A Step in the Right Direction

Evan Wendling

On Nov. 12, days before the start of its season, Winter Park released a statement regarding the ski resort’s position on the ancestral lands of multiple indigenous tribes. The resort plans for signs and trail maps along with other visual displays to include this statement:

“Winter Park Resort acknowledges and honors that the land on which we operate today is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Nookhose’iinenno (Northern Arapaho), Tsis tsis’tas (Cheyenne), and Moache (Northern Ute) peoples.”

Winter Park Staff worked with indigenous skier and descendant of the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe, Connor Ryan and the CEO of Native Outdoors, Len Necefer, to create the statement in hopes that it would be a step in the right direction for acknowledging the native tribes and their original ties with the lands.

 “All ski resorts operate on Native land that was taken from Native people,” said Conner. 

Winter Park’s goal with the statement was to acknowledge the events of the past and create a precedent for a more honest future. Moving forward, Winter Park plans to be more collaborative with Indigenous people in hopes of creating more interest around winter sports for the Native youth and sustaining a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.