• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

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


Angel Diva
I very glad that the book was created! It's far more than just a collection of prints. The text is a great tribute to all that James Neihues has done in the past 30 years. It's also great that older maps are included if a newer one was created years later. For instance, Alta 1991 is next to Alta 2015.

There are little text tidbits in between sections called "Perspective" by leaders in the ski industry. The brand manager of Big Sky who worked with Neihues over multiple versions as the terrain expanded wrote one. She note that he was able to paint new trails based on marked up contour maps before the trails were actually cleared. So no photos could exist yet. Big Sky is multiple peaks and there is skiing on three sides of Lone Peak. Glenniss Indreland wrote:

" . . .
You can't really show it all from a single aspect, but he found a way. It was pretty amazing how he was able to show how the terrain is connected yet how dimensional it is. He's also really precise in doing close-up areas with a lot of detail from specific terrain pockets. We have so many little areas with feature that are subtle but important, and he revealed those with clarity.

His artistic license with elevation and terrain contour really helps visually describe the experience of skiers. But also, people appreciate Jim's maps for what the are, which is artwork. He is able to show the biggest skiing in America all unraveled from cost to coast in just an enormous piece. What he can do is still staggering.

He is a magician, that's what he is."

The pencil drawing of the 2014 version for Big Sky spans the book's front and back cover.
Just learned that the new trail map of Beech Mountain in NC was painted by someone who has had guidance from Neihues. Several of the southeast ski areas have maps by Neihues, including my home mountain Massanutten. Rad Smith is a new name to me. While I hope Neihues continues to paint as many ski maps as he likes over the coming years, it's good to know that there are younger artists in the field as well.

In Post #1 there is a video interview of James Neihues. Here's another one from 2017, which is before the book became a reality. The CBS Sunday Morning interviewer, Serena Altschul, went skiing with him at Breck.



Angel Diva
Niehues has decided to start a new project as he and his wife hang around their Colorado home. He's going to do a painting of Whiteface. It's not a commission so he can do whatever he likes. His Facebook page is good fun.

April 6, Niehues blog

"Cabin fever is setting in but Dora and I are in good spirits. She is busy quilting and I continue to paint new mountains. We are thankful for the support from our family and friends and wish everyone health and stability in this unprecedented time.

Many of you have asked if I ever painted Whiteface Mountain in New York. Unfortunately, I was never asked! Normally, I am contracted by each resort to paint their map, but this time I decided to paint it for myself.

Whiteface is a visually dynamic mountain with varied degrees of skiing from beginner-friendly to double black diamond runs. In this unofficial painting of Whiteface I decided to paint in a style similar to my Snow Country Magazine work in the 90s. Early morning sun always shines dramatically on Eastern facing slopes so I have chosen this light for Whiteface. When it is complete, I’ll be sure to add this new painting, which I am calling Whiteface Awakes, to the website."

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I agree with @marzNC. Niehues’ new piste map for Mt Bachelor is nothing short of stunning. After seeing this map in Niehues’ book I have added Mt Bachelor to my list of places to visit before I die. I would also like to thank @marzNC for sharing the very interesting analysis by Alex Tait.
I just hope there will be paperback and Kindle versions of Niehues’ book forthcoming because I know several people who would enjoy the book but who find the $100 hardcover book to be a bit of a stretch.

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Those interested in an international perspective on piste maps will likely enjoy L'histoire (illustrée) du plan des pistes (An illustrated history of piste maps). The online article is written in French but can be translated easily enough using Google Chrome. Niehues is mentioned as is his Gallic counterpart, Pierre Novat. Many of you will recognize Novat from your ski trips in France. There is also a book available of Novat’s maps. It’s a paperback, not as fancy as the Niehues book, but then again, the Novat book only costs 30€.


Angel Diva
I just hope there will be paperback and Kindle versions of Niehues’ book forthcoming because I know several people who would enjoy the book but who find the $100 hardcover book to be a bit of a stretch.
Not sure a Kindle version could do justice to the map paintings.

I was very glad to see the Kickstarter for the coffee table book because figuring out which of the prints to buy was too complicated. Plus I don't have enough wall space for even my favorites.


Angel Diva
Bachelor wrote a nice blog article about Niehues. His 2018 map that includes the entire 360º in one painting is so much better than than four overlapping views that used to be the trail map. In 2018, Bachelor celebrated being open to the public for 60 years.

Nov. 19, 2020, Mt. Bachelor blog
Renowned watercolor artist says drawing Mt. Bachelor's trail map was both challenging and rewarding


Angel Diva
For those who are relatively new to skiing, and may wonder what's the big deal with who paints a trail map, here's an example of a VistaMap. Loon is rolling out a new trail map for 2020. Since Boyne Resorts commissioned updates for Big Sky in the last five years, they are well aware of what Niehues can do. I presume there are assorted reasons Boyne opted for VistaMap instead. It does the job. But I don't think VistaMaps will ever be collected into a coffee table book.


Latest posts