The first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.
— Chuck Palahniuk, American novelist and journalist

My open letter to Marshall Birnbaum, Art Director at Summit Powder Mountain, and all of those in the community he represents:

Call it what you want, but I want change. Okay, it may be balance more than change that I seek; however, I, at least, want to taste change and know about its sweet, freedom-inducing vigor and life-altering aroma.

At 42, I’m not looking for greener grasses. I’ve been undoubtedly lucky thus far and, frankly, I am in a comfortable position where any drastic change may cause more peril than benefit. A strong appetite for risk is not really offered on my menu. My wife and two sons, decades of hard work, an MBA, and the danger of sleepless nights simply aren’t worth exposure to jeopardy.

So, while stupid may be too strong of an adjective, maybe I am naive enough to think I can have it all. Why not believe it is possible with heavy doses of dedication and happenstance? Why not think that I can make that happen?

You see, as any reasonable parent would think, I want to teach my kids to dream, share, make a difference, and follow their heart. They should understand what it means to create and contribute, for those are, respectively, our gift and obligation. They need to see what it is like to be human, be real. They need to lead by example. They need to feel what it is like being part of a community, a body with far more strength and potential than on their own, a body stronger with their inclusion. Essentially, I hope they learn from their father trying to do the same.

I desire a break, a pause to recharge and concentrate on those things I love to do, not what I seemingly have to do. I desire a break from the bored room table where talking heads sit and listen to themselves pontificate over things they think are important, only to receive blank stares from open laptop owners waiting for their turn to voice idle points. I desire a break from an environment where decentralization encourages multi-partisanship and lack of unified direction. I desire a break from an environment where creativity is spurned for status quo and idea cultivation never even makes it to the door. Frankly, I desire time and space to breathe, focus, and be. I desire an atmosphere that allows one to turn loose and let caged birds sing. I desire the elixir of mountain air and the spirit of community, stripped down and unfiltered.

I desire the Summit.


As an avid east coast skier wishing I was out west, I’ve known about the allure of Powder Mountain for a while. Needless to say, I shared equal intrigue and confusion upon the recent purchase. However, the more I learned about the mission, goals, and, dare I say, ethos surrounding the entire concept, it began to make sense. What didn’t sink in, though, was how I could contribute. Then, I learned of the Artist-in-residence program and it all became clear.

While I can’t profess to having an established and entrenched artistic CV, I hope I have something stronger and more compelling: I have a fighting spirit to practice, learn, share, and engage in an activity so completely outside of my societal mold. I’m just a normal guy who loves to paint the landscape and share that vision and ability with others who can appreciate things a little differently.

So, what do you say about giving a guy a chance to experience Powder Mountain and the Summit like never before? Please help me make that change.

Respectfully submitted and with eager anticipation,

Scott Dwyer