Nathan's winning art submission (left) and Nathan (right). Photo: Courtesy

TETON VILLAGE, Wyo. — Depending on the season, 12-year-old Nathan Mortenson can be found skiing on the weekends at Targhee, sending it downhill on his mountain bike, or as he is right now, in the car, headed to a hockey tournament.

He’s your quintessential Teton Valley kid, immersed in just about every mountain activity one could think of, always with a couple of friends in tow.

But something that sets Mortenson apart from the rest of the flock is his art. And on Wednesday, one of his original designs was selected to be displayed on Breezy Johnson’s race helmet as she competes in the upcoming Olympic games.

Mortenson’s piece was one of around 160 submissions in a contest put on by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). Earlier in the week, the resort had narrowed the contest down to four designs. Individuals then cast their votes on Instagram and by Wednesday evening JHMR had its winner.

When it came to submitting a design for Breezy’s helmet, Mortenson was actually trying out some new styles. With plenty of downtime during the holiday break, he started his design and then worked on it until the time of submission.

“I experimented through a lot of art styles and this one just clicked with me,” Mortenson said. “Basically, I did an art piece before this one and I really liked that style. I thought I might as well do something like that and it happened to be the winning piece.”

According to Mortenson’s mother, it was ironically Nathan’s goal in the New Year to create more art. He sure is off to a good start.

Mortenson dove into art after being encouraged to take on art assignments at school, where he started to draw and learn other mediums from his teachers.

“Every year we had an art show, which was super fun and that gave me a leg up to doing art, on top of my parents being very encouraging of me,” Mortenson said.

The Mortenson Family: Nathan, his dog, and proud parents Kristin and Duane. Photo: Courtesy

His parents, Kristin and Duane Mortenson are always excited to see Nathan at the drawing table and grateful to those who helped lead the way for their son.

“It is because he was a student at the Learning Academy of Teton Valley that he was able to focus on this kind of work,” said Mortenson’s mother. “Also his days of camp and private instruction and school visits to Teton Arts have helped develop his creative mind and skill.”

“We think it’s really great because he can come home from school and he just sits down [to do art],” said Mortenson’s father. “Even if it’s for three minutes or ten minutes and he’s drawing something, it’s better than video games.”

When Nathan is in the zone, he listens to audiobooks. His favorite? Harry Potter.

But when he’s not, he can be found somewhere in the mountains with his friends.

“My friends and I do quite a bit of skiing. Aside from doing art, every weekend that I don’t have hockey I’m skiing. In the summer my friends and I are big bikers and we do a lot of [mountain] biking. Sports are a huge hobby.”

Mortenson is also on the Teton Valley Composite Mountain Biking Team and participates in the TVSEF Free Ride program at Targhee.

Check out more of Nathan’s art on his Instagram @nathanmortenson_art.

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Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.