’t recommend your friends going out to teach you,” said Dillard.

Increasing Accessibility

Ebony Ice hosts affordable annual learn-to-ski and snowboard events to make winter activities more accessible. At the top of 2024, the organization will host two one-day lessons and one four-day lessons. The lessons are open to all ages and skill levels and start at $65.

“I’m so excited anytime anyone wants to know more,” said Dillard.

The organization is moving in the direction of promoting cross-country skiing which is on flat snow. Ebony Ice typically trains going downhill, which can be more difficult for some.

Along with teaching the fundamentals of the activities, Dillard said it’s equally important to dress the part. Dillard added that people tend to avoid winter sports because of the cold, but with the proper attire, one can focus on the joys of being outside.

Dillard has been participating in winter activities for 30 years. She was introduced to her lifelong hobby by a church friend. For Dillard, being out on the snow is freeing.

“I’m dancing with the mountains. I’m ballroom dancing out there. I be jamming. It’s so exhilarating and it’s freeing. It’s so beautiful. The views from the top are worth it.

– Brenda Dillard

Learn More

To learn more about Ebony Ice, click here.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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