Francesca Maetas giving David Vosburgh lesson

After launching in early January the most generous Native snowsports outreach in history, inviting tribal youth of New Mexico and Arizona to ski in their Los Alamos Mountain, Pajarito Mt temporarily had to close for lack of enough snow. So Santa Fe Ski Area’s GM Benny Abruzzo heroically agreed to provide Pajarito and these tribal youth a safety net on January 24, 2014.

Featured Photo Caption (above): NM’s Poloaque Pueblo hoopdancer-skier (l-r) Francesca Maetas giving David Vosburgh a thumbs up for teaching her and friends how to fly like eagles down Pajarito Mt by launching the Native Nations Sports Ambassador Program, he directs. © Suzy Chaffee. Concerned that some native families might drive a long ways only to find Pajarito closed, their visionary organizer, David Vosburgh, also director of the Native Nations Sports Ambassador Program (NNSAP), and I made an emergency call to nearby Ski Santa Fe, which has much more snow.

We asked if they could possibly give Pajarito (Tewa/Spanish for little bird) and NNSAP a hand to continue getting more Native kids on the slopes this winter. Who better than one of the most enlightened communities in America helping host them?


Proving that Creator is in charge, three days later Abruzzo, one of the pioneers of NM skiing, sent the wonderful news: “We are pleased to assist our neighbor Pajarito Ski Area in hosting a “NM-AZ Native Learn to Ski Program” at Ski Santa Fe, and welcome the opportunity to introduce Snow Sports to New Mexico and Arizona tribal children.”

Bill Gould, Ski Santa Fe Snow Sports School director, magnanimously devised a plan in record time on behalf of these deserving youth: “We are offering any qualified Tribal Members ages 6–16 a Never Ever Ski or Snowboard Lesson, rentals and lift ticket for $25. Groups of 6 or more will be formed into a class of their own, smaller groups will be integrated into existing classes. Ski Santa Fe’s NM-AZ Tribal Ski program is valid for the 1013-14 Ski Season except March 8-16. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 505-992-5084. (

Vosburgh said, “We are ecstatic that Santa Fe Ski Area has offered to help this worthy sports program. The Native Nations Sports Ambassador Program is raising funds to spread more opportunities like this, along with gymnastics, to Native youth.”

Since most Native youth have never skied or boarded before, Santa Fe Ski area is helping give lots more tribal kids a chance to learn the basics so they can keep developing their skills at Pajarito as soon as they reopen. (Contact David Vosburgh at That’s New Mexico Teamwork!

Brandon Ashley, a Navajo skier e-mailed, “I recently saw on TV the Pajarito ski program. Wow. Thanks for teaching my sister and I to ski 15 years ago in Telluride, Colorado. I go back there every year because it is an awesome place. More Native American youth should have the opportunity to experience the great outdoors. I will spread the word on our Navajo rez and perhaps I could help you expand areas in Montana and Wyoming where they have no such programs.” I asked what he was doing now and he said, “Working for 8 years in DC for Senator John McCain and now for the House Committee on Natural Resources!”


Native Sports Ambassador Program
PHOTO: Some organizing pioneers at the Native Sports Ambassador Program launch at Pajarito Mt were: L-R Ski Instructor Mitch Trkula, Gymnastics For All leaders Debbie with son Michael Capelotti, Olympic Ski & Gymnastics coach George Hery, Suzy, Dean Capelotti, Laguna Gov Stan Lucero, and Ohkeh Owigeh Ron, Ruth and Austin De Herrara. © Colleen Keane.

Thanks to Vosburgh negotiating with Pajarito to offer ski opportunities to the Southwest tribal youth, and the support of tribal mom leaders, the Pajarito program made this landmark launch on January 4 with youth from the Laguna, Acoma, Ohkey Owingeh and Pajoaque Pueblos. See Details: .


