James Niehues is a world famous ski resort map artist. He has been painting aerial views since 1986. The first ski map was in 1988, and since then he has created over 350 different views for resorts, tourist bureaus, golf communities and outdoor sports related entities. His clients are all over the world and even Chaffee County, including Monarch Mountain and The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau. In 2014 The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau commissioned James Niehues to paint the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Mountain Range. James did not take on many new projects in this stage of his career but he excitedly jumped at the opportunity. “I have always wanted to paint the Collegiate Peaks,” said Neihues.
Niehues’ method of painting the Collegiate Peaks started with aerial photographs of the mountain range. He flew to the Central Colorado Airport and picked up Scott Peterson, Marketing Director for The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau and flew through the valley up to 16,000 feet above sea level taking photographs of the mountains. “It was cool, we could see over the mountains and even see Taylor Reservoir,” said Peterson. He then sketches the mountain based on the photographs and Google Earth views. He adds color and detail with watercolor paints and an airbrush.
This image has been utilized in many advertisements to promote this beautiful valley. Nancy & Scott Anderson, from BV Trail Reports fame, were commissioned to name the mountains, high mountain lakes, trails, fishing access and rapids throughout the image.
With the lost opportunity for both the Salida & Buena Vista Chambers of Commerce’s to host events as fundraisers this summer. The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau has donated prints on canvas and posters.
These can be purchased at the Buena Vista Welcome Center as part of the fundraiser:
Canvas (40X21): $175
Poster Prints (21.5X39): $25