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A Guide to Ski Country's Most Iconic Public Art Installations

Art is everywhere in the mountains, whether in nature's abundant wildflowers or the gorgeous sunsets that grace ski towns everywhere. But from Aspen to Sun Valley, the human-created art scene is just as impressive. And while there are plenty of art festivals and gatherings throughout the year, some of ski country's best art is free. From dragons to statues of iconic pioneers in the ski industry, we've rounded-up 10 of the best public art installations on view right now in the high country.

The Friedl Pfeifer Statue and Plaque, Aspen, Colorado: Every alpine town has a statue dedicated to an iconic ski pioneer, but none is as famous as the Friedl Pfeifer in Aspen. A native of St. Anton, Austria and a member of the 10th Mountain Division, Pfeifer helped to found Aspen Ski Corporation. The sculpture by Sam Fadhli sits in the Gondola Square at the base of Aspen Mountain.

Aspen Gateway in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Jackson has a plethora of public art, but one of our favorites is "Aspen Gateway," at the public entrance to the National Museum of Wildlife Art's Sculpture Trail. Created by Don Rambadt, the piece "presents the viewer with a stylized view of an Aspen grove, rendered in mirror-polished stainless steel mounted on a contrasting black background. The reflective steel allows the piece to change dramatically with the surrounding landscape, throughout the day and seasons."

Antler Arches, Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Part public art installation, part iconic tourist destination, the Antler Arches in downtown Jackson have become synonymous with the town. The first antler arch was built in 1953 and by 1969 all four were in place. Now, the Rotary Club maintains the arches.

Banksy Street Art in Park City, Utah: In 2010, Banksy, the uber-famous UK street artist known for his graffiti drawings, graced Park City Main Street with two pieces while he attended the Sundance Film Festival for the release of a documentary he directed. Although they were damaged by a vandal in 2014, the Banksy pieces are an example of urban art colliding with ski town charm.

The Village Ascent Sculture in Whistler Blackcomb: In 1996, the Resort Municipality of Whistler created the Whistler Public Art Program to support the cultivation of the arts. While there is plenty of art to be had throughout Whistler Village and Whistler Creek, one of our favorites is the Village Ascent sculpture by Oliver Harwood. The sculpture aims to capture the spirit of the outdoors and Whistler's epic mountain biking. It's located by Fitzsimmons Creek Valley Trail at Nancy Greene Road.

Orion in Sun Valley, Idaho: Downtown Ketchum has a thriving art scene and one of our favorite Idaho artists is self-taught metal sculptor Jacob Novinger. Orion was just installed in Ketchum and will be in town until October for Sun Valley's Annual Art on Forth.

Sunspots in Sun Valley, Idaho: Sun Valley even knows how to make utility boxes pretty. This vinyl wrap sponsored by the city of Ketchum and created by Lisa Flowers Ross brings a bright pop of color to town.

Dragon and Knight, Crested Butte, Colorado: Dragons may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine Crested Butte, Colorado, but this dragon and knight sculpture by Sean Guerrero gets plenty of attention in town. The statues are made from three tons of recycled chrome taken from late-model automobiles and other recycled objects like discarded appliances and light bulbs. They can be found at 719 5th Street on the east side of State Route 135 in a park by the Art Center in the city of Crested Butte, Colorado between 6th and 7th streets at Red Lady Avenue.

The West Branch Galley & Sculpture Park in Stowe, Vermont: Per its website, the "West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park is an indoor/outdoor art space committed to promoting exceptional contemporary art in varied media by emerging and mid-career artists." We love strolling the peaceful outdoor space and seeing works by artists like Joseph Fichter.

10th Mountain Division Monument in Vail, Colorado: You can't walk 10 steps in Vail without viewing some sort of public art, from fountains to playgrounds designed as bird nests. But nothing is quite as iconic as the 10th Mountain Division Monument. The 13-foot-tall bronze set just to the right of Vail's covered pedestrian bridge honors the ski soldiers who trained at nearby Camp Hale for duty in World War II.

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