March 03, 2008

A different ski experience

Where the skier meets the spirit

The sacred mountain of the Taos Ski Valley is more than just a winter playgroundFor us, our experience with ski instructor Antonio Zuni on the slopes of Taos was the essence of New Mexico. Zuni, a Native American from the Tiwa tribe, hosted a "Meet the Sacred Mountain" tour in which he introduced visitors to the spiritual, native oral history of the area.

It was different from the tours we'd been on before, more of a living prayer or a celebration of life. It moved some to tears, and later, at dinner, the best way we could describe it was that it felt like we had gone to church.

"We are so different from a Vail or an Aspen," Zuni said. "We recognize and value that difference, not only in the ski area but in the different cultures that convene here, the magic of the mountain."

Through a poetry all his own, Zuni helped us experience the magic he feels every day.

"When most people feel the wind or the cold, they say, 'Oh it was a horrible day,' " he said. "Yet to me as a Native American, it's a wonderful day. When the wind comes off the peaks and you see it swirling around, most people notice the cold. But if you've grown up here, it's like the wind is coming off the hills and dancing right there before you.

"When the wind comes up on your face and splashes you with snow, think of it as Mother Nature giving you a big, fat wet one on the cheek. And when you ride up the lift and the trees bend and snow falls on you, it's the mountain clapping its hands and greeting you."


Anonymous said...

Lakota winyan in SD: okay- so there's a new way to sell Native spirituality! on tours! to feel good hippies! How wonderful, of course there is no mention in the story, that maybe the skiers shouldn't be there in the first place! lol sad and funny at the same time

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Isn't that the same ski resort intending to generate artificial snow using reprocessed sewer plant sludge? That would be different, all right! What is called 'night earth' in the third world would become 'bright earth' for the First World! May all those skiers fall on 'difficult times,' and often...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

No, you're thinking of the Snowbowl in Arizona. See Ski Resort vs. Native Religion for details.