Snowmass ski pros create safety-based coloring book
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Two Snowmass ski pros are hoping their coloring book based on the skier responsibility code will appeal both to kids and to ski area operators.
Cartoonist Jeff Teaford, who has taught kids how to ski for the past seven years at the Snowmass Ski Area, has developed a coloring book featuring the adventures of Loren and Lloyd, a young snowboarder and skier.
“It doesn’t always show what to do,” said Teaford. “Sometimes it is a pictorial of what not to do.”
One scene in the eight-page coloring book shows the two helmeted kids jumping off a knoll and about to land on an alarmed bear, who is standing on skis in a place not easily visible from above.
The text asks kids to pick out the “no-nos” in the picture that correspond to safe skiing, such as jumping blindly and stopping in a hidden place.
Teaford, along with his business partner Pauly Anderson, hopes to sell the coloring books to ski schools as a fun way to help youngsters grasp the basics of the responsibility code.
“It would be part of your first lesson,” Teaford said, adding that kids ages 3 to 6 frequently spend time inside during a lesson and could color the book throughout the day.
And as more ski areas focus on safety messages, there may be a growing market for the coloring books.
“There are lots of opportunities in promoting safety messages,” said Tim White, director of education for the National Ski Areas Association, which has 330 member ski areas. “Safety is a high priority, and we feel it will continue to be.”
NSAA is currently working with another cartoonist from North Pole Design who also has a safety coloring book out on the market. And NSAA has also been a supporter of the Snowmonsters program, which teaches kids a variety of safety lessons using large, furry mascots.
Teaford was inspired to start working on a skiing cartoon character in 1998, when former Vail owner George Gillett told an industry conference that he thought a cartoon character would be good for the ski industry.
Teaford took Gillett up on the challenge and decided that young kids could best relate to young kids, not big, fuzzy animals.
“We saw a need for the human element to be injected back into it,” he said.
Teaford’s other work may be familiar to many in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Aspen Times ran his “Reddy Eddy” cartoon strip from 1997 to 1999. And last year, Teaford worked with Basalt architect Glenn Rappaport on the design of the new Powder Pandas ski school building at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. The building features red cartoon-style windows and large cartoon characters drawn by Teaford on the outside walls.
Recently, Teaford has formed a company called “Toon Werks” with Anderson, who is a nine-year veteran and a supervisor at the snowboard school at Snowmass.
Anderson is busy marketing the coloring book as well as other services, such as developing kids’ trail maps, putting cartoon signage on children’s trails and helping make on-mountain buildings more cartoonish.
So far, the duo has not yet made a sale, but they say the Beaver Creek ski area is poised to order thousands of their coloring books at a price of about 49 cents each.
“If they are going to do anything like this, we feel pretty good that they are going to use us,” Teaford said.
The Aspen Skiing Co. has looked at the pair’s coloring book, Teaford said, but so far has not made a commitment as they are weighing a number of other safety programs.
“They’ve been absolutely bombarded,” Teaford said.
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