Portrait of a Ski Area – Trail Maps Reinvented (part 2)

Link to part 1: Portrait of a Ski Area – Trail Maps Reinvented (part 1)

Now that the perspectives to be used for each view were confirmed, James got to work on the next step of the process – the comprehensive sketches. These would also be done in pencil, but with much more attention to detail. I was excited to see this next stage, as I felt this is where the real feel of Lake Louise would come through.

When going through countless aerial photos earlier in the process, I was continually reminded of how many places on the mountain look like they might be ski runs, but aren’t, such as old lift cut lines, summer roads, power lines, and abandoned runs. For example, on the front side alone, there are six old lift lines – Olympic, Glacier triple chair, Friendly Giant, Whitehorn gondola, Eagle chair, and Eagle Poma. I was curious to see if these red herrings would throw James off the scent of the current and active layout of the mountain. As it turns out, a veteran ski map artist doesn’t get distracted that easily.

The first sketch to arrive in my inbox was that of the back side. My first thought was that calling it a ‘sketch’ was a disservice, as I was looking at something that would happily find a place on my wall. Before diving into the details, I was struck by how the mountain was lit. James managed to capture a look that skiers get to see on those mornings where there’s a perfect mix of sun and cloud, and the mountain and all of its features are cast in a beautiful glow.

I was also happy with the perspective, as everything from Ptarmigan Chutes to Boundary Bowl was clearly displayed. I was particularly pleased to see that the North Cornice area, barely a lump in our current maps, finally had received its place in the sun (literally).

Eventually I got to work going over the fine points of the sketch. I opened one of our current paper trail maps, then went through every run in order to make sure it was present and in the right place, and with all the right attributes (steepness, width, etc). I made a list of changes as I went along, then made a copy of the sketch with my marks and notes on it and sent it back to James. The changes were all little things – shade this in here, add a cat track there, and so on. He had done a remarkable job of getting it right, especially since he had not come to the resort at the start of the process. James quickly made the edits, and shortly after I had the revised sketch. My marked-up version and the revised sketch are shown below so you can see what changes were needed, and how they were made.

Even though it lies outside our boundary, we both felt that showing the Hidden Bowl and Corral Creek areas accurately was important. I hadn’t thought to include photos of those areas at first, but did once I saw the first sketch and decided they should be done right, and James got them pretty much bang on.

Part 3

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2 Comments on “Portrait of a Ski Area – Trail Maps Reinvented (part 2)”

  1. Tim says:

    Wow! What a stunning “sketch” and a great insight into the process. I’m looking forward to seeing the new maps almost as much as I’m looking forward to seeing the mountain itself… OK not really… but close.

  2. Eric frigon says:

    Thanks for including hidden bowl and corral creek. Its the first thing i noticed when looking at the first sketch.


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