Snowboards, Star Wars, and chainsaws– it seems like I have been waiting my whole life to combine all of those things together into an article title. So what is this nonsense all about? Believe it or not, it isn’t nonsense. If you went snowboarding or skiing at Sierra at Tahoe this winter, then you already know about “The Burton Star Wars Experience.“ For those not in the know, here’s the story: Burton Snowboards had previously partnered with Lucasfilm to create Star Wars themed helmets and snowboards for kids (why we adults were left out of this plan is a debate for another time). Apparently this partnership went well, so they decided to expand upon the idea and put Star Wars art in a ski area terrain park, to make a fun environment for kids. Thus, “The Burton Star Wars Experience” was born. Meri Mace [Windu?], Licensing Director at Lucasfilm, said this about the project to ESPN:

 “The Burton Star Wars Experience at Sierra provides a terrific way to engage kids in physical activity at an early age in a safe and fun atmosphere,” says Meri Mace, licensing director at Lucasfilm. “Burton and Sierra at Tahoe Resort have been great partners and they’ve done a remarkable job using environmentally-friendly methods and materials to create the Riglet Park.”

Burton Star Wars Experience promo

Burton and Sierra at Tahoe even put together a together nice little video about the project:

This is where Bob King, a master chainsaw carving artist from my home state of Washington, enters into the picture. After a layoff  from his job at Boeing, Mr. King turned to his hobby of chainsaw carving to, pardon the pun, carve out an existence for his family.  It turns out that this was a pretty great decision.  These days Mr. King is a pretty big deal on the competitive chainsaw carving circuit, as you can tell from his long list of awards. In fact, he has won more chainsaw carving awards than anyone else in the world.  He has thrived at his craft, and has even managed to put two of his kids through college as a result of his amazing work.  He is paid to travel the world and create chainsaw carving art!

Bob King's Chainsaw Carved Ewoks

Star Wars Anakin carving

Now, I have seen plenty of chainsaw carvings in my lifetime, but nothing that approaches the level of Mr. King’s work. The fact that my first exposure to his art was of his Star Wars characters really sealed the deal. Bob King was commissioned to create the art for “The Burton Star Wars Experience,” and create he did. “The Burton Star Wars Experience” had its official grand opening in February, and it looks awesome! I almost wish that I lived closer to Tahoe. I have included a couple of art images from Bob King’s website in this post, but be sure to check it out for yourself to see more of his work. If there are lessons to take from all of this, I would have to say they are:

Bob King's Chewie carving

-Follow your dreams.

Bob King's R2D2 carving

And…

-Snowboards + Star Wars + Chainsaws = Awesome!