Pettit Gilwee
Special to the Sun

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January 16, 2012
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Native American dance brings snow to Tahoe

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — It’s working. Sunday, Native American adults and youth held hands with the public in a traditional “Round Dance” asking for spiritual help to bring snow to the Lake Tahoe region.

This morning, for the first time in two months, a dusting of snow appeared at lake level with two inches at 8,200 feet. According to meteorologists, the storm door is set to open Wednesday with a possible 6 feet of snow falling above 8,000 feet by Monday.

“We were thrilled to wake up to snow on the ground,” said Chief Marketing Officer Andy Chapman of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “It’s been a peculiar winter nationwide, but it looks like Mother Nature is finally stepping up and delivering with storms lined up for the next seven days. A big thank you goes out to the 200-plus Native Americans, visitors and community members who danced us into a traditional winter.”

The “Round Dance” held on the West Shore at Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Homewood was performed by elaborately dressed Paiute, Shoshone, and Washo — tribal relatives of the dancers who performed at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games — at the official closing ceremonies of North Lake Tahoe’s Olympic Heritage Week. Sugar Pine Point State Park was the summer home of the Washoe people.

In a similar situation more than 50 years ago, an absence of January snow in the Sierra posed similar planning concerns for the managers of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games’ Nordic events, which were to be held at the same location, Sugar Pine Point State Park. The nervous organizers of those original Olympics brought in Great Basin dancers to encourage snowfall, and history has indeed repeated itself.

Olympic Heritage Week is an annual event in North Lake Tahoe that celebrates the cross-country events (held on the West Shore) during the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. The week’s events included appearances by past Olympians, full moon hikes, dinners and fundraisers, as well as the opportunity to take part in guided cross-country skiing adventures along the recently restored Olympic trails.

For more information about North Lake Tahoe ski resorts, the best deals on lodging, special events, dining and winter activities, click to

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 16, 2012 05:58PM Published Jan 16, 2012 05:46PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.