Mammoth combines art exhibit with terrain park

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Photo by Marlene Greer, Correspondent

By Marlene
Greer

Correspondent

 

Snowboarding is all about self-expression. Its jumps, flips and twists
are a creative blend of movement and athleticism displayed in a graceful air
ballet. Snowboarding is an art, and some snowboarders are also
artists.

So what better way for Mammoth Mountain to pay tribute to a local fallen
snowboarder than with an art exhibit that’s also a terrain
park?

Mammoth’s Art Park is a first of its kind for the ski resort. It’s a
melding of original works of art into something that can be ridden on, jumped
off or just enjoyed in its outdoor gallery setting on one of the mountain’s
named runs. The exhibit, “I am Snowboarding,” honors Jeffrey Lin Anderson, a
professional snowboarder, artist and Mammoth resident who died in 2003 at the
age of 23.

  “A lot of artists are influenced by
action sports. Snowboarders are influenced by art. Their tricks are influenced
by art, music and lifestyle. That integration between art and snow; we wanted to
create that connection,” said Josh Chauvet, action sports brand manager for
Mammoth Mountain.

“I am Snowboarding” is an art project created by the Jeff Anderson
Memorial Fund to raise money for the construction of the Brothers skateboard
park in Mammoth Lakes, which opened in Sept. 2005. For the project,
photographers were teamed with artists to create a one-of-a-kind work of art.
Photographers submitted a favorite photo of Jeff which was enlarged and placed
on canvas. The artists, using various mediums, applied their artistic touches
overtop the photographs, transforming then into unique works of art. The
23-piece exhibit traveled around the country and to Japan in
2010.

But it was at Mammoth where terrain expert and metalworker Dustin del
Giudice turned the artworks into his own masterpieces. Del Giudice, a longtime
snowboarder and owner of a metal shop in Mammoth, transferred the images onto
large pieces of plywood. He then used the plywood and steel to make the
strikingly colorful rails, ledges and boxes that form the Art Park.

The Art Park is located on Round Robin run off the Canyon Express lift
near Canyon Lodge. Finding it can be a challenge. With no signs on the mountain,
it’s a bit of trial and error.

For those who want to utilize the features, the park is a place where
they can ride and be creative. But it’s also a place where visitors can take a
breather from skiing or boarding and pause to read about Anderson and discover
the stories behind the photographs.

The sign at the entrance to the Art Park features a photo of a 1-year-old
Jeff and his older brother Billy dressed in Superman outfits for Halloween. The
photo was taken by their mother, Jane.

 “This is what Jeff wanted,”
Jane said in a video taken at the opening of the Art Park at Mammoth in
December. “He wanted to mesh art with snowboarding; an art with everyday life.
That’s what makes (the Art Park) so awesome.”

“Having Fun,” a joint work with photographer Stan Evans and artist Robert
Shaw, shows Anderson riding a stair rail surrounded by night and the creatures
of the night with JLA written in the stars. On a nearby plaque, Evans says this
about the photo:

“At the time, the rail we were shooting had never been done before. I got
a late night call to shoot and ended up meeting Jeffy, (photographer) Shane
Charlebois, and (pro snowboarder) Colin Langois. We ended up being there till 2
a.m., and when Jeffy pulled it, I knew I had a magical shot. Everyone was so
jazzed, but Jeffy had a plane to catch to Japan the next day so we packed it
in.

“Two days later I got a call from Shane telling me Jeffy had died in
Japan. I went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low. This shot is forever
blazed into my mind as the last time I saw Jeffy, and every time I see it, time
stops for an instant.”

Ever pushing his limits, Anderson died doing a trick. Not on a snowboard,
but on his backside. While in Japan for a snowboarding competition, he attempted
to ride the stair railing in a hotel down five flights of stairs. He made it one
flight, lost his balance and fell to his death.

One of the most stunning works in the Art Park is a self-portrait that
Anderson’s brother found on Jeff’s laptop computer after his death. The artist
turned the picture into a shadowy, fractured image in shades of black and gray.
It marks the end of the terrain park.

The Art Park will be up until April 18, the date when Canyon Lodge is set
to close for the season.

 

Marlene Greer is a
La Verne freelance writer. She can be reached at
mmgwrite@aol.com

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