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.
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.