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Fine early Ski Area Trail Map of Alta, Utah, drawn by Hal Shelton.

Shelton is credited as one of the inventors of the modern ski area trail map. An avid skier and trained cartographer, Shelton pioneered the use of the shaded relief map in depicting ski trails.

Shelton earned a degree in Scientific Illustration from Pomona College, before joining the US Geological Survey during World War II. After the War, he settled in Golden, Colorado. Shelton has been referred to a "cartographic populist . . .[who] thought existing map symbology was too abstract for general audiences, so he began experimenting with natural-color maps [indicating] topography with subtle terrain shading."

Shelton produced maps for airlines, classrooms and textbooks, before being discovered by the ski industry. Ultimately, he would produce the first "modern" trail maps for Alta, Jackson Hole, Aspen, Mammoth Mountain, Winter Park, Sun Valley, Purgatory, Waterville Valley and many others. One of his most famous works is an imaginary view of all of the Colorado Mountains and ski areas from 100,000 feet above Denver.