British artist uses snow as a canvas for massive geometric designs

A British artist has said that he hopes that the spectacular designs he created in the snow in the Rocky Mountains of the United States make people more environmentally aware.

Simon Beck carefully traced his course before crawling through a field of snow-whipped snow high in the mountains.

Using a compass, snowshoes and his experience as a cartographer and competitive counselor, the 61-year-old Briton and a handful of volunteers recently crossed a frozen reservoir near the city of Silverthorne, west of Denver, to create a huge, geometric design on a fresh canvas of snow.

The result after more than a dozen hours of work in icy weather and under a relentless sun was a spectacular spiral pattern of approximately two football fields.

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British artist Simon Beck rests after completing a great geometric design in the snow (Thomas Peipert / AP)
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British artist Simon Beck rests after completing a great geometric design in the snow (Thomas Peipert / AP)

“I hope it makes people more aware of the snow and the environment and the beauty of it and how we need snow,” Beck said after completing the drawing. “And I think it’s a really beautiful and unique art form.”

He finished his day with five palms of his volunteers and congratulations from the people who gathered on a nearby hillside to observe his progress.

But it has not always gone so well. It is never clear how many workers will appear and if bad weather arrives, an intricate work of art can disappear quickly.

“It’s very frustrating when you walk for hours and hours and hours and then the wind blows it before you’re done,” he said.

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Simon Beck used snowshoes to create a massive geometric design (Thomas Peipert / AP)
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Simon Beck used snowshoes to create a massive geometric design (Thomas Peipert / AP)

Beck began making fractal drawings in the snow in 2004 outside his winter home at the Les Arcs ski resort in France when he stomped on a five-pointed star that spans more than 300 feet “just for fun.”

He didn’t realize how good it looked until he rode a ski lift the next day and saw it from above.

“The snow drawing, which seems to me to be a fairly obvious idea, was not something anyone else would have done as far as I could tell, and that surprised me a lot,” he said.

He has completed about 330 drawings of snow and 120 in sand, and has set a goal of 1,000 drawings in total by the time he is 80 years old. His drawings are commissioned throughout the world.

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