A note from President Lindsay:
Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr Day and we are in the middle of a much-anticipated snow storm that came just in time for one of the ski industry’s biggest holiday weekends. To us, this means lots of skiers flocking to the resort to have a ton of fun, celebrating a long weekend by playing in the mountains and finding solace in a much-needed respite from the turmoil of recent events.
I think we must acknowledge the irony of the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of the ski industry’s biggest weekends of the year while, according to SIA (Snowsports Industries America), fewer than 10% of skiers identify as black and nearly 70% as white.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are enormous and daunting issues. Speaking for myself personally – a white, middle class woman living in Vermont operating a small family ski area – making a statement on this subject feels like a very small contribution. I also understand that a statement is not enough – it is barely a beginning. But for something to go on, it must begin somewhere. I feel we all must create some vehicle of accountability for ourselves.
Skiing for me is one of the purest forms of joy I know. It is fun and fast and exhilarating. It is beautiful, sparkly, and in the mountains – offering a way to connect with the forest and the earth. And it binds me to a community of people – friends and family – and gives us a place and a way to have fun together – to let our guards down, to make connections, to feel safe and empowered.
For many, MLK is a day on – not a day off. And for many, a ski resort doesn’t feel like a welcoming place. Yet, everyone should have access to the kind of connectivity to others, to nature, and to themselves that skiing offers to those of us that love it. And creating spaces for connection and shared fun – I think – has a role to play in breaking down barriers and building trust.
At Bolton Valley, accessibility is and has always been a core tenant of our mission. When my father built the ski area more than 50 years ago now, he built it to serve working Vermonters – that’s why night skiing and kids programming have always been key to our operations. But financial barriers are not the only barriers to skiing – I think that’s something we’ve become more and more aware of over the years. And I would like for Bolton Valley to help turn the tide and promote and support greater equity and inclusion, in whatever ways we can.
With that in mind, we have developed a DEI Statement for Bolton Valley Resort. It is our way of beginning and our commitment to continuing.
Bolton Valley’s Commitment to Progress:
It’s been an unprecedented year for so many things, including public consciousness of the inequality so many people face on a daily basis. Outdoor recreation, the ski industry broadly and we here at Bolton Valley are all a part of the problem. Although one of our guiding principles has always been accessibility and affordability for families from all backgrounds, we have woken up to the reality that BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other minority groups have often not felt welcomed or included in that outreach. We can and must do better to make Bolton Valley inclusive for all.
Bolton Valley (and the ski industry as a whole) has long been represented primarily by straight cisgendered white people in our customer base, staffing and outreach. But like so many, we have been astonished and horrified by many of the events of the past year that have revealed deep-seated systemic inequities and racism in our society. And while this new-found awareness comes embarrassingly late for so many of us, it demands our attention and action. Forward progress and growth must be the next step.
We recognize that true, transformative change takes time, diligence and persistent effort. We are committed to undertaking this work together as a team and with our guests, industry and community.
Bolton Valley will:
Continue to support long standing partnerships with organizations committed to inclusivity, equity and growth like the CHILL Foundation and many local schools and rec departments through our After School Programs.
Find new partner organizations with shared goals of better diversity, equity and inclusion in all activities across the mountain year round.
Continue diversity training as a team in an effort to build a more welcoming environment for all. Our leadership staff is at varying stages of diversity and inclusion training offered by the National Ski Area’s Association, Snowsports Industries America and other organizations approaching this challenge from a similar lens.
Better incorporate diversity, equity and inclusivity practices into our hiring and career advancement. This includes more equitable and welcoming language in job descriptions (currently underway) as well as proactively recruiting candidates for employment and advancement from all backgrounds at all levels of the resort.
We all have a role to play in this growth and we are excited to undertake this work together. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns or feedback.