If you skied Powder Mountain a few weeks ago, you may have discovered crop circles in the snow. Rather than a visit from alien life forms; the intricate designs were created by the resort’s artist-in-residence Simon Beck.
Originally from southwest England, Beck undertook his first snow drawing on a whim about ten years ago and unknowingly introduced the world to a new art form. Sans snowshoes, he stamped out a star nearly the size of a soccer field across a snow-covered frozen lake in France.
“I was surprised at how good it looked,” says Beck.
About six years ago Beck bought a high-quality pair of snowshoes and decided to switch to snow drawing as his main form of winter exercise. He started to post his work online and got noticed. To date, Beck has completed approximately 190 drawings.
It’s a good thing Beck has no shortage of energy. His strategy is to make drawings proportionate in size to the space available to him, and he generally covers an area the size of a soccer field in three hours. His artist residency at Powder Mountain was his first art showcase outside Europe. He completed three drawings in about two weeks.
“The key to all of it is getting photographs,” he says. “So the best strategy is to look over the forecast, anticipate a good day, and try and get the drawing finished the day before the really good day.”
Beck’s abilities do not stop with geometric designs. His second drawing at Powder Mountain was a lion’s head, commissioned by a local musical group, and his third a thumbprint. He generously donated a portion of the payment to the resort’s artist-in-residency program.
While Beck never studied art in a formal setting, major childhood hobbies of his were drawing intricate designs and constructing polyhedal models out of cardboard. He attributes his success to neither brains nor talent, but rather to his hobbies, which instilled in him the discipline to ensure accuracy.
“And of course, lots of practice helps,” says Beck. “Drawing on the snow is no harder than drawing on paper.”