Is This the End of the Trail Map?
By Cindy Hirschfeld. Published in the New York Times on March 8, 2022
At ski resorts around the country, the familiar paper map is disappearing, as mountains push skiers to use apps and other digital resources. But some skiers are pushing back.
At the end of this month, the artist James Niehues will be inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, in recognition of the almost 200 trail maps he has painted over his 34-year career. Skiers from Mt. Bachelor, Ore., to Sunday River, Maine, and many points in between, have held his work in their hands as they try to find the easiest — or hardest — way down.
But perhaps not for much longer.
Ski areas are increasingly cutting back on the number of pocket-size paper trail maps they print and distribute. The reasons range from cost savings and environmental concerns to promoting resort-specific apps that offer a slew of interactive features in addition to digital maps. Last winter many ski areas didn’t put out the usual stacks of maps as a Covid measure, but the trend goes well beyond pandemic protocol.
Used permission from Cindy Hirschfeld.