Tyra Collombin

Racer ready? 3. 2. 1. Go!

I kick out of the start gate, propelling my entire body forward, leaving my legs behind to strike the timing wand at the last possible moment. My greatest competitor is the clock.

With art, time is an asset. Every new layer of paint gradually illuminates new definitions of my piece, taking shape over a period of time. These two seemingly opposite passions have allowed me to remain balanced. As my passion for skiing came from my dad, I have also always been inspired by my mom’s artistic abilities. Growing up skiing in Fernie and in the Kootenays I have been surrounded by some of the most stunning landscapes in the world; the central inspirations of my artwork. Having the opportunity to travel around the world for ski racing has allowed me to express where I am from and my experiences through art.

Art, you can say, is my way of getting “unplugged” from competitive sport and the stress and focus that comes with it. I have always been drawing and painting, and as a kid one of my teachers encouraged me to explore different types of art and to create a portfolio. Expressing myself with visual media has always been my favourite tool of communication, over reading or writing, so I decided to see where it would take me.

Fernie is so full of creative people and beautiful vistas. Many of the paintings are inspired by places here, like Cedar Bowl, the Head Wall, my latest mountain bike ride or the animals that often visit our back yard.

Unfortunately the sport I love and the subsequent travel is a large financial cost. In order to continue in my passion for ski racing and compete at such a high level, I have found a way to use my other passion, art. It not only allows me to achieve a sense of balance, but helps me financially on top of the considerable generosity of my parents and supporters. Because I understand the demands of amateur sport, I have been paying it forward by donating 5% of proceeds from my artwork to fellow athletes. I also collect bottles from the community in order to reduce my ecological footprint and promote recycling. These commitments have both allowed me to give back to the community of Fernie, which has always supported me.

Racing on the Fernie Alpine Ski Team gave me the starting platform from which I continued to race in Western Canada for three years of FIS. I have now moved to Sweden and am attending Tärnaby Skidhem to further my dreams of eventually competing with the best in the world. I am back in Fernie for part of the summer where I am focusing on my art and dry-land training. I always have a pad of paper with me so I can draw wherever I am, as you never know what can inspire you to create your next painting.

I am very lucky to be part of the Fernie Arts Co-op and excited to be one of the artists selected for this year’s banner project.

Fernie will always be “home base” as there is nothing like enjoying a my favourite powder run on the ski hill, followed by a Big Bang bagel. Hike to Castle Rock, bike the Lazy Lizard and go cliff jumping at Silver Springs with my friends. Fernie to me is where the family gathers and memories are made, and it’s one of my favourite places to just sit and paint.

My artwork can be found at Big Bang Bagels, the Fernie Arts Co-op, Fernie Alpine Resort, The Fernie Mountain Market, Silver Tree Studios in Canmore, All About Canada in Banff, On a Lark in Okotoks and online at Artbytyra.com.