Pajarito ski area offers snowsports programs to N.M.’s Native Americans

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A ground breaking outreach program is being launched this winter at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos which organizers, Director Of the Native Nations Sports Ambassador Program, David Vosburgh and Founder Jean Cornell working along with Suzy Chaffee of Native American Olympic Team Foundation hope will make it possible for more Native American youth and their chaperones to enjoy skiing and snowboarding.
“Those with proper tribal membership IDs can purchase a full-day lift ticket, including rentals, for a flat fee of $25, a discount of 30 to 60 percent off regular daily rates Friday to Sunday and holidays.
The offer is valid throughout the 2013-14 ski season including holiday periods,” said Tom Long, Pajarito Mountain General Manager.
Olympic ski icon and 1971-73 World Freestyle Champion Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee will help launch the Pueblo ski program on Saturday, Jan. 4.
“She is excited about skiing with the kids,” said David Vosburgh, who helped organize the Pajarito program.
“We are inviting school groups of 20 to 70 (including chaperones) from any of New Mexico’s 19 pueblos for a special weekday learn-to-ski program at Pajarito Mountain which provides rental equipment, lift tickets, and two-hour lessons for $25 total,” he said.
This tribal ski outreach is facilitated by the Native American Olympic Team Foundation (NAOTF.org), co-founded by Chaffee in 1996 in Telluride, Colo.
According to Chaffee, a tribal advocate, 10 years ago Senator Tom Udall and the late Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall encouraged more ski areas to follow Taos Ski Bowl, since it also supports the National Forest Service’s mandate to provide opportunities for Native Americans on forestlands. “Senator Udall told me, ‘There’s hope for humanity since people are beginning to listen to the wisdom of the Native Americans.’
“So hail to ski areas like Pajarito, Taos, Telluride, and Mammoth for pioneering America’s joyful snow bridge to unity,” said Chaffee.