Ski Heaven decorates Whistler Athletes' Centre 

Eighty-two pieces made from skis and snowboards promote sports and sustainability

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CATHRYN ATKINSON - Art heaven Christian Boone, managing director of the Whistler Athletes' Centre, and Randi Kruse, owner of Ski Heaven, with two prototype art pieces that Kruse will make to decorate the centre.
  • Photo by Cathryn Atkinson
  • Art heaven Christian Boone, managing director of the Whistler Athletes' Centre, and Randi Kruse, owner of Ski Heaven, with two prototype art pieces that Kruse will make to decorate the centre.

It's all go at the Creekside workshop of Ski Heaven, which repurposes pre-loved skis and snowboards into art and household objects.

Founded a year ago by Randi Kruse, Ski Heaven has taken on its biggest commission to date, creating 82 wall pieces for Whistler Athletes' Centre in Cheakamus. The artworks will liven up the comfortable but unadorned accommodation rooms at the facility.

"When I started Ski Heaven I didn't know where the interest would be, whether I would be selling keychains — whether small merchandise would be where the growth was — or if it would be larger custom projects," Kruse says.

"It has definitely gone more in the direction of commissioned client work, where someone might want a different kind of feature or look at home, as opposed to a landscape painting."

Kruse has built a bed for one customer and created a ski-and-board replica of the Iron Throne from The Game of Thrones for Garfinkel's Nightclub. But also popular are wine racks made from a single ski.

Often clients will ask her to make something using their own old skis and boards, which they won't want to part with for sentimental reasons.

She believes Ski Heaven has kept 1,500 lbs. (380 kg.) of skis and snowboards out of local landfills, 500 lbs. (127 kg.) of that coming from the athletes' centre commission. Estimating that skis weigh three lbs. each, this works out roughly to 500 reused.

The designs for the centre will be wildflowers, snowflakes and Inukshuks. Kruse says they will be delivered "before the snow melts."

"I'm really excited about it," Kruse says.

"Getting the skis for it is the easiest part. They come from everywhere."

She founded Ski Heaven because of her interest in sustainability, having taken a Whistler Centre for Sustainability program for business in 2015.

"There is no shortage of ski waste out there. I'm hoping that everyone in Whistler will have a little piece of Ski Heaven in their home somewhere," she says.

Christian Boone, managing director of the Whistler Athletes' Centre, says they had been planning to decorate their spaces for some time.

"We wanted to have something on the walls that represented Whistler. We originally thought of doing some photography and we put a request out to staff to see if they had any photos they wanted to submit, but we thought photos can get dated pretty fast," Boone says.

"I've known Randi for a while and thought this was a good idea, taking our equipment out of the landfill. It comes with a good story. It comes with our history in it because these skis were used in Whistler, the equipment was used here."

Throughout January, Ski Heaven is holding a studio sale. For more information, visit www.skiheaven.ca.

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