Meet James Niehues, the Colorado native who defined the ski map genre for 30 years | VailDaily.com | VailDaily.com

Meet James Niehues, the Colorado native who defined the ski map genre for 30 years

John Meyer
The Denver Post
James Niehues, the artist behind the iconic ski trail maps, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to back his upcoming coffee table book of work. The campaign has now raised more than $590,000.
AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

PARKER — He paints exquisite mountain panoramas rich in detail, with hundreds of tiny trees painstakingly rendered. Then the images that took him weeks to create are printed on cheap paper and distributed by the thousands for free, only to be crumpled up, stuffed in pockets and ultimately thrown away in tatters.

It might seem like a forlorn fate for art so carefully conceived, but the artist doesn’t think so at all.

“That’s the best part of it,” said James Niehues of Parker, America’s foremost ski-trail map artist. “It’s used. Not many artists can say they have a piece of art that’s used like a trail map is. And what’s so nice about it is that they gather around at the end of the day and have a beer, pull out the trail maps and talk about where they’ve been.”

Having been treated as throwaway art for 30 years at ski areas across the country — including such Colorado favorites as Copper Mountain, Breckenridge and Winter Park — Niehues’ work is now being accorded deep respect.

Read the full story via The Denver Post.