James Niehues: The man behind the maps
Art Business

James Niehues: The man behind the maps

James Niehues, the famed painter of more than 200 trail maps of Earth’s ski mountains, is pictured in his studio in Loveland. (Courtesy photo) Whether you knew it or not, you’ve likely experienced firsthand the art of James Niehues — especially if you’ve skied a North American resort since 1987. Niehues, see, has painted trail maps for more than 200 ski areas, from tiny New Hampshire molehills to megaresorts such as Vail or Whistler/Blackcomb. In all the times you’ve perused a Telluride trail map, perhaps you’ve never before noticed Niehues’ signature in stylized capital print, but there it is, way to the lower right, just beside the artist’s depiction of Lower Galloping Goose. Niehues — who hand-paints his creations based on aerial photography and, increasingly, Google Maps shots — has understandably lost some business recently to computerized art programs. Yet his work is still revered by skiers and snowboarders — and they’ve recently showed their appreciation in a major way. A Kickstarter campaign started by Todd Bennett at Open Road Ski Company and intended to fund a book of the resort paintings was begun in November; its stated goal was to raise $8,000 from about 100 supporters for a […]

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