Aspen Snowmass is no stranger to arts and culture. They are deeply embedded in our roots, history and the founding of "The Aspen Idea." The towns of Aspen and Snowmass feature sophisticated galleries, an impressive contemporary art museum, working artisan centers and tons of artists and art collectors who live in and visit the area.

For the past 16 years, anyone who rides the lifts here has become a collector as well. “At Aspen Snowmass, the lift tickets in our pockets are pieces of world-class art, designed to build connections and create new perspectives,” explains Erin Sprague, Aspen Snowmass’ chief brand officer. “This year’s art by FriendsWithYou (FWY) is an example of how art lifts us up when we need it most. Much like skiing, the lift ticket art and surrounding activations inspire joy, wonder, and a sense of possibility.”
FriendsWithYou Lift Tickets at Aspen Snowmass
FriendsWithYou Lift Tickets at Aspen Snowmass

FriendsWithYou Lift Tickets at Aspen Snowmass
FriendsWithYou Lift Tickets at Aspen Snowmass

Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, who make up the collaborative FriendsWithYou, designed four different colorful, pop art designs for the 2020-2021 ski season. Borkson and Sandoval met at an arts magnet school in Miami (Pharrell Williams was a classmate) and started making art as a team in 2002. Their work takes weather elements like clouds, the sun, rain, and rainbows and reimagines them as playful iconography. The goal is to send positive and peaceful messages to large audiences, connecting people in the process. With over 135,000 Instagram followers (@friendswithyou), it seems they’re on to something. Their motto? “Magic, luck, and friendship.”

Sandoval’s mother lives at Aspen Highlands. And he has been coming to town for more than 15 years. Borkson’s very first trip was in December 2020 for the installation. Aspen Skiing Company art consultant Peter Dorshenko tapped the artists for the project in December 2019. “I found them in Miami, where they did an installation. When I engaged them, it was all about ideas,” Dorshenko recalls. “Then the pandemic happened — and their work was a ray of light in the darkness. Their work has always been about people dropping egos and dropping barriers.”
Orbs - Friendswithyou at Snowmass Base Village
Orbs - Friendswithyou at Snowmass Base Village

Orbs - Friendswithyou at Snowmass Base Village
Orbs - Friendswithyou at Snowmass Base Village

Those themes became exceedingly relevant amid 2020’s social-justice awakening. “FriendsWithYou ties into the social ills going on and the pandemic. Their work has always been about love and peace and everyone as equals. A five-year-old will understand it just as much as an 86-year-old does. We are fortunate they address multiple issues and concerns that are constantly happening in our society.”

Public art experiences by the duo will take place on the slopes and throughout town. Snowmass visitors should look for “The Dance” performances at the Snowmass Base Village skating rink. These friendly dancing characters will be hard to miss: round, bouncy, smiling Orbs made of plush material—one is bubble gum pink and the other baby blue—wheeling themselves around the rink for a choreographed dance routine.
FriendsWithYou Cloud at Aspen Snowmass
FriendsWithYou Cloud at Aspen Snowmass

FWY’s “Little Cloud” icon will decorate the top of the gondola station, illuminating Aspen Mountain’s Gondola Plaza when the sun goes down. Made expressly for Aspen Snowmass, this three-dimensional lightbox is smaller version of the Little Cloud seen at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2018. “Little Cloud is a symbol that celebrates the relationship between human and nature,” the artists explain. “We created the Little Cloud Light as a symbol of hope and peace to be a beacon of love and compassion. Skiing and enjoying nature go hand and hand. With our cloud concept, we highlight nature and the beautiful landscape.” The piece will be on display for a year.
FriendsWithYou imagery will pop up in other formats on the mountain and around town, from limited edition skis to ‘Make a Friend’ sticker packs. FWY even has an exclusive line of Guess clothing. Merchandise is on sale at Four Mountain Sports, the Aspen Store and online. Limited-edition Lucky coins will be available at The Little Nell boutique. FWY have created this ‘Lucky Coin’ to endow its owner with the power of light, love, & magic – the embodiment of the FWY work and purpose.
Wherever you encounter the work — and remember, if you’re skiing with us it’s on your lift ticket — FWY is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. And the world could surely use a little more of that.

About the Author

Lea Tucker
Lea Tucker

LEA TUCKER

Prior to launching her own creative firm, Lea Tucker earned her chops managing international public relations for the Aspen Skiing Company for 9 years. When she’s not building creative communication campaigns for her clients, Lea can be found playing in the great outdoors: skiing, hiking, camping and en plein air watercolor painting. Lea also dabbles as a wildflower identifier, gourmet-backpacking chef, beachcomber, reader and writer.

You Might Also Like