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Was the trail map for your favorite ski area based on a painting by Jim Niehues?


Angel Diva
This would be very helpful for me learning actual trail names. Crystal and other local ski areas (probably like non-destination resorts everywhere) aren't signed well, so when I talk about trails I have to say.. "'that one that starts from the top of Rainier Express then goes left and by the terrain park..."). Once at Stevens Pass Rob had ski patrol out looking for me because I thought our meeting point on a certain trail was someplace else entirely (and my phone was not charged) and he thought I was dead in a tree well.

ETA: Oh, I just saw they are only 345 pieces. That's kiddie level, right? Hmm.
Won't help with trail names in any case. The puzzles that I found are of the original paintings, not the trail map after a graphic artist has added trail names and so on.


Angel Diva
He did Mammoth to. I had no idea. That's why there's such continuity in feel with trail maps, I guess.
For destination resorts, seems like almost all of them commissioned Neihues in the last 25 years. He's done almost 250. The previous painting of Mammoth was done by Hal Shelton. There are other examples of other paintings of major ski resorts in the paper by Tait (researched in 2008).

Neihues said recently that he is more or less retiring. But there are are few projects that he can't refuse. I'm glad he decided to do a thorough job for Big Sky.


Angel Diva
The Imagekind e-store that Niehues uses to sell his paintings is a little confusing. Best way to see all the ones available is to search on "Niehues". Searching for "Niehues Big Sky" pulls up three: Big Sky 1990 that is the front side only, Big Sky & Moonlight 2014, and the Yellowstone Club. Easiest way to see how much more is included in the 2014 version.

Searching on "Niehues Alta" brings up four: Alta 1991, Alta/Snowbird 1992, Utah Ski Resorts 1996, and Cottonwood Canyons and Park City 2013. The 1996 painting views are from north of SLC and includes all the ski areas at the time, but not in detail. The description for the 2013 version says:

"It was painted for The Utah Ski Association to portray the future Interconnect system of these seven resorts. The interconnect system is NOT shown on this print since the final configuration is not confirmed. This print shows the lifts and elevations of Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain and The Canyons."


Angel Diva
Oh gee, just discovered that Imagekind has selected prints on sale on Amazon. May be starting a collection soon. Really want to get Alta.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Of course! He has done all the major resorts in Victoria Australia - Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Mt Buller.... to me, it's not a ski trail map if it is not his!
Niehues noted a new article published in Sept 2014 about him on his FB Page. It's a good interview with a few tidbits I hadn't seen before. It's called The Mountain Map Man. I'm glad he said he'll keep doing a few ski painting projects and not retiring completely.

* * * Excerpts
Scout: What's the most challenging part of creating a map?

Most resorts have more than a single face to them with slopes hidden from any single perspective. The most challenging part of any multiple faceted resort is moving all the elements so the entire system of runs can be shown in one view, without the viewer seeing any reason why it not just as it is portrayed! In the case of Big Sky, the "satellite perspective" was the only way to get all trails in and the decision was made to stay with the more conventional view and have several perspectives to show the vastness of the area.

Scout: Other trail maps just don't seem to be as easy to follow as a James Niehues map. What is it that makes your maps so much better than others?

Niehues: Detail, detail, detail. A map must be credible and the more detail the more credibility.

Scout: How many ski resorts in the world feature James Niehues maps?

Niehues: My figures show 227 different trail map perspectives for 169 different ski resorts - worldwide.
* * *


Angel Diva
Exciting that there will be a coffee table book of all of the trail map paintings that Neihues has done thru 2018. Would be cool if the Bachelor painting he is working on for 2019 makes it too but might be hard to fit into the publication deadlines. The Kickstarter that ended Jan. 3, 2018 for the book raised almost $600,000 from just over 5000 people. The target date for delivery of the book is June 2019.

The Man Behind Most of the Ski Maps in America - December 2018

" . . .
On Art: “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.”
. . ."
Niehues is busy this month. He's working on Sun Peaks and putting in the shadows and trees for Bachelor. Check out his Facebook Page for updates.


Ski Diva Extraordinaire
We have a print he did on commission of Tuckerman Ravine. A bunch of folks on Time for Tuckerman (a now nearly extinct site, but it had a big group of loyal posters back in the day) hired him to paint the Ravine and my SO contributed to the commission and got one of the prints.

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