In 1971, under the organizing of Robert "Bob" White and Ray "Shug" Robinson, six enthusiastic friends got together to form an African-American ski club. These six enthusiasts, Bob, Ray, Patsy Quarles (McClain), Ernestine Lilly, Kenneth and Hazel Murray were able to introduce and promote skiing to the Cleveland, Ohio inner city and surrounding communities. The INNER CITY SKI CLUB, INC., is the oldest African-American ski club in Ohio, and formerly known as the INNER CITY SKI BUMS, are members of the Cleveland Metropolitan Ski Council, and a charter member club of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, Inc. (NBS), a non-profit organization.
The National Brotherhood of Skiers formulated a concept that an African-American Skiers' organization could FIND, FUND and DEVELOP an African-American youth in the sport of skiing. During this process, all efforts have been in preparing youth for the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and the U.S. Handicapped Olympic Team. The NBS continues to meet that challenge by promoting and supporting strong regional and national competitors for top positions on the Alpine and Alpine Handicapped U.S. Olympic Development Teams.
The efforts of the Inner City Ski Club have resulted in thousands of Clevelanders learning to ski, families, and singles, young and not so young. In the past, the club has sponsored free ski clinics, demonstrations, and presentations at neighboring festivals, community centers, YM/YWCAs, community parks, Cleveland Municipal, East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and University Heights Schools, which have been among the priorities of the club. This has been accomplished through the use of movies, videos, presentations, and demonstrations with actual first hand instruction for all interested persons. The Ski Club is proud of their unique Careers Learn to Ski Program. In the past this program was carried into many of the local elementary, junior and senior high schools, with such magnifying results that a local Ski Area incorporated the concept into their marketing and programs offered to the public. Several ski clubs were formed in area schools through the exposure of the I.C.S.C. 'Learn to Ski Program', and remain active clubs within their schools.
Annually since 1974, a major contributor in exposing many of the inner city population to the sport of skiing has been through the efforts of the Inner City Ski Club, who have sponsored the "Learn to Ski" Ski Venture at a local area ski resort. It started as a means of exposure to a new family type activity, as well as a look at a new economically rising industry, and a new possibility for career vocations. It started as a dream of Blacks continuing to break the stereotype barriers; a gut feeling that it can be done, that we (Blacks) can do it – as good as anyone else, and with enjoyment. It started in anticipation that there will be vast opportunities for the mere seeker. At the time, there was one black ski instructor teaching in Ohio. Thirty-seven years later, that number has escalated many times over, numerous African-American instructors and coaches are employed at various Ohio ski resorts, ski academies, and throughout the U.S.A. and abroad. Similar opportunities are noted among racers, ski patrollers, industry representatives, and numerous new youth and adult skiers. Each year in the month of October, the club sponsors an "Open House and Membership Day" at a local Cleveland area church to share stories, movies, explain use of equipment, give demonstrations, and fellowship with interested citizens of the community.
The 'Learn to Ski' Venture has continued to thrive, introduce and expose hundreds of new skiers each year because of someone's love for the sport of skiing, and their commitment to inform, expose and break the ice with others. It has continued to be successful as a vehicle to bring family members and friends together, in a fun atmosphere and environment. The Annual I.C.S.C. Learn to Ski Venture was honorably and affectionately renamed the "Bob White Annual Ski Venture".
The Inner City Ski Club previously sponsored the Inner City Junior Ski Club. It now annually sponsors youth from within our communities to participate in Learn to Ski Exposure outings, at no cost to youth participants. The club also sponsors and subsidizes a five week youth 'Learn to Ski/Snowboard - Skills Enhancement Program', for members and others, ages 7 – 17. The program teaches basic ski / snowboard skills, and allows participants to advance to the next level based on individual improvement of his or her skills and skiing abilities, in an effort to create skilled skiers and snowboarders. The ultimate goal of the Skills Enhancement Program is in pursuit of creating racing qualified future faster skiers and snowboarders.