Spotlight on White Hills Resort

There’s a special kind of joy that comes with breathing new life into an old object – giving it a renewed meaning and purpose.

Where one person sees a busted snowboard, another sees a blank canvas. And if you’ve glided down the slopes at White Hills Resort in Clarenville this season, you too might be seeing snowboards in a whole new light.

Inside the resort’s lounge, two bold and bright snowboards, painted by local artists, proudly hang on the wall – not the usual spot for a piece of winter sporting equipment, but a perfect little makeshift gallery to display local talent says Chris Sheppard, Resort Manager at White Hills.

“We have about 100 out-of-commission snowboards from our rental fleet. And instead of throwing them away, I wanted to find uses for them. And one of the concepts I came up with was to give them to some local, young artists who wanted to do graphic art…just whatever they thought was appropriate and cool,” Sheppard says.

With a background in food and food tourism, Sheppard says he’s also helped tourism operators build experiences connecting food, art and culture. For him, he says, this latest project was a “no-brainer.” And people have embraced the concept.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘Have you seen the cool snowboards upstairs?’ Some people have come up specifically to see them…So people are interested. And it’s interesting because it’s a snowboard and someone’s done something with it and turned it into a piece of art versus it just being an old snowboard that really, we were going to throw away,” he says.

Next year, Sheppard and co. hope to make the project bigger and better. His plan is to find more artists to paint more snowboards (giving them creative control) and eventually, have a silent auction, with the funds split between White Hills (a not-for-profit business) and the artists.

“So the idea would be that we would introduce art into the resort and show our patrons what can be done with these leftover snowboards, and what local artists are doing and show off some of their talent, as well as be able to make our space more interesting,” he says.

“We want to reach out and make it provincial and sort of put out a call to artists…we would probably have to limit the number we can accept, if we get that big of a response. But the more the merrier…I think it’s part of building a bridge and building community between the artist and tourism and sport – just provincially, bringing us all together.”