Last year, we received an email out of the blue from a former Crowsnest Pass resident inquiring about creating a hand-painted trail map.  She had been back skiing at PPK a few weeks previous and got the idea after seeing the existing trail maps.  Most impressive of all to our not-for-profit ears, she was not looking for any compensation.  Rather, her motivations were to create a legacy image that captures the various terrain elements of her home hill.  Guess what our response was.

Robin Derkatz grew up in the Crowsnest Pass and is professionally trained at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.  Her artistic talents cross over a wide variety of mediums including painting and digital media (Check Robin’s art and Design company Otteroo out on Facebook and Instagram).  Like it is today for local kids, she spent countless hours at Pass Powderkeg with friends and family and knows the mountain and it’s trails like the back of her hand.  As she adventured off to other hills, she began collecting trail maps, admiring the intricacy and complexity of their mountain depictions.  All of this backstory and her day on the slopes in February lead to this project.

Inspired by James Niehues, the most renowned ski cartographer/trail map artist in the world, she set out to understand the challenge and techniques of combining landscape art, 3D topography and cartography in order to ‘flatten the mountain’ into a 2D image without losing the feel and flow of a skier  or snowboarder’s perspective.  Following many preliminary phone calls to create a common understanding of what we wanted to achieve with this project, Robin began on the artwork master image.   Several hundred hours of intricate painting later, including all of those individually painted Bob Ross trees (Don’t they look happy?), we collaborated again on the digital overlay including the icons, labels and lift/run lines.  The result is amazing and something that we will treasure at PPK, both the artwork itself and the selfless contribution Robin has made to our community ski hill.

This season, we will be selling trail map postcards (5.5” x 8.5”) for $2 each from the ticket office in order to raise funds to be able to replace our 4 large exterior trail map signs.  To help make this happen as soon as possible, we are also seeking financial sponsorship of this project.  If you know of any businesses that would like to play a role in this great story and gain some very front and center advertising on these signboards, please have them contact