TELLURIDE – To create a one-of-a-kind signature centerpiece for the Telluride region’s annual holiday season celebration Telluride Holiday Prelude, organizers are asking for old, used skis to build the Telluride Ski Tree.
This year’s Telluride Holiday Prelude takes place from Dec. 4-15, and features a host of events including Noel Night, a Fire and Ice Skating Party and Mountain Village Winter Fest to name a few. It features the lighting of the Telluride Ski Tree on Dec. 6, which will become the centerpiece of Telluride’s holiday season. To make the Telluride Ski Tree a reality, old skis are still needed.
“I think we’ve gotten more than 100 skis so far but the more skis we have, the better,” Holiday Prelude organizing committee member Ted Wilson says. “We really want to make it a truly cool piece of art for the holidays.”
Local metal artist Anton Viditz-Ward is creating the Telluride Ski Tree, which will be on display in Elks Park during this and future holiday season. The 12- to 15-foot tree made of skis will be decorated with lights, complete with a ski pole starburst on top. Skis of all sizes and ages are acceptable for the tree; even broken and single skis will do. Many of the skis donated for the project will be cut to create branches and natural tapering of the tree. Old aluminum ski poles, which can be cut, are also needed.
“We are shooting for 300 skis, but that is just an estimate,” organizing committee member Daiva Chesonis says. “This has never been done so we don’t know, he is going to build it off of what feels right.”
Once built, the Telluride Ski Tree will be placed in Elks Park and the tree lighting celebration on Dec. 6 will come with a ceremonial ski burn “led” by the Norse winter god Ullr.
Wilson says the Telluride Ski Tree offers a way for the region to celebrate its identity in a unique way during the holidays similar to the lobster trap trees found in Maine.
“We really want to create a signature piece for the holidays,” Wilson says. “Something that says, ‘Merry Christmas’ – but ‘Merry Christmas in Telluride.’ It’s basically inspired by the lobster trap trees in New England, where you take an object that identifies a community and turn it into something festive.”
With an expected height of 12-15-feet, the ski tree will start a tradition, organizers hope, symbolizing the Telluride Holiday Prelude and the town’s festive holiday spirit. Wilson adds that Viditz-Ward is just the artist to create such a symbol.
“He is so well know for building unique objects of art,” Wilson says. “Everyone was blown away with the stuff he’s built for Burning Man. He has a real talent for building big and impressive pieces.”
Skis can be dropped off any time at two locations: Underneath the deck behind Between the Covers Bookstore (224 W. Colorado Ave.) and in front of Customs House (135 W. Pacific Ave.). Donors may personalize the front portion of the top ski, but there are no guarantees where skis will end up on the tree.
For more information on the events scheduled for this year’s Telluride Holiday Prelude, visit holidayprelude.com.