The sacred mountain of the Taos Ski Valley is more than just a winter playground
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."