Capturing the Character

Local Artist Celebrates Utah’s Ski Resorts

In 2004, Alex Nabaum and his wife, Shayna, built their family home in Heber Valley. While completing their basement, Nabaum looked for ski posters of the surrounding areas. He had a vision to complete their interior design by giving a nod to our local resorts. Skiing has been a family hobby for years, and — after all — they now lived in Utah with the “greatest snow on earth!” Best be celebrating that! He rummaged through many posters on his quest to find the right art to represent our resorts; there was no authenticity to the ones he found. Run-of-the-mill prints of the Swiss Alps, with local verbiage and images superimposed over the top, were the best he could drum up. He was disenchanted. Experiencing a need firsthand for quality local ski posters spurred an idea. It was the catalyst for what is now SkiPosters.Art.

Nabaum began his career as an artist at age 15, working as a caricature artist. You may remember the bobblehead art, so popular in the 90’s! That was his first paid job as an artist. After graduation, he became a true blue Aggie studying art at Utah State on a scholarship. Alex caught a great break for an aspiring artist and was hired by the Ogden Standard-Examiner as an illustrator and graphic designer. He then moved on to work for Desert News as a staff artist. When the Winter Olympics arrived in 2002, Alex took on the night shifts (undesired by most of the other staff) to free up his days to launch his freelance work with his clientele during the traditional work day. By 2004, he was able to set off on his own, working as a freelance illustrator for big names like the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

He touts with a chuckle that he made the cover of ESP — not by way of the typical route as an athlete, though. Professionally, he has worked with Forbes, Time, Newsweek, Readers Digest, National Geographic, and many more.

Growing up south of Denver, he spent time in powder on the slopes of our neighboring east side of the Rockies. After moving to Utah, Nabaum and his family became well-versed in the resorts of our area. For the past five years, Alex has combined his passion for art and skiing, pouring his heart and soul into creating his amazing poster art. Nabaum has iconic renditions of all of our beloved resorts, Sundance, Deer Valley, and Park City.

Ski resort involvement may be genetic! Alex’s grandfather and businessman, Sherman Nabaum, became chairman of the Winter Sports Committee, who helped raise the original $10,000 to launch Alta in 1938. To kick off his work, Nabaum dives deep into history to root out all the tiny details that capture the unique character of each location. The next step in making it an authentic representation takes a visit or two to really experience the feel and soak up the scenery. Nabaum’s daughter has been known to tag along, helping him take pictures and ‘live’ the moment. They go ‘see it’ from the visitor’s perspective. They take photographs and sketches to brainstorm ideas and create a visual collection inspiring the final piece.

Here is where his true artistic nature shines through. His creativity is off the hook! Deep, rich layers are in the ties between his art and each ski resort experience. Let me — ‘ahem’ — paint the picture for you. There are three different editions for each poster. They are named based on the three pertinent numbers for a ski resort: Base, Vertical, and Summit Editions. For example, the base elevation of Deer Valley is 6,570 feet; therefore, he prices his Base Edition at $65.70. Savvy? Now consider the vertical drop of the resort at 3,000 feet, thus making the Vertical Drop Edition $300.00. Finally, we hit the summit. Deer Valley peaks out at 9,570, so naturally, the Summit Edition is $957.00.

To encapsulate even more of the exact physical locations in the art, Nabaum describes a special connection. “I ride, hike, ski, or backpack to the highest point of the resort and collect a bag of snow, which I document on my SkiPosters.Art Instagram.” The snow is mixed into the Vertical and Summit Editions paint! The Summit Edition’s entire white paint surface is mixed with the snowmelt from the physical summit. The Vertical Edition prints receive a dose of colors mixed using the snow. Nabaum describes how this technique makes each print “literally drip with authenticity.” He smiles as he tells of how he has had some funny looks from ski patrol when he gathers his bags of snow. He has two bottles of snowmelt for each resort. He guards it with his life!

Within the art itself, he richly weaves symbolic images to represent the history and feel of each location. He takes painstaking measures to create just the right pallet of colors to capture the landscape and story of each resort. Both online and included with each print is a cheat sheet of the symbolism, hidden objects, and ideas of each poster. Let me give you an example. If you take a peek at the Deer Valley poster, you’ll see skiers traveling beautiful corduroy snow that is also lovely groomed locks of ritzy clientele. (Fun trivia: the French word ‘Cord du Roi’ means ‘cord for Kings.’) The award-winning grooming of Deer Valley is highlighted while masterfully emphasizing the prominence often found in the characters on DV slopes and lifts. Even the elegance of the bathrooms is mentioned on the cheat sheet, pointing towards the luxury, and showcased using the monogram in the art! Check out all the fascinating and playful symbols of each piece at

Park City’s poster highlights the iconic intersection of the lift and Main Street. Nabaum shared a story of how his high school friends had an elaborate system to all share one ski pass for the season. It worked because of Park City’s arrangement with Main Street! Once on the lift, they had a planned location to insert their pass into a mitten and drop it down onto the street. They would each take their turn getting on the lift with their pass and mitten. Ah, the creativity of youth and memories it makes!

Sundance is known for artistic flair and, of course, the resort’s visionary, Robert Redford. Front and center on Sundance’s poster is the top portion of the famous Morning Prayer sculpture by Apache artist Allan Houser. Skis with references to Redford’s films are stuck in the snow behind the sculpture, and in the distance is our beloved Timpanogos. The poster perfectly represents a little piece of our Heber Valley home.

The Nabaum’s basement has long since been completed and fully adorned with unique ski posters, hand printed by the artist at his home, but the passion has a momentum that rolls on. Although Alex and his family recently moved to Idaho, his years here in Wasatch County have gained him a loyal local following. Heber Valley resident Jeff Danley collects the first edition of each Base Edition. Be sure to watch for more favorites coming down the line. Solitude, Brighton, Big Sky, and Mammoth will be released in 2024. Just as sure as the snow will fly, Nabaum’s adventures and art will continue for years to come.

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