Hal Shelton’s work for U.S. Geological Survey and Jeppeson Co. in the mid 1900s resulted in numerous innovative and highly realistic works, predominantly in terrain representation. His hand drawn and painted maps depicted relief as detailed satellite images before the technology allowed them to be digitally produced.
Much of his work was in the creation of planimetric terrain but here, Shelton took a landscape panorama approach to mapping the Rocky Mountains in Colorado as a way to showcase and advertise the location of the numerous ski resorts. The work is highly detailed and applies a natural-colour style palette to give the appearance of a birds-eye representation. The map is oriented so the viewer sees across the plain (Denver in the lower left) and across the front range that adds to the sense of drama of the mountains and what lies beyond. The brownish plains give way to green foothills and finally the white snow-covered terrain. Labels are added unobtrusively just for the ski areas.