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Breathe new life into old gear

Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today
Reflections of Steamboat is just one of the many pieces currently on display at the Depot Arts Center as part of the Winter Tracks art show.
John F. Russell

If you go:

What: Ski repurposing workshop

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 E. 13th St.

Who: Age 15 and older (liability waiver required)

Register: steamboatarts.org/workshops

More information: 970-879-9008

— As thrilling as it is to bring home shiny, new gear, the retirement of a beloved board or pair of skis that’s faithfully carried you up and down countless mountains through countless winters is at least a tad tragic.

A pole snapped completely in half is a wobegon trophy, but a trophy nonetheless; a single ski, whose partner has been lost forever in endless waist-deep powder, represents its owner’s rugged determination for pre-dawn first tracks — in each plastic scar lives a memory to laugh or groan about.

Luckily, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council is offering a fun, practical and eco-friendly ending to the ski gear life cycle. The council’s first-ever ski repurposing workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

“We’re offering something completely different,” said the Arts Council’s Sarah May. “The workshop is a fun way to recycle something that you probably put a lot of money into, and that’s why it’s still sitting in your garage or closet. This workshop is a way to give it a new life.”

What items may gear be repurposed into? No out-of-bounds areas exist.

Upcycled snowsport gear classics include the ski coat rack, the snowboard bench, and, of course, the shot ski. But with May around to help, few project are too ambitious.

May is the Arts Council’s newest member, coming off working at Washington’s Walla Walla Foundry, an internationally known contemporary bronze-casting facility. May’s background is mainly in sculpture; her time the facility was spent as an artist consultant and fabricator, building monuments and sculptures for the international stage.

Maybe an Adirondack chair will be born on Saturday. Perhaps a coffee table or a picture frame. Perchance, a wine rack, a chandelier or an invention that has yet to be invented.

The workshop will provide basic power tools, including a circular saw, an angle grinder and a power drill, as well as close supervision by May and safety equipment. Other supplies, including cutting blades, sandpaper, screws, painting supplies and a limited selection of skis and boards donated by Colorado Mountain College, will be available to participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants should bring gear they want to repurpose, as well as any specific pieces they will need, such as ski poles or hooks. Participants may also bring their own personal power tools.

Workshop registration is available at steamboatarts.org/workshops. The class costs $45, and a liability waiver is required.

The repurposing workshop is held in conjunction with the Depot’s new show, called Winter Tracks, which will be open through Feb. 27. The exhibition features Rebeccah Bailey’s mirror mosaic-studded snowboard and other embellished snow gear works in the main gallery.

For those who don’t attend the repurposing workshop this time around, don’t sweat it. May looks forward to hosting additional workshops that appeal to a wide range of interests, including the more technical arts, in the future.

And no matter what size posthole pit your boots leave in the powder, you can decrease the size of your snowsports gear environmental footprint in other ways as well.

For equipment you aren’t using any longer, local thrift shops and Twin Enviro Services accept gear donations. The Depot Arts Center will also accept equipment donated for use in Saturday’s workshop.


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