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Snowball Effect: Ski Resorts Seek American Indian Help Bringing Snow

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First, we told you about how the Southern Ute Indian Tribe were called, yet again, to help the Vail Mountain ski resort get some snow. The tribe performed their Snow Dance, a ritual they have been brought in to do in previous, snow-poor years. The snow fell, and kept falling, while the Southern Utes danced. Now, officials other big time ski resorts, in Utah and California, are hoping for the same results from American Indian tribes in their areas.

The 2015 Christmas Toy Drive served more than 1,600 children on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Frank Arrowchis, Northern Ute Tribe, performs a snow blessing at Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah

Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, brought in members from the Northern Ute Tribe to perform a snow blessing, reported Deseret News. This past Saturday, the tribe came to the mountain to do their best to end the snow drought while hundreds of skiers watched in awe.

Ski resorts around the country have had to rely on their snowmakers for much of their snow as snowfall levels are less than 50% of their average in Utah. "Our snowmakers have been working around the clock, so we said it is time to put in a call to Mother Nature," said Krista Parry to Deseret News, the marketing director at Park City Mountain Resort. Parry is friends with Frank Arrowchi, a member of the Northern Ute Indian Tribe who also blessed the Olympic Flame during the torch relay in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Arrowchis led the prayer this past Saturday in English, with Ute spiritual leader Albert Lance Manning following it in the Ute language.

"We hope our prayers are answered because it's for everybody," Arrowchis told Deseret News. "Prayer has a lot of power if it's done right. We hope we do get some snow. If we don't, we tried." Forecasts seem to be showing very good news—a new storm pattern is emerging that could start blanketing Utah in snow and then on the rest of the West in the coming week.

Over in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, similar gatherings took place in Lake Tahoe, with members from the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe tribes coming to Sugar Pine Point California State Park to take part in a ritual known as the "Round Dance." Now, the forecast in Tahoe since the ritual took place shows a big break in the extremely dry weather that has plagued the area since early December, as snow is predicted to start falling today, according to

On Martin Luther King Day, the Southern Ute blessed the slopes of Sunlight Mountain Resort, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. According to, the Southern Utes have been coming to Sunlight for many years. This started when Olympians Billy Kidd, Abenaki, and Suzy Chaffee, co-founder of Native Voices Foundation based in Aspen, originally organized an event for the tribe to come to the mountain.

“The Ute Indians have been coming to Sunlight for many years and we welcome them every time as they bring the mountain great greetings and hopeful snow,” said Jennie Spillane, an employee of Sunlight, to