Anchorage, AK, April 2, 2001--An easy-going giant of skiing talent, Andre Horton races internationally on a scholarship from the National Brotherhood of Skiing (NBS). Andre, 21, along with sister Suki, 18, hail from Anchorage, Alaska, are both the top African-American ski racers in the US Ski Team's development program and the country.
The NBS, founded in 1973, is the nation's largest ski club. Their objectives include "identifying, selecting and financing training of potential Olympic caliber youth." At 6'1" and 230 lbs Andre Horton leads the NBS team of 15 sponsored athletes.
"Most athletes in the Brotherhood grow up in the organization," said Horton. "I didn't know about it until I was about a JII (age 15). I saw two other black-American racers at a FIS race in Oregon. That was totally amazing to me - I'd never seen another black ski racer. They were on scholarships from NBS and told me about the program. So I guess you could say I found them, they didn't find me."
As a speed skier, this winter marked Andre's best season to date. Horton won his first downhill at Sella Nevea, Italy among a field of predominately Italian racers who knew the course.
He wrote to the NBS website about the win, "Today was a spiritual victory for me. For the 100 or so Italians watching the race, they witnessed the first ever black-American to win a FIS race in Europe! I just want you all to know without your financial support, spiritual support, letters of encouragement, and your prayers...today's victory may not have been possible."
In addition to the NBS support, Horton has sponsorships from Salomon skis and Stewart Sports. Based in Alaska, Gordon Stewart serves as both physical trainer and manager. Horton said, "I met Gordon when I was a pretty chubby 14 year-old. He's been training with me ever since; now he's like a brother."
For the now-chiseled racer, Horton wants to "lower my FIS points enough to move up from the Development Team to the 'B' level of the U.S. Ski Team. For NBS, their goal is to get a black-American on the ski team - right now, I'm their best hope."