Portrait of a Ski Area – Trail Maps Reinvented (part 3)

Part 1

Part 2

With the revised comprehensive sketch for the back side now in my possession, I continued to find areas that required changing. Like the first round of edits, there was nothing major, but I thought that since we’re only doing this once, let’s do the best we can. With some of the items I thought I may have been a little nit-picky, and communicated this to James, who quickly assured me that nothing was too nit-picky. If anything, he was as interested as I in getting it right, down to the smallest detail. I sent James a second list of revisions, and he replied that he would incorporate them onto the final painting rather than do another sketch, which would add time to the process. Even on those paintings, changes could be made, even if we discovered something years after the fact!

I now waited eagerly for the front side sketch. As this view was going to show both the south face and Larch areas – a view we had not attempted before – I was keen to see how it was going to turn out. James’ first rough sketch (below) had used a perspective that viewed the resort from a more westerly aspect than previous maps, allowing the inclusion of Larch.

Of course, such a view in real life would still not allow one to see the north side of the Larch area. Runs like Lynx and Wolverine would be hidden from view. But, using his clever use of terrain warping, James planned to make these runs visible, as they are in the sketch above, even if it makes Larch look flatter than it is.

When the comprehensive sketch arrived in my inbox, James wrote that he had encountered more difficulty than expected in making this view as planned. As he put it, he had to think outside the box in order to render what would otherwise be an impossible view. He felt the angles were just too extreme, and he had to come up with a way to indicate that the views of the front side and of Larch were from different angles, while still showing how they related to one another.

One of Jim’s solutions was to show the south half of Larch on the front side map, and the north half on the back side map, but we felt it would make the Larch area seem too disjointed. Another solution involved adding ‘breaks’, or white lines, to indicate the change of angle, and these are shown in the comprehensive sketch below.

Even with the breaks, James was able to preserve the connection between Larch and the front side by lining up the Ski Out and road which join the two. Those familiar with the Lake Louise area mountains, however, will notice that most of Wolverine Ridge and parts of Mt. Redoubt behind it are gone, their places taken instead by the upper of the two breaks. Having not expected this twist, I was nonetheless impressed with James’ ability to solve the problem without reducing the map’s effectiveness.

Like the back side sketch, I used one of our current maps to ensure every named run was visible and in the right place with the right attributes. Again I made a list of required changes, marked them on a copy of the sketch, and sent it back to James for revision.

With revisions to both the front and back side sketches now underway, the only one that remained was that of the overhead view. The emphasis on this would be more of providing a ‘big picture’ view of the ski area, rather than a detailed navigational aid, so I wasn’t expecting the detailed revisions that existed for the first two sketches.

Coming soon: Part 4


4 Comments on “Portrait of a Ski Area – Trail Maps Reinvented (part 3)”

  1. Randy Gale says:

    Hello, these sketches are awesome. I am wondering if these would be available in a poster form? I understand they are sketches for new maps but i like the old style with out all the symbols and sponser names.Can’t wait to see the new maps.
    Thanks. Randy

    • lakelouiselowdown says:

      Hi Randy,

      Thanks for the comment. These sketches will not be available in poster form, and while we haven’t confirmed how we’ll make the final paintings available, one possibility is that we’ll do like you suggested, in poster form, but just the terrain – no symbols, run names, etc.


  2. Joel says:

    Love the drawings and the explanations! Thanks for posting this. Can’t wait to see the maps. Would love to be able to purchase these in poster form as well.
    Great Job!

  3. As a long time Ski Friend, I can say that we will appreciate the new, more detailed maps for giving directions and explaining to our guests the best ways to ski our mountain. Amazing drawings. Can’t wait to see the final product.

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