Three energetic and daring young men: Frank Blount, William Morgan and Reginald Wilson founded the Jim Dandy Ski Club in Detroit, Michigan, in 1958, establishing the 1st African-American ski club in the United States.
All the pieces that necessitated such an event had fallen into place: their earlier introduction into skiing, new local ski areas opening, and small pockets of local African-Americans skiing. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm coincided with a lukewarm reception from a local college ski club where they felt somewhat left out of after- ski activities. Blount, Morgan and Wilson set out to interest other African-Americans in forming a ski club. It would serve to provide a friendlier environment in which to travel, ski and enjoy after-ski activities.
Upon completing their constitution, they decided to name the club, the JIM DANDY SKI CLUB OF DETROIT, after a musical hit recording, “Jim Dandy to the Rescue” song by rhythm and blues singer, Lavern Baker. About 23 skiers responded to the call to form the Jim Dandy Ski Club of Detroit during the 1958-1959 ski season.
When Ebony Magazine featured the Jim Dandy Ski Club in its March 1962 issue, inquiry letters were received from across the nation. A new world of skiing and fellowship opened for the Dandies. The Jim Dandies received an invitation from Floyd Cole of Denver, Colorado to ski with a group of African-American skiers residing in Colorado.
By train, the Dandies arrived in Denver, Colorado on December 26, 1964. This became the first documented organized gathering of African-American skiers in the United States. There were 40 to 50 participants who skied at newly opened Vail, Winter Park, Loveland and Berthoud Pass ski areas. Continuous social activities consumed the evenings. These Dandies initiated action to train an aspiring youth for Olympic competition.
In 1970, JDSC joined the Detroit Metropolitan Ski Council to share ski information with local ski clubs and take advantage of their sponsored trips and inter-club alpine racing competition. In 1971-1972, the JDSC Race Committee formed the first club Alpine Racing Team. This program continues through today.
The club’s focus expanded to organized youth activities in the 1971-72 ski season, with emphasis on introducing minority youth to skiing activities and challenging them to maintain high academic standards for participation.
In 1972, the JDSC heeded the call of organizing African-American skiers nationwide and became a charter member of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. A Jim Dandy member suggested that this odd year gathering be called “the Black Summit”. The JDSC flew out to Aspen, Colorado in its own charter airplane and sponsored a Hawaiian Luau Night at the first “Summit” in 1973.
In years since, the annual “Summit” has evolved into a huge destination event for African Americans from around the world, attracting over 60 NBS Clubs with numbers as large as 7000 skiers and snowboarders of color. The event location changes each year and has been held at some of the largest and most luxurious ski resorts in the USA and even Europe. Summit attendees enjoy a full week of skiing and snowboarding, networking, happy hours, shopping, evening theme parties and, of course, racing competition. Always in contention for the large club award, JDSC members have won the ‘national championship” for five of the last six years. Jim Dandy is always one of the largest and most visible clubs attending the Summit with their red and blue uniforms. Currently, we have members all across the nation