If you’re a powder lover and have skied the big mountains of the American West or Europe, you are probably very familiar with the art of James Niehues. His painstakingly researched and hand-painted maps are featured at ski resorts all over the world from the US to Canada, China, Australia, Chile, Japan, Korea, Scotland, New Zealand and Serbia. The 72-year old Colorado native painted his first map in 1987 and he’s still going strong today. His maps are wildly popular, so much so that a Kickstarter campaign has funded the first-ever coffee table book of his map art, scheduled for release this summer. “In addition to nearly 100 ski resorts from around the globe, this book will include background information on trail map making and an in-depth look in James Niehues’ remarkable career. This project is a celebration of Niehues’ life work and his contribution to the ski industry featuring some of the greatest mountain terrain in the world. His work, build on the foundation of artists the came before him, provides the connective tissue that links together millions of ski memories over the last three decades.” [Source: Kickstarter.com]
“I think of the paintings as art instead of trail maps. In the early days, it was really about the map, but the values have shifted. Hal and Bill realized it was important to get the beauty and to give people something they could look at and dream about. I think a computer-generated map is a reflection of the office—it’s rigid. A hand-painted map reflects the outdoors. You ski to get into that environment.” [Source: OutsideOnline.com]
Click here for a video from James Niehues about the why this project is so important to him and how it came about.