Snow Artist Fashions Spectacular Designs

Snowshoes, Compass Are Snow Artist’s Only Tools

British landscape artist Simon Beck doesn’t use a typical canvas. Instead, he works with an unusual medium to create truly massive artwork… simply by walking.

sbBeck is a snow artist. He creates art with nothing but an expedition compass and a pair of snowshoes. He spends days snowshoeing through flat valleys to create spectacular aerial artwork that can be seen from higher peaks, ski resort lifts, and aircraft.

And he’s been doing it for more than 10 years. Overall, he’s completed more than 150 “snow drawings,” as he calls them. (He’s recently expanded his work to include sand drawings as well.)

In It for the Long Haul

Beck will work on a project for 9-12 hours at a time, until it is complete. He often must stop due to exhaustion, since he covers an average of 1.3 hectares (about 3.25 acres) in a 12-hour period. Beck estimates that he’s walked more than 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) to complete some pieces.


All this for masterpieces that will only last until the next heavy snowfall.

His inspiration? Beck started creating his artwork after experiencing serious trouble with his feet, while working as an orienteering cartographer. “I realized that it would probably be better to do something a bit easier than orienteering, and do something less painful,” he says.

That’s when snow drawing went from an occasional hobby to his primary form of exercise during the winter months at the French Les Arcs Ski Resort.


How About You?

During our cold winters here in Jackson, perhaps you’d like to try your hand at one of these!

Here are the steps that Beck follows when creating his work:

  1. Plan out the pattern on graph paper.
  2. Measure out your lines. Create the primary lines out from the center of the piece first, depending on where the major points of the design should be. This is the base skeleton to work out from.Simon3
  3. From the center, calculate the distance to the other points and walk out and back from the center to the other points, using either pace counting or a measuring tape to determine the number of steps you need to take.
  4. Add the secondary lines. Beck will walk the lines at least three times to increase the visibility of the work from the air.
  5. Fill in shaded areas to complete the pattern. Go back over any areas that need additional depth and weight. This helps to create a third dimension to the snow drawings when seen from above.

Watch and Learn

Still not sure? Watch and learn from the master:




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