Bottom line, this kind of inspiring collaboration and outreach by Pajarito and Santa Fe Ski Areas, between ski areas and tribes of the Americas, and 192 countries, spells big hope for humanity, for extending the future of snow and snowmelt for our drinking water and food supply.


Fortunately, in 2012 the consensus of 192 UN countries was, “The key to regenerating Mother Earth is Green Technology and Ancient Wisdom through the Indigenous.” This is exemplified by their priceless raindances that have been saving farmers for eons, and Elders-led cross-cultural snowdances that have been saving ski areas and the Olympics since the 60’s, which the Squaw Valley Organizers started then Utah and Vancouver.

The UN Sustainability officer has encouraged us to spread this Ancient Wisdom to communities worldwide by NAOTF finishing our documentary, “The Snowdance Phenomena,” which includes some of the amazing press coverage over 54 years. Plus it has dirt cheap renewables used by the Indigenous in remote areas, and how Stanford’s late Nobel Prize winner Climatologist-skier, Dr. Stephen Schneider explained, praised and urged ski areas and tribes to do more “cross-fertilization” like this. ( )


Here is an example of the critical Ancient Wisdom I have learned from the wonderful Elders who have helped guide all this: “In living in more harmony with Nature and each other we are purifying the land and mountains of the negative energy it absorbs from fighting, explosions, accidents plus pollution that blankets the mountains (lowering their vibration and interfering with precipitation cycles).

It must be released, especially around 2012, either through painful costly ‘Frankenstorms,’ droughts, fires and flood cycles, OR in heart-healing ways like these joyful sports outreaches and ceremonies that give love and appreciation to Mother Earth,” like all our ancestors once did. Similarly, Japan’s Dr. Emoto (who works with tribes and world communities) found that giving love and appreciation to water purifies it and creates magnificent snow crystals.

Given that the U.S. has more fires than any other country, by more regions following the “Land of Enchantment,” we are raising the vibration of the region and effectively slowing down the manmade part of Climate Change.

“Only collaboration on a global level will solve climate change,” said visionary environmentalist Sally Ranney in her intro of the brilliant guide book to this amazing new era, “The Trust Frequency” – The High Road to Happiness,” by Andrew Bailey and Connie Marlow. Marlow is a former executive director of Colorado´s Ski the Rockies, who first brought the Elders back to Aspen Valley.

Therefore, as a gift to all Creator’s children, we hope this inspiring Pajarito-Santa Fe model blissfully ripples.


Special thanks to the skiing Ambassador Gilbert Robinson (ret), a great Native American youth supporter over the years. A former Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member, he believes scouting does the most for American boys and girls to learn about the great outdoors and how the Native Americans treasured it and took care of it to pass it down to us.

To help facilitate a Native snowsports program in your region, or Natives participate in a nearby PSIA certification clinic, or contribute to accelerating this healing process in all regions and finish the documentary to help bring in this joyous New Dawn, please contact us at, a 501(c)3 non-profit, or

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Article is Copr. © 2014 by Suzy Chaffee and originally published on – all commercial and reprint rights reserved. Opinions are those of the author and may not reflect the opinion or policy of this site or its publisher. Content has not been edited beyond simple typo checks in order to retain the author’s unique voice. READ MORE from Suzy at: .

Suzy "Chapstick" Chaffee Bio - as first woman on the USOC board in the 70s, she led the successful reform of the Olympic Rules with Legends like Bill Bradley, Muhammad Ali, Jack Kelly, Kip Keino, which leveled the playing fields with the government supported countries through Madison Ave, then led the Title IX March in DC. In 1996 she co-founded the Native American Olympic Team Foundation that has inspired ski areas across the US and Canada to invite tribal youth to share the joy of skiing with over 10,000 youth, which inspires their Elders to lead snowdances that have saved ski areas from droughts for 55 years. At the request of SLOC, she orchestrated a snowdance that restored their snow and also a Native ceremony with Ali, that protected Utah from expected terrorism, and every Olympics since then, including RIO!