Winter has finally arrived in New Hampshire. We’re expecting about a foot of snow here in the Monadnock region by the time the storm ends Thursday evening. There hasn’t been a single opportunity for snowshoeing this year, which I’ve missed.

Snowshoeing has been on my mind…This week I noticed these snow photographs popping up again and again on Facebook, Inhabitat, and other sites. Curious about their original source, I did a little digging and discovered the official Facebook page of Simon Beck, an artist who creates these incredible designs by walking in the snow with snowshoes.

The Oxford-educated, self-employed map maker creates these designs on the frozen lakes in the valley of Savoie, France, just outside of the ski slopes at Les Arcs resort. An average work is the size of three soccer fields and takes about two days to complete.

The biggest challenge for Beck (besides getting overly tired) is finding a way to reduce the visibility of his own tracks when he begins and finishes a piece. Sometimes, he might work all day only to have his design covered by fresh snow overnight. At other times, he finishes a design right at sunset and doesn’t have enough light remaining to photograph his work properly. But the inability to predict the outcome is part of the fun.

 

 

 

Snow Artist Simon Beck (Photo courtesy Now That's Nifty)

 

 

 

 

 

I love the simplicity of Beck’s method, and the impermanence of each piece. Personally, I’m partial to Beck’s simpler designs that rely more on line and texture for their effect. A number of the designs are reminiscent of crop circles and other patterns from ancient art.

All of the photographs I’ve seen flying around the web are from Beck’s official Facebook page, which is where he posts his latest work for the public to peruse. There are also a large number of beautiful pieces Beck made between 2009 and 2011 in this photo album on the artist’s personal page. You WON’T find these images anywhere else, and many of my favorite images can be found there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Beck's Snow Art (Photo courtesy Inhabitat)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The remnants of one of Beck's designs can still be see on the melting surface of Lac des Combes. A few hours after this photo was taken, the ice completely disappeared. (Photo courtesy Inhabitat)

 

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