Computer systems nil, man with a pencil and paintbrushes, one.

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Meet James Niehues, an artist who has hand-painted over 200 ski resort path maps throughout North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia, regardless of competitors from map-makers utilizing computer-generated imagery. His wonderful artistry has shepherded thousands and thousands of skiers in a few of the world’s most well-known resorts – from Aspen to Whistler and from Vail to Jackson Gap and Thredbo – but few, till just lately, had ever heard of him.

Now, nonetheless, the story of his unbelievable profession is advised in a lavish espresso desk e book referred to as The Man Behind the Maps – Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues, revealed by Open Road Ski Company.

This is a map of Breckenridge in Colorado that Niehues created in 2016

It is a map of Breckenridge in Colorado that Niehues created in 2016

Niehues' work has defined the look of ski areas across continents, the details so accurate that people even use his maps to navigate unmarked and unnamed areas of mountains. This is Niehues' map of Vail, front side, which he made in 1988

Niehues’ work has outlined the look of ski areas throughout continents, the small print so correct that individuals even use his maps to navigate unmarked and unnamed areas of mountains. That is Niehues’ map of Vail, entrance facet, which he made in 1988

The tome particulars Niehues’ unbelievable journey, his creative course of and a lifetime of illustrations made utilizing methods refined over greater than 30 years within the business.

The magnitude of his profession is staggering, his story unparalleled.

His work has outlined the look of ski areas throughout continents, the small print so correct that individuals even use his maps to navigate unmarked and unnamed areas of mountains.

And to today, regardless of the digital age, he continues to get work utilizing a course of for every map that may take as much as three months – hand-painting each tree, rigorously shading each slope.

Journalist and ski fanatic Jason Blevins sums up Niehues’ importance completely within the e book’s introduction: ‘Niehues has grow to be the shepherd of skiers, guiding us by means of snowy landscapes that he creates with an authenticity that also defies computerized capabilities.’

Niehues, above, has hand-painted over 200 ski resort trail maps across North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia. His one European map is for the resort of Kopaonik in Serbia

Niehues, above, has hand-painted over 200 ski resort path maps throughout North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia. His one European map is for the resort of Kopaonik in Serbia

Niehues continues to get work using a process for each map that can take up to three months - hand-painting every tree, carefully shading every slope. This map shows Heavenly, California

Niehues continues to get work utilizing a course of for every map that may take as much as three months – hand-painting each tree, rigorously shading each slope. This map reveals Heavenly, California

Adam White, Director of Communications Ski Vermont, mentioned: ‘You’re feeling protected with Jim’s map in your pocket. You belief him. He is bought the belief of thousands and thousands of people that ski and snowboard. It is magical. I’ve spent extra time snowboarding with Jim than with anybody else in my life.’

And Chris Davenport, two-time World Champion skilled skier, is a fan too, describing Niehues’ maps as ‘necessary, even very important, for everybody whose coronary heart and soul revolves across the sport of snowboarding’.

Niehues’ first-ever revealed ski resort map was an illustration of an enlargement to Colorado’s Winter Park that he did in collaboration with ski map artist Invoice Brown.

Brown submitted the map to the resort with Niehues’ signature on it and he then used that to courtroom different resorts for impartial commissions.

Adam White, Director of Communications Ski Vermont, said: 'You feel safe with Jim's map in your pocket. You trust him. He's got the trust of millions of people who ski and snowboard. It's magical. I've spent more time skiing with Jim than with anyone else in my life.' This map is of Mt Bachelor in Oregon, which Niehues created in 2019

Adam White, Director of Communications Ski Vermont, mentioned: ‘You’re feeling protected with Jim’s map in your pocket. You belief him. He is bought the belief of thousands and thousands of people that ski and snowboard. It is magical. I’ve spent extra time snowboarding with Jim than with anybody else in my life.’ This map is of Mt Bachelor in Oregon, which Niehues created in 2019

The primary of those was as an example California’s Boreal and Soda Spring resorts, with the contract signed in March 1987.

Each resorts nonetheless use his maps to today, the e book reveals.

By the mid-Nineteen Nineties Niehues was North America’s premier ski-map artist, nevertheless it wasn’t a straightforward trip. Map-makers who used computer-generated imagery started to dazzle resort managers.

‘I misplaced loads of jobs to computer systems,’ says Niehues. ‘If I used to be doing 15 maps a yr and I misplaced three, that was an enormous chunk of my revenue.’

