Mad River Glen Raises Over $81,000 On Kickstarter For A New Trail Map

Mad River Glen Raises Over $81,000 On Kickstarter For A New Trail Map


Mad River Glen Raises Over $81,000 On Kickstarter For A New Trail Map


Mad River Glen needs your support for a proper trail map, graphics and mountain signage. As a backer, you have a choice of several Art Prints of this iconic painting. Support now on Kickstarter!


Mad River Glen in Fayston, Vermont, is different from other ski hills. It boasts the only single chair in North America. It prizes uncrowded, natural skiing above faster lifts and shorter lift lines. It’s the only skier-owned cooperative in the U.S., and has always been and intends to remain fiercely independent.

Shareholder Meeting. Photo credit Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Mad River Glen faithful know that one of the most endearing characteristics of the mountain is its ability to remain encapsulated in time. The trails, buildings and lifts all harken back to an age when life moved at a slower pace and everything seemed to be a little more simple. The one missing piece to the puzzle is a trail map that captures the spirit of the mountain—a map hand painted by the legendary ski map artist Jim Niehues.

Expertly hand-painted mountains, trees and trails by Niehues

Mad River Glen needs your support to fund Jim’s painting and, if we beat our goal, support new trail maps and mountain signage featuring Niehues’s work. As a backer, you have a choice of several Art Prints of this iconic painting.

Open Road Ski Company is donating their time and profit from this campaign to the Stark Mountain Foundation to benefit Mad River Glen.

Mad River Glen

Mad River Glen became one of Vermont’s first major ski areas when the Single Chair began carrying skiers to the top of General Stark Mountain in 1948. From the very beginning, Mad River Glen has been unique, a place where skiing is a sport not an industry, working with nature not against it. Mad River Glen began a new era in 1995 when its skiers came together to form the Mad River Glen Cooperative.

Opening Day 1948

The Cooperative works to fulfill a simple mission: “… to forever protect the classic Mad River Glen skiing experience by preserving low skier density, natural terrain and forests, varied trail character, and friendly community atmosphere for the benefit of shareholders, area personnel and patrons.”

Powder Day at Mad River Glen. Photo credit Brooks Curran.

The Stark Mountain Foundation

The Stark Mountain Foundation’s mission is to preserve and protect the environment and ecosystem of General Stark Mountain, including its recreational access and historic value, and to support programs that promote and sustain that environment for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

James Niehues

If you are a skier, there is a good chance James Niehues has been your mountain guide. Throughout his 30-year career he has worked for more than 200 ski resorts across North America, South America, Australia, Asia and Europe. And even if you have never shared a bottomless powder day with him, he has always been close by. Maybe even in your pocket.

Niehues Photographs the Alps

Over the past three decades, Niehues has extensively researched, photographed and illustrated nearly every ski trail for the best ski resorts on the planet. Of Ski Magazine’s  Top 50 resorts in North America, he has painted 45 of them.

His tools of choice are a camera, a notepad and a paintbrush. Every painstaking detail—peaks, cliffs, trees and shadows—he paints by hand.

James Niehues captures Mad River Glen by air in 1990

Through his exacting and meticulous process, Niehues has guided millions of skiers with his trail maps that capture the unique character and soul of each mountain. As the world went digital, his craftsman’s approach to map making remained the same. He continues to define the look of an entire sport.

Open Road Ski Company

Open Road Ski Company was formed by two passionate skiers, Ben Farrow and Todd Bennett, in 2018 to support Niehues’s desire to have a definitive catalog of his work. Their first Kickstarter project, James Niehues: The Man Behind the Map, became Kickstarter’s top grossing Art Illustration project of all-time.

The Man Behind The Maps: Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues

It is a beautiful 292-page hardcover coffee table book and features over 200 ski resort trail maps.

At their core, Ben and Todd are ski geeks and are proud to work with James Niehues and Mad River Glen on this campaign.

Additional Partners

We are very grateful to Meghan Lyden for video art direction, production and editing.

Project Timeline

February 2020: Mad River Glen, Stark Mountain Foundation, James Niehues and Open Road Ski Company discuss the need for a new trail map

June 2020: Open Road Ski Company provides seed funding for Niehues to begin work

September 2020: Kickstarter Campaign

October 2020: Niehues completes painting of Mad River Glen

November 2020: Delivery of Art Prints begins

January 2021: Open Road Ski Company donates Niehues’ map and campaign profits to Stark Mountain Foundation in support of Mad River Glen

Risks and challenges

We do not anticipate any risks. We learned so much in our first campaign and have the process, vendors and know how to execute. Profits from this campaign will fund Jim’s painting and, if we beat our goal, support new trail maps and mountain signage featuring this work.

Support Now – A Ski Legend Paints Mad River Glen a New Trail Map

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