Ski Heaven lends new life to retired skis 

New local business puts out call for artists

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - HEAVENLY SKIS Luke Ferdinands poses with some of local artist Ron Denessen's work.
  • Photo submitted
  • HEAVENLY SKIS Luke Ferdinands poses with some of local artist Ron Denessen's work.

What do you with that old pair of skis when they've borne the weight of one too many turns?

For Luke Ferdinands, the answer wasn't as easy as a trip to the Re-Use-It Centre.

"I've got lots of pairs that I had lots of great adventures with, and really had a lot of fond memories, but nobody is going to buy them off me," Ferdinands said.

"I don't really feel right throwing them in the garbage, because they were good skis and they mean something to me."

So Ferdinands designed a way to give his sentimental skis a new life — through a project called Ski Heaven.

"What we're doing with Ski Heaven is trying to create a platform by which we can connect artists — and initially we're talking in Whistler here, locally — that can take these materials and create them into art or usable products that other people would be willing to purchase, so that we can keep these old skis out of the landfill and give them an extended life," Ferdinands explained.

Right now Ferdinands is working with a group of five artists — Ron Denessen is one of them.

"As soon as I heard the concept I thought, 'OK, perfect, this could work,' and I got excited about being a part of it," Denessen said.

"I started experimenting with the skis and just having a lot of fun with it... the momentum is starting and it's all pretty exciting."

The artists can use the skis as they see fit, doing everything from painting them to hacking them up and rearranging them to create decorations like snowflakes.

Eventually, the work will be sold online at www.skiheaven.ca. Ferdinands also hopes to see it displayed around Whistler.

The project is part of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability's Social Venture Challenge — a three-month mentorship program that aims to assist new businesses with a sustainable focus.

"We wanted to launch this program to support mainly new entrepreneurs, people who have great ideas on how to... do good for their community or address a social or environmental problem with a business initiative," the Whistler Centre for Sustainability's executive director Cheeying Ho told Pique in July.

Ski Heaven has a partnership with Whistler Community Services and the Re-Use-It Centre to help collect old skis for the project.

Any skis or snowboards that are not fit to be resold will be added to the pile.

"At this point it's summer and people aren't really cleaning out their crawl spaces and their garages like they will be a month from now," Ferdinands said.

"But we've been collecting up a lot of stuff, and I think if people keep bringing it down, that's great, we can pull together that supply and pull out the pieces that we need."

And as the stockpile of material grows, so too does the need for artists.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the project can email connect@skiheaven.ca.

"We'd love to connect with them, and if people have interesting project ideas or want to get involved in any other way, just send us an email," Ferdinands said.

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