Denver-based Icelantic Skis unveiled a new limited-edition John Denver signature ski today, produced in partnership with the John Denver Estate and featuring a portrait of the musician by in-house artist Travis Parr. The $699 skis -- a variant of Icelantic's popular Nomad shape, produced in a small batch of 100 -- and $199 giclee prints of Parr's painting are available for pre-order at IcelanticSkis.com and will be shipping in February 2013. We caught up with Parr for more on the collaboration.
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Westword: How did this project come about?
Travis Parr: It's the fifteenth anniversary of John Denver's death, and the John Denver Estate had an idea to release a limited-edition ski, since skiing in Colorado was one of the things he loved most. They got ahold of Icelantic because they'd seen what we've been doing in terms of art direction and my approach to making ski graphics, incorporating original paintings into the graphics. They wanted to bring that same design philosophy into their project, and it was really clear from the beginning that this project was a perfect fit all around.
I was able to sit down with the John Denver Estate crew and sort through some old pictures that the family has. There were all these unbelievable pictures of John out in Colorado doing his John Denver thing, and in the end we all agreed on this one photo that just really captured his essence: in Colorado, out in the wilderness.
Is the "JD" snowflake on the ski your design, or something they brought to the table?
That's their logo, and I was flattered because from the beginning they were really interested in the first Scout ski graphic we did, the very first topsheet we created, with a portrait of an Indian with this molecular structure of a snowflake. They wanted to do something similar with the John Denver snowflake, so we created a snowfield element using their graphic, and it just couldn't have worked out any better. I'm really pleased with how his estate responded to the finished image. It's been a real easy ride working with them and having the freedom to create something special with them.
Is this a first for you and Icelantic, to be creating limited-edition graphics through these kinds of partnerships?
I also recently created partnership skis to help mark the 75th anniversary ski season at Loveland, and it's exciting to be getting these kinds of opportunities to expand our graphics beyond the Icelantic line.
Are you a John Denver fan yourself?
Oh, yeah, for sure, man! I grew up listening to him with the parents in the car, driving up to the mountains. And then, working on the painting one night in my studio, I swear I felt his presence come into the house to check it out. It's been fifteen years since his death, but I definitely felt like John was around for this, spiritually, while I was creating his portrait.
I actually had an opportunity to hit the slopes with him once, because his son lived in my dorm when I was at Fort Lewis, back in 1994, and we got to ride with him at Purgatory one day. I was kind of surprised at the time to find out that he was the real deal.
Yeah, he was legit. Have you seen that music video for "Dancing With the Mountains"? Oh, my God, it's so corny, but John's totally sending it at the end! It was a ton of fun to go back through some of that source material to get inspired for this project. I just wish he could hit the slopes on these skis!
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