Pajarito Mountain Extends Snow Sports Program to Arizona Tribal Youth

A Pajarito Mountain ski instructor on the slopes. Courtesy/Pajarito Mountain Ski Area                 


Pajarito Mountain Ski Area is extending the New Mexico tribal snow sports program to Arizona Native youth and their chaperones. It is a part of a healing and uniting of America further inspired by Nelson Mandela, as well as Canada’s Wilton Chief Littlechild, Honorary Chief of the Maskwacis Cree, who is pioneering the World Indigenous Games.   

Saturday Jan. 4, Olympic ski icon and Title IX March leader, Suzy “Chapstick” Chaffee will be skiing with the kids at the Pajarito program launch.

“This is a dream come true, skiing with the kids from two states, which is as exciting as being in the Olympics,” Chaffee said.

Participants should go to the rental shop around 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to prepare for a lesson, or just enjoy skiing or boarding. 

“Those with proper tribal membership IDs of New Mexico or Arizona can purchase a full-day lift ticket, including rentals, for a flat fee of $25, a discount of 30-60 percent off regular daily rates Friday to Sunday and holidays. The offer is valid throughout the 2013-14 ski season including holiday periods,” said Pajarito Mountain General Manager Tom Long.

“This winter we are inviting school groups of 20 to 70 (including chaperones) from any of New Mexico and Arizona´s 19 Pueblos and tribes 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.

The welcoming celebration is around noon at the base of the slopes, Chaffee said.

“It will also include a salute to Zuni Elder Fernando Cellicion and his family of Buffalo and Deer dancers who helped us launch the program in Telluride 18 years ago, who was just honored at the Kennedy Center,” she said. “He will lead a gratitude prayer to Mother Earth for their snow and their ‘2011 Miracle at Los Alamos Rains’ and then a friendship circle dance.”

For more information on arranging a ski program for a tribe in New Mexico or Arizona or how experienced Native skiers and snowboarders can participate in clinics and certify for instructor jobs, contact David Vosburgh at or visit

Pajarito’s organizers, David Vosburgh, director of the Native Nations Sports Ambassador Program, and founder Jean Cornell, together with Chaffee, co-founder, of the Native American Olympic Team Foundation (, and local tribal leaders, hope the program will make it possible for a lot more tribal youth and their chaperones to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the Southwest, especially since some Pueblos can’t afford a physical education program these days.