Creating a More Inclusive Industry & Sport


Last June, Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz sent an email to all employees on the systemic racism facing the Black community—making clear that, as a company, “We Are Part of the Problem.” Both Vail Resorts and the broader ski industry have incredibly low representation from people of color. Clearly, there are elements of ski and snowboard culture that are not inviting to newcomers and as a company, we acknowledge that we have not done enough to solve for that.


We have started to build our roadmap for a multi-year journey to address the lack of diversity in the industry, with a current focus on fostering a more inclusive company culture. All Vail Resorts’ employees have been encouraged to take the time to listen, learn and grow in order to create an environment where everyone feels welcome.

  • We established a new company core value at our annual Leadership Summit—Be Inclusive: Welcome everyone to our company, resorts and communities—include all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities and other differences. We will hold ourselves accountable for living this foundational value every day, in everything we do, from our work on the mountains to the board room.
  • We launched a new leadership development program: Leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to allow us to evaluate our current atmosphere and personal mindsets; to celebrate all forms of diversity; and to set the expectation that good leaders must build an understanding of DEI terminology, cultural contexts and unconscious bias. So far, three speakers have led candid, company-wide discussions for employees focused on race, inclusion and the importance of language in building an inclusive culture.
  • Pamela Culpepper, a DEI leader and founding partner of Have Her Back Consulting. Laying the foundation for future company priorities, Pamela led a discussion on race and inclusion. This conversation was a call to action for employees to put in the work to listen and learn.
  • Diego Zegarra, a former Park City Mountain lift operator who now works as the Community Impact Director with the Park City Community Foundation. Originally from Peru, Diego works to create opportunities for the local Latinx population and spoke about his experiences in the industry.
  • Harvey Floyd II, an organizational psychologist, senior executive coach and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Warton School who specializes in the areas of DEI. Harvey spoke with leaders across the company on the importance and impact of language in building an inclusive culture.
  • We are focused on elevating the voices of people of color across our company that choose to speak out about their experiences. In the most recent Epic By Nature podcast, we heard from six Vail Resorts team members spotlighting opportunities (and failures) for our company and industry—creating a clear call for us to do better.
  • We are matching our words with our actions. Vail Resort’s employee Political Action Committee has always taken a bipartisan approach to campaign contributions and will continue to do so. However, in light of certain events, we’re making necessary adjustments. Recently, there were efforts by some to overturn election results—specifically targeting areas of the country that would disenfranchise voters of color. Accordingly, the Board of the PAC has decided they will not make contributions to anyone who supported formal objections to the certified results of the presidential election.

In addition to creating a more inclusive culture, we are committed to increasing diverse participation in the sport by inspiring the next generation of skiers and riders. We’re expanding our youth access programs to all 34 of our North American resorts, including over a dozen that serve major metropolitan areas—providing free lift tickets, ski school and equipment rentals. Backed by a $10 million grant from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust over five years, $1.5 million was recently donated to nonprofits working to strengthen communities and youth of color in cities surrounding Vail Resorts’ locations. Full announcement here.


Across our company, we’re currently working through learning and engagement efforts. We’re at the beginning of a multi-year journey to create lasting change across the company and industry, and we’ll continuously be building on our Actions and measuring Outcomes to hold ourselves to our new core value: Be Inclusive.


If we genuinely want to address racial inequality, let’s start by talking about what part we play in it—not just make statements about how others can do better. And let’s begin by prioritizing dialogue that acknowledges we need to change. Despite having a long way to go, this is an issue we have to make progress on.

Rob Katz
CEO of Vail Resorts
Was this action helpful?