- January 18, 2018
- Grist Real Estate
- 2 Comments
Snowshoe Resort is approximately 70 miles north of Lewisburg. If you have ever visited Snowshoe, you are most likely familiar with the large blue adirondack chair that graces the heart of Snowshoe Village. The chair was a labor of love by its creator, Thomas D. Cardis. Thomas grew up in Lewisburg. From a young age Thomas loved to build, especially anything involving his childhood passion – trains. Over the years he built model train sets in varying scales where every detail was meticulously thought out. Math was a strong talent of his and he embraced it with such enthusiasm you could almost see above his head the formulas he was calculating. Though he still maintained a zealousness for trains, he expanded his wheelhouse over the years to include model scale homes and, eventually, building adirondack chairs.
Thomas originally began building the chairs when he lived in Colorado in the late 1990s. While working on construction sites, he would gather scraps to build with and sell the chairs at local flea markets. He would offer free lemonade to those that sat in the chairs and gave their feedback on their design and comfort. Ease of use in design was important for Thomas and he went through a number of designs to make them so. Adirondack chairs feature a contoured seat and wide armrests. Since they are usually made of wood, comfort and fit are key. Thomas could take an individual’s measurements and build a chair to suit their specific body type to where the angle of the seat and the height of the armrests hit that person perfectly for an ideal resting experience. His business started taking off and in 1999 he started TC Creations.
Along with building, another one of Thomas’ passions was snowboarding. He spent most winters riding the slopes of Snowshoe and Silvercreek exploring terrain and pushing himself physically and mentally to test his own capabilities. An accident in the winter of 1995 put a halt to his winter playtime when he fractured his tibia and fibula when he hit a tree while snowboarding. Never one to stay idle, he took this down time to start building more and brought to fruition his dream of building furniture. Still, Thomas maintained close ties to Snowshoe. Word was getting around about his grand chairs and eventually piqued the interest of Snowshoe operations. They had seen his chairs in the area at Camp Four and Pocohontas Supply. They asked him to create a giant chair that would be a landmark at the resort. His deadline for the chair was the first day of the 2006 season. They sent him specific instructions for the logo and the exact Pantone color he had to use – a cerulean BLUE.
Thomas suffered from epilepsy. At the time Snowshoe commissioned him to create the chair, his seizures were occurring more frequently. Building the chair made him ecstatic and helped to take his mind off of his condition. He was thrilled to combine two of the things he loved most in the world – building chairs and Snowshoe. The project gave his work even more exposure at the resort and surrounding areas and he was busier than ever before. In order to meet the deadline, Thomas had to work quickly. He sandblasted and hand-carved the logo in the wood. During communications with the resort, Thomas expressed that the chair would be more visually appealing in green. Snowshoe did not impede that desire. Finally the chair was finished. All he needed was to transport the chair to the resort to get it to them by opening day. At that time Thomas was living in Shepherdstown, WV. Because his impairment prohibited him from driving, family and friends helped him take pieces of the chair down to Lewisburg. They reassembled it at his parent’s house and another friend was able to load it in a truck and help Thomas transport the chair to its final destination.
Eventually, the chair was painted blue when it needed a new paint job, but it still retains its character and recognition. Sadly, Thomas passed away in 2012. His legacy lives on in so many people, places, and things, including that special chair. The next time you visit Snowshoe, keep an eye out for the #bigbluechair. From it, you can picture Thomas’ smile as he sees people enjoying his hard work and knowing he is forever connected to one of the places he called home.
**A BIG Thank You to Gwen Kilroy for her photos, help, and love to help create this post.