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Native American Dancers Hope To Bring More Snow To Sierra

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TAHOE CITY (CBS13) – Saturday’s storm brought some snow to the Sierra and some smooth dance moves possibly helped.

With Tahoe area businesses counting on snow, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get Mother Nature to cooperate — even a Native American snow dance. It worked in 1960.

The more they chanted, the more the Eagle Wings Dancers seemed to get exactly what they were dancing for.

Joe-Pete Wilson, a Nordic skier in the 1960 Olympics, was part of the snow dance at Sugar Pine Point State Park on Saturday. It’s the same park he helped create and compete at 53 years ago.

But this winter, it’s more of a hiking area than a cross-country ski spot.

“I hope it snows because it’s pretty darn hard to ski without it,” said Wilson.

He remembers a similar bone-dry Sierra leading up to the Olympics. So the tribal performers danced the very same dance back then, which brought 12 feet of new snow a couple days before opening ceremonies.

“I think there were a lot of people snow dancing,” Wilson said.

“As a community, we’re doing everything to make it snow,” said Granlibakken Hotel General Manager Ron Parson. “I think if everyone took their convertibles out and left their top, down it would help.”

Parson says his business has been cut in half due to the lack of snow. The hotel usually has about 80 percent of its rooms booked, but the long-standing hotel hidden in the hills is at only about 40 percent of capacity.

“If you’re a high-end skier, you might be disappointed, but if you’re a beginner or a family that’s interested in the snow, it’s been great,” said Parson.

The snow making machines are coating some runs, allowing for top to bottom skiing at the Granlibakken. But the lack of real powder has forced cross-country ski areas, such as Royal Gorge, to close. Oddly enough, many trails are clear for hikes and mountain bikes.

“So you’re kind of getting the best of both worlds. So it’s easy to enjoy,” said Parson.

It’s no secret that Tahoe businesses suffer without snow. That’s why they’re willing to dance for it.

Snow wasn’t sticking much in Tahoe City, but places like Squaw Valley reported up to 4 inches at the top of the mountain. So it looks like they are going to have to keep dancing.

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