Every pair of skis we make is uniquely crafted for that individual skier. The ski width, length, shape, rocker and camber profile, stiffness, flex pattern and material makeup is different for each pair of skis. But, that’s all internal. What makes our skis so fun post-production are the special graphics that each of our customers come up with.
Our in-house graphic designer, Heather Baltzley, uses customer ideas, artwork, photographs, illustrations, logos, paintings and more to help create their one-of-a-kind topsheet design. Each individual owner walks away with not only an incredible pair of skis, but also a story. It’s typically the topic of conversation long after the owner forgets what’s on the inside.
Here are a few of Baltzley’s favorite custom topsheet graphics from the 2016-2017 season, and why, in her own words:
This is a great example how we can brand skis. ARTA Tequila sent me their entire branding guidelines and all their assets. When working with companies to create brand-appropriate graphics, the more information a company/person can give me on their graphic/brand standards (and artwork), the more I can deliver on message.
I love this ski, not only because it is so quiet and beautiful, but also because I happen to know this woman’s daughter is named “Fern.”
This artwork comes from a small pointillist piece that the owner’s stepfather did many years ago. She had it photographed large enough that I could use it on her skis. I love the serenity of the piece and am happy with the translation onto her skis.
From these skis, I learned that if you pay for the full subscription to Google Earth, you can download high resolution images of your favorite places! This surf break is the owner’s favorite spot in Australia.
Not all artwork has to come from original sources. This artwork is a combination of stock images, meaning that we buy the rights to use the artwork for a customer’s personal skis and I design from there.
The owner of these skis travels out to Alaska every year to ski big lines. I’d like to think that he is inpired every time he looks at his skis.
This owner is a long-time Ski Patroller at Snow King and has been collecting their yearly stickers. Why not “put” them “on” his skis?
This is another good example of stock-sourced artwork. This fellow is from Michigan, but his heart is in Colorado.
Better Skiing is in
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If you know me, you know that I am an art history nerd and that my aesthetics/tastes run Japanese. Like the “Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” from last year’s favorites (https://www.wagnerskis.com/journal/custom-topsheets-a-deeper-look-at-the-process-favorites-from-2015-2016/) this artwork is considered public domain and is available for free, online, at high resolution. I consider it an honor to use any great public domain work of art on our skis.
This is one of our stock graphics, and my favorite (tied with the “Great Wave”). I love its retro-ness and simplicity. I named it “Snowbird” because the curves of the stripes reminded me of the Snowbird logo. People should know that the color scheme of these skis can be easily changed if they like the design but want something a little bolder.
The artist of this piece is three years old. Her father was very excited to get her painting on his skis. When he asked me to put her name and age on the skis, I instead asked him to get the signature of the artist to put on the tail of the right ski. This may have been the first time someone has asked for her autograph?
This ski isn’t actually from this year, but I dug it up when looking through my files. It is one of my all-time favorite graphics, and a great example of what can be done with stock artwork and time. This is four–or five–different pieces of stock artwork combined/added to/edited to create the “side” of an old WWII bomber. I built out each of the individual “rivets” to match what they would look like if “painted.”
This is a display ski that I built for us at our new factory. It is a photograph by a local photographer, Ryan Bonneau, faded into a duotone of a topographic map of the Telluride area at the tails. It is an homage to the place I call home.