Friday, December 21, 2012

On Top of Gore Mountain

My sister Carol decided to car pool us all out to Gore Mountain. It was a frigid cold day. I put on all the sweaters, sweatshirts and coats I had. From the parking lot we could see the snow machines hard at work to open the slopes for the season. In the lodge people were busy putting on their sky boots, water proof bib overalls and thick parkas. People walked like Frankenstein with those big boots on. We didn't have all the equipment. We just wanted to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain to look around. I think the one time ticket to the top cost $12. I think skiers paid $59 for an all day pass. Holiday rates jump up to $79 for the day. Renting skis would cost $45 for the day. I'll walk thank you. I doubt I'd sketch any better with skis strapped to my feet.

The gondolas are constantly in motion. We got on as it whipped around to go back up the mountain. The windows were frosted over with ice since the gondola passed close to several snow machines. When we got to the top, we were advised not to walk on any of the ski trails. There was nothing to stop the wind up there. You could see forever. Carol lead us all to the start of one of the trails. Kirsten, Anna and Nini found a small icy hill where they could slide down for 15 feet. I kept my hands jammed in my pockets and faced away from the wind. Carol took some photos. I wasn't smiling, my face had a grimace of shock.

0n the gondola ride down, I read a sign about the early days at Gore. Seasoned locals used to play tricks on the newbies who came up from New York City. In town they would spread rumors of bear attacks on the slopes. When the newbie went to the top of the mountain, a local would be there hidden in the woods to let out a loud bear growl. Success would be a good wipe out.

I did my sketch when we got back to the foot of the mountain. While everyone else went in the lodge to warm up, I sat at a picnic table to sketch the skiers in line for the gondola. It seemed warm compared to the top of the mountain. My watercolor paint literally crystallized as it froze on the page. I left the effect in several places and rubbed the crystals off in other places when I applied second layers of darker washes. My drawing hand had the finger tips cut off from the glove. I didn't spend a long time on the sketch because I wanted to get inside to warm up.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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