PRESS RELEASE - March 28, 2004
TRIBAL HEROES HONORED IN TELLURIDE BLIZZARD
Telluride, Co. - The Ute drum again echoed thru the Telluride Mountains
as a blizzard swirled around the splendid Ute Mountain Manning dancers
during a press conference and "Gratitude Ceremony" on March
27. "It looks like our golf season has been postponed,"
said the ecstatic Pete Woods, Telluride Ski and Golf Company's marketing
director at the gathering on the deck of the Inn at Lost Creek in
the Mountain Village.
Woods and event host, Denny Bride of Christy Sports, were honored
with the colorful Ute Mt Pottery Cups by the beautiful little Ute
Mountain Princesses, Mayla Manning and Christina Poronbo. "Thank
you for generously giving us lift tickets and wonderful recycled ski
gear, to make it possible for us to again enjoy skiing in our ancestral
lands," they said.
The event was co-hosted by Olympic skier Suzy "Chapstick"
Chaffee, co-founder of Native American Olympic Team Foundation's (NVF) Ute Ski
Program in Telluride with Alden Naranjo, Southern Ute unity leader.
The much needed snow reminded Tel-Ski's new regime of the magical
snowblessing that inspired Ron Allred to pioneer the program eight
"It was raining yesterday and looked like the season was over.
I admit I was a skeptic until I woke up this morning to a blanket
of snow," said Kit Collins, who spearheaded the community's
restoration of the Ute Ski program. But everything changed when
the Ute kids, and Southern Ute traditional Elders, Eddy and Betty
Box Jr, rode into town on the eve of the ceremony. This time they
were hosted at Telluride's lovely Camels Garden Hotel.
Eddy and the tribes had been saluted by Colorado Ski Country in
November, for leading the "Thank you Snowdance" that inspired
the most abundant early snow in Colorado ever. Therefore, Eddy came
to Telluride to thank Creator and Mother Earth...who listen. So
has the ski industry. In January's Skiing Magazine, NVF's snowdances
were the alternative to costly cloud seeding. "This is a good
way to create more harmony between our cultures and Mother Earth,
while helping our youth lead healthy, productive lives," said
The press conference, covered on Channel 13, also honored other
"Heroes to the Tribes and Earth" on the final day of the
North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA conference.
President Claudia Carbone shared the same sentiment as David Glynn,
former Ophir Mayor and freestyle champion, who took the Utes skiing...:
"Of course we should share skiing with the tribes, we're on
Michael Berry, President of the National Ski Area Association (NSAA),
was saluted by Eddy Box for creating their "Sustainable Slopes
Program," and seeing the need to work as a team, especially
with the tribes, to help prevent snow and rain droughts and delay
global warming. That's why he is presenting NVF's program to all
their ski areas in their April Journal and next convention.
For donating $.5 million in "Donate-A-Ski/Board" gear
to U.S. Tribes, (inspired by Abenaki Olympian Billy Kidd), David
Ingimie, President of the Snowsports Industry of America, was also
saluted. Ingimie wants to keep sharing the gear to make it easier
for ski areas to adopt the program and help create a generation
of Native Olympians.
Joanie Klar, NVF's Aspen-based board member, who just won the UN
Eco Award, honored Michael Saftler, Telluride's Rabbi/ski instructor/guardian
of the wetlands. As a result of the friendships formed through the
ski program, Saftler created the first meeting between a ski town's
council, tribal ecologists and press, which solved some of Telly's
eco challenges almost overnight.
Eddy Box then led a blessing for the safety of the journalists
who were racing in the snowstorm. He also honored Channel 13's Captain
Jack Carey on behalf of the press, whose brother Chip was hosting
the Northern Utes at Park City's Canyons the next day. Chaffee mentioned
how critical the Telluride press, like Bob Beer, former editor of
the Daily Planet, had been in pioneering the program and environmental
progress. "This is a chance for our journalists to join the
team to spread the word that ski areas can help preserve our awesome
sport for future generations by connecting with their local tribes,"
Contact: Mike Speer for Christie Sports at: 303-327-6321 or cell
303-907-3769. Photos, including of the Utes on skis in regalia!...available
on request firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: Suzy Chaffee for more
background on NVF and "How To Plan an Event" on www.nativevoices.org,
tel: 970-922 5406 or Suzynativevoices@aol.com