Vermont ski director continues to break barriers for BIPOC community

Vermont News

At Magic Mountain in Londonderry, you will find ski director Robert Johnson Jr. He fell in love with the sport over thirty years ago.  

“I started in 1978, I am a UVMer, I took it for gym because I thought it would be hilarious and fun and I found out: oh no, it was hard,” Johnson said. 

This is his first season as the ski director at Magic Mountain.  

“It’s been tough and exhausting but well rewarding and worth it,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said there’s been an increase of people coming to the mountain. He’s been giving up to four lessons a week.  

“So I have been inundated with lessons this year, people calling scheduling lessons that I have been scrambling to get instructors, just juggling to get instructors to fill the lessons that have been coming,” Johnson said. 

The pandemic makes it difficult to get instructors.  

“If there are snowboard lessons, I am the only snowboard instructor that I have,” Johnson said. “I can pull another snowboarder from another department when I need him, but for beginners. Anything above a beginner: it’s me.” 

Johsnon said there’s only 2-10% of people of color participating in the sport. He hopes to be a part of the solution that helps break barriers in the industry.  

“I am trying to get the National Brotherhood of Ski Clubs here, I know once they get here they will return,” Johnson said. 

His favorite memories on the slopes are spent with his loved ones.  

“Riding with my family, skiing with my family, skiing with my wife riding with my daughter,” Johnson said. 

And you can’t forget Sander, his two year old son. Johnson said it brings him lots of emotions to see him on a snowboard.  

“It just fills me with so much joy that you know when people start to cry and stuff and it’s all corny yeah that is me,” Johnson said. 

And sharing his love for the sport.  

“That is the easiest thing in the world,” Johnson said.  

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