Located at the end of the picturesque Brush Creek Valley, the area now known as Snowmass Village was originally home to the Ute Indians who used the valley for summer hunting and fishing. Ute means “land of the sun” in their language.
The Utes were skilled warriors specializing in combat on horseback. They first obtained mounts through trading with the Spanish in the 1600s, after which the horse became a central part of their culture, much like the plains tribes. They used horses to raid the Cheyenne, Crow Shoshone, Blackfoot, and Arapaho to the north, the Sioux, Pawnee, Osage, Kiowa, Comanche, and Plains Apache to the east and southeast, and the Navajo, Paiute, and Western Shoshone to the west and south.
With the arrival of European-American settlers and gold prospectors the Ute experienced several skirmishes, incidents, and various alliances with the United States against other tribes before a series of treaties established reservations in the 1860’s and 70’s. Today, Utes live on the Uintah and Ouray reservation in Utah, Southern Ute reservation in Colorado, and Ute Mountain which extends from Colorado into Utah and New Mexico.