Stories // Sport

Simon Beck

"A sketch and a compass ...that’s all I take with me"

Snow. There’s something incredibly appealing about this naturally occurring white canvas. Its ever-changing state, fully dependent on the unpredictable weather conditions, can wipe every trace clean within seconds, making it a capricious setting for works of art. This seems to be but a welcome challenge for Simon Beck – today’s only snow artist in the world.

Fascinated by snow since childhood, the bearded Briton first started doing his now highly covetable artwork as a hobby just over a decade ago. One time in December 2004, after a day of skiing, Beck felt the need to still do a bit of exercise. So he set out to create a pattern in a snow. Looking later at the result from a ski lift, Beck realized that his passion for orienteering and physical exercise could take an entirely new form. And so, the idea of snow art was born.

Armed with just a compass, a sketch, marker sticks and his own two feet, Simon Beck creates transient masterpieces in the Alps and beyond. With some drawings covering an area of 2-8 soccer fields and taking up to 12 hours to complete, assistants would definitely prove handy, however not many people can cope with such strenuous exercise in the cold. So what’s the key to preserving these snow chefs-d’oeuvres, if they can be so easily erased come wind or a new bout of snowfall? Photographs! High-quality snapshots are essential to capture the beauty of these creations.

Where does it go from here?

Sometimes I wonder whether snow art will be a temporary phenomenon, or if others will do it, perhaps better than I can, and I will be the founder of a worldwide art form… Another possibility is drawing in the sand, which is easier than snow. However, I am also tempted to make something in a more permanent medium, such as walking in concrete before it sets.“

Where does it go from here?

In addition to talent, determination and physical strength, this kind of exceptional art form requires the right clothing to