The Art of Being Outdoors: Inside Volkswagen + PSIA-AASI’s Perfect Partnership

Official PSIA-AASI Automotive Partner Volkswagen continues to work hard to celebrate and strengthen its partnership with the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI). Entering the second year of an especially symbiotic relationship between the two outdoor-minded entities, Volkswagen has expanded the models within the PSIA-AASI fleet of 12 vehicles, consisting not only of the Golf Alltrack, but also the new 2018 SUV lineup that includes the 7-seater Atlas and all-new Tiguan. 

For the 2017-18 season, Volkswagen’s new SUV lineup is available at member-specific pricing, along with all previously available models. The 2018 Golf Alltrack, 2018 Tiguan, and 2018 Atlas all have available features like 4MOTION® all-wheel drive and Hill Descent Control, which can help keep people safe on their way to and from the mountain. Log in to your Pro Offers account here, then click on the VW logo to access your member offer. You can also get more information about all the specific ski- and snowboard-friendly features of the 2018 Golf Alltrack, 2018 Tiguan, and 2018 Atlas there. And be sure to check out this video playlist that celebrates PSIA-AASI's exciting partnership with VW.

According to Greg Tebbutt, Senior Director of Marketing Transformation, Strategy and Communications at Volkswagen of America, Volkswagen and PSIA-AASI share a common passion for being outdoors in the winter, as “the VW brand and snowsports enthusiasts share a sense of exploration, free-spiritedness, and deftness that goes beyond the cars we make or the mountains they ride.”

Said PSIA-AASI CEO Nicholas Herrin, “VW has been a great supporter of PSIA-AASI this past year, providing our division staff and event teams access to the mountains in various types of weather. This collaboration gives our teams an invaluable measure of confidence that they’ll arrive at their destination. The new, expanded lineup allows us to infuse fun to drive into an otherwise rugged-only domain.”

To show off the partnership, Volkswagen collaborated with Mimi Kvinge, a well-known Pacific Northwest skier/artist, for a second year in a row to create new custom car wraps for the Golf Alltrack, Atlas and Tiguan. These vehicles will be stationed around the country at various ski resorts throughout the winter season. caught up with the artist to discuss how she gets inspiration from skiing and the mountains. Also, listen to this First Chair podcast featuring an interview with Mimi.

What is your creative process?
My creative process is to try not to think about my creative process too hard. My workflow changes a lot based on the stages of my life, but it is always very organic and free-flowing. I get a lot of my ideas for paintings and drawings from my experiences as a skier and a hiker. It is not uncommon for me to carry a 25-pound painting bag and giant canvas miles into the woods just to find an inspiring location to work. People who purchase originals probably don't realize that their painting has traveled many miles and seen many things before it ever reaches them. I also discover a lot of my color combos from images that appear to me just as I am just waking up in the morning. I've found the subconscious to be a powerful tool for working through creative problems.

What is your connection to the mountain lifestyle?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, skiing and playing outside. I was never an inside kid or into technology, which has carried over into my adulthood. Growing up, we also did a lot of reading and drawing as a family, which gave me a strong imaginative foundation. As an adult, skiing and hiking have been my escapes. The most beautiful things I have ever experienced in my life have all occurred while being outside. Sometimes these moments were simply an interaction with the natural world around me and sometimes they were due to a powerful connection that I had with another person while being outdoors. I think being in nature strips us down to our more natural and honest selves, which fosters not only personal growth, but also interpersonal closeness that is hard to replicate in normal urban life.

What were the unique aspects of this project?
So much of my work is directly related to the outdoor industry, so getting to design a wrap for a Volkswagen was a really unique and amazing experience – a small peek into a different world. As an artist, I love the juxtaposition of taking something soft and handmade, like a painting on canvas, and translating it onto a powerful and technical vehicle like a Volkswagen. Through this project not only are we showcasing the car as a literal vehicle, but also as canvas for art that further connects it to its environment.

How has this project inspired you?
This project is a great example of how art is everywhere. We often think of art as being only represented in paintings or sculpture, but, truly, creativity is the backbone of evolution for us as a species, and the automobile industry and technology in general is a great example of that. It was really fun to watch my team who deals in shapes and colors brainstorm with the Deutsch team regarding how best to create and present this project. While our mediums are different, the creative process was the same. I think we are all really pleased with the outcome.

Why do you feel VW is such a good fit with ski and snowboard instructors?
As a skier or snowboarder, the main things you need in a vehicle are durability and reliability. Unfortunately, the biggest barrier for many people learning to ski or snowboard is an issue of access. If you do not have a vehicle that can handle in the mountains, you will never be able to practice your sport. For this reason, I think VW is a perfect fit for ski and snowboard instructors. I am happy to know that they are able to do their jobs safely and comfortably.

Check out the 2018 Volkswagen models on the Pro Offers page right now!

See additional videos from PSIA-AASI and Volkswagen here.

- Peter Kray


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