Cori Ross – Inspired by the magic of the 

She says she’s been into art all her life. But until recently, she never really thought of herself as an artist.“It’s kind of funny that way,” says Cori Ross. “I remember being in high school and watching the artsy kids and realizing I wasn’t really like them. It was almost like I had to hide my artistic talents because I was such a jock. I was on the basketball team, the volleyball team — I didn’t look or act at all like an artist should. Or at least, the way I thought an artist should look and act…”

Skiing is what really turned her on back then. “I grew up on the slopes of Silver Star,” says the Vernon native. “My parents introduced us to the sport at a very young age.” She laughs. “We rented this little A-frame on the mountain. It was really rustic. No telephone, no TV — but lots of outdoor activities. It was a simple, healthy life — I just loved it…”

And though she didn’t realize it at the time, her artistic sensibilities were also being tickled by her mountain surroundings. “Vernon isn’t all that far from Silver Star,” she explains. “But they’re like two different worlds. I can still picture myself in the family car climbing up the Silver Star road and emerging from the valley clouds into bright sunshine. The snow sparkled! It was like a field full of diamonds. And I knew that this was where I belonged.” A pause. “You know, I lived for skiing in those days. Still do now, for that matter.”

She smiles. “I’m not sure that you should put this in your story, but I think the way you ski says a lot about the kind of person you are. You see, skiing to me is as much an art as it is a sport. I mean, if you can ski — really ski — then chances are good that you can dance and make love well too.”

>We’re digressing. But then maybe we’re not…

Today, Cori Ross is considered one of Sea-to-Sky’s most successful artist/entrepreneurs. Working from her home studio in Whistler Cay, she creates what can only be described as “whimsical mountain scenes” in a distinctive painting style that is uniquely hers. How distinctive? Original works go for anywhere from $3,500-$6,000! “It’s a time-consuming technique,” she explains. “So I only get to produce six or seven originals a year. Fortunately, my art cards and giclée prints are now quite popular too.”

Indeed. As much a business person as an artist — and not at all shy to acknowledge that point — Ross has managed to combine her love of mountains, skiing and art to create a very successful niche for herself. These days her work can be found at various shops in mountain resorts across Western Canada. “I sold my first art cards to Dave Davenport and Lauren Wornig at Skitch,” she tells me. “And that was a huge breakthrough. Suddenly I realized I might be able to make a living as an artist here.”Another quick shot of happy laughter. “And that’s something I never really counted on…”


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