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Indian Elder Blesses Winter at Colorado Ski Resort

November 10, 1990

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (AP) _ In Colorado, where skiing is big business, resort operators aren’t about to leave snowfall to chance if they can nudge Mother Nature along a bit.

That’s why the Copper Mountain ski resort called in Marcellus Bear Heart Williams, an elder with the Muskogee Creek Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, to offer a winter blessing on Friday.

Williams, who worked in private, said he burned sage to do away with negative feelings, cedar to ensure a long life and sweet grass to nurture good feelings.

It was the third consecutive year he was asked to bless Copper Mountain’s slopes.

In 1988, a dry winter was predicted, but the flakes began falling as Williams chanted. The snow fell for 39 hours straight, said Kelley Davidson, the resort’s vice president of marketing.

This year Copper Mountain predicts it will open Friday, nearly a week ahead of the area’s Thanksgiving Day schedule.

Early snowfall has also benefited other Colorado ski resorts. Keystone, Vail and Loveland are already open; Aspen and Winter Park plan to open Wednesday; and Breckenridge is scheduled to open Saturday.

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