Nonetheless, reveals the e book, round 2005 Niehues heard by means of the grapevine that many resorts had been lacking his handiwork, lacking his ‘colour palette, his shading and his skill to morph a multifaceted mountain into an simply understood picture on paper’.

‘A few of them got here again,’ says Niehues. ‘They needed a glance you’ll be able to’t get with a pc.’

This guide shows legendary resort Jackson Hole in Wyoming, which Niehues first mapped in 1993 and revised in 2015. In the book, he describes his aerial reconnaissance flight for the project: 'We used a Cessna. It was a huge area to cover and I kept asking the pilot to climb higher. After 30 minutes above 14,000ft I started to feel dizzy. I learned for future flights to ask for an oxygen bottle at that altitude'

This information reveals legendary resort Jackson Gap in Wyoming, which Niehues first mapped in 1993 and revised in 2015. Within the e book, he describes his aerial reconnaissance flight for the venture: ‘We used a Cessna. It was an enormous space to cowl and I saved asking the pilot to climb increased. After half-hour above 14,000ft I began to really feel dizzy. I realized for future flights to ask for an oxygen bottle at that altitude’

Niehues’ course of for making his maps begins with snapping tons of of images of the resort from a lightweight plane.

He additionally spends a while on the slopes, ensuring that he understands the skier’s perspective. ‘My job is to convey the expertise they will count on on a specific run,’ says Niehues.

Utilizing the aerial photos, the e book reveals, Niehues creates a ‘forced-perspective’ view of the mountain, ‘manipulating three-dimensional facets and terrain to suit his two-dimensional maps’.

To create his maps, Niehues spends some time on the slopes, ensuring that he understands the skier's perspective. This is a 2008 map of Mammoth, California

To create his maps, Niehues spends a while on the slopes, making certain that he understands the skier’s perspective. It is a 2008 map of Mammoth, California

Using aerial images, Niehues creates a 'forced-perspective' view of the mountain, 'manipulating three-dimensional aspects and terrain to fit his two-dimensional maps'. This is a 2014 map of Deer Valley, Utah

Utilizing aerial photos, Niehues creates a ‘forced-perspective’ view of the mountain, ‘manipulating three-dimensional facets and terrain to suit his two-dimensional maps’. It is a 2014 map of Deer Valley, Utah

Subsequent, he consults the resort to be sure that he is conscious of the options it needs emphasised within the design.

He then spends three or 4 days sketching out the resort utilizing a pencil.

This rendering then goes again to the resort for inspection and scrutiny by one in every of its most skilled skiers.

It is at this stage that Niehues has to include ‘advertising tilt’ into his artwork, in line with the e book. As an illustration, some resorts object to background mountain element, particularly if the peaks belong to a different resort.

However Niehues insists on their inclusion, stressing that ‘the background tells an enormous story… the ridges past point out what sort of terrain you’re in and what you will note as a skier’.

As soon as the pencil sketch is accepted Niehues images it, tasks it onto an enormous board and traces each element.

Essentially the most time-consuming stage is subsequent – portray it. This could take three weeks and entails a mix of airbrushing and portray. Wispy clouds are inserted, always-snowless automobile parks added, snow rigorously shaded to point gradients and timber painstakingly positioned.

Niehues, who’s from Loma, Colorado, advised MailOnline Journey that typically the job of portray the timber feels overwhelming – he is painted thousands and thousands now – however he says that ‘finally the final tree can be full and the hassle is effectively definitely worth the time – value it as a result of the outcome can be spectacular and really credible which implies the picture can have an extended and efficient life’.

Niehues told MailOnline Travel that sometimes the job of painting the trees feels overwhelming – he's painted millions now - but he says that 'eventually the last tree will be complete and the effort is well worth the time'. This is Alta in Utah

Niehues advised MailOnline Journey that typically the job of portray the timber feels overwhelming – he is painted thousands and thousands now – however he says that ‘finally the final tree can be full and the hassle is effectively definitely worth the time’. That is Alta in Utah

Niehues is pictured here taking photographs of Park City, Utah, from a Cessna 182

Niehues is pictured right here taking images of Park Metropolis, Utah, from a Cessna 182

He revealed how he goes about portray them. 

He mentioned: ‘First, earlier than the timber, the shadows they solid on the snow are painted. Not solely alongside the path’s edge however in glades between the timber. If I’m portray a deciduous forest, the cover is so skinny that each one the trunks’ shadows present by means of the skinny cover, which I’ll illustrate as many lengthy single strains. Second, the bottom paint for the conifer timber is painted with a brief up and down steady stroke forming a texture of triangular shapes. I paint with a water-soluble medium, so the third step is to re-wet this texture, which can permit the paint to move only a bit and the lighter tint will seem. 

‘Fourth, the highlights of white snow are added. Fifth, the shadows are painted. These final two levels will create the type of the slopes.

‘You may perceive why I’m actually, actually excited after I get a venture from New Zealand. A break from the timber!’

Niehues has to incorporate 'marketing tilt' into his art, according to the book. For instance, some resorts object to background mountain detail, especially if the peaks belong to another resort. This map is of Big Sky in Montana

Niehues has to include ‘advertising tilt’ into his artwork, in line with the e book. As an illustration, some resorts object to background mountain element, particularly if the peaks belong to a different resort. This map is of Huge Sky in Montana

Niehues says: 'The background tells a big story… the ridges beyond indicate what kind of terrain you are in and what you will see as a skier.' This is Crested Butte, Colorado, as shown in a map Niehues made in 1991

Niehues says: ‘The background tells an enormous story… the ridges past point out what sort of terrain you’re in and what you will note as a skier.’ That is Crested Butte, Colorado, as proven in a map Niehues made in 1991

When requested if he had a favourite resort map, Niehues, 74, would not commit.

He mentioned: ‘Having painted 200 resorts world wide, I’ve many “favorites” for a wide range of causes. You want to perceive that I’m a panorama artist first, skier second. My ardour is landscapes and most ski resorts are in numerous and dynamic settings. I’ve been blessed to have the chance to go to locations I might have solely dreamed about if not for the need for the job at hand. 

‘In 1997 I made my second journey to Australia to map out Perisher.

Niehues has mapped several resorts in Australia, including Thredbo (above). This map was created in 1994 - and the resort still uses Niehues' work to this day

Niehues has mapped a number of resorts in Australia, together with Thredbo (above). This map was created in 1994 – and the resort nonetheless makes use of Niehues’ work to today

This 1990 sketch by Niehues shows Vermont's Killington ski resort. It remains one of the artist's favorite mountains to map

This 1990 sketch by Niehues reveals Vermont’s Killington ski resort. It stays one of many artist’s favourite mountains to map

The process for painting each map takes around three weeks, the book reveals. This picture shows Niehues mixing colors

The method for portray every map takes round three weeks, the e book reveals. This image reveals Niehues mixing colours

‘The slopes of Perisher comprise a number of smaller resorts which had been interconnected when merged. All of the summits are roughly 500ft above the bottom so, as I noticed it, my job was to emphasise the modest elevation as a lot as was credible. I selected an early morning scene to accent the shadows and kind their peaks. It stays one in every of my favorites.

‘Killington, a resort in Vermont, was first painted in 1990, one in every of my first Japanese resorts. It was later painted in two views, however the unique 1990 model was reintroduced as their path map and stays one in every of my favorites.

‘I just lately completed Mad River Glen, Vermont, working from one {photograph} I had taken a long time earlier than, not realizing what resort I used to be flying over when on task for Sugarbush, Vermont.

‘In fact, there are lots of different favorites due to the dynamic surroundings – Telluride, Colorado; Crystal Mountain, Washington; Jay Peak, Vermont; Wildcat, New Hampshire; Whistler, Canada; Alta and Snowbird, Utah; Mammoth, California; Jackson, Wyoming; Cardrona and Treblecone, New Zealand; Valle Nevado, Chile.

‘I really have a dream job, combining all of the issues that I take pleasure in doing… journey, snowboarding – realized on the job – aerial pictures, sketching and portray.’

He actually is the Michelangelo of the mountains.

The Man Behind the Maps: Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues, published by Open Road Ski Company, can be ordered via openroadski.com and costs $90 (£65)

The Man Behind the Maps: Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues, revealed by Open Street Ski Firm, could be ordered by way of openroadski.com and prices $90 (£65)

The Man Behind the Maps - Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues (pictured) showcases over 200 iconic ski resort trail maps hand-painted by artist Niehues

The Man Behind the Maps – Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues (pictured) showcases over 200 iconic ski resort path maps hand-painted by artist Niehues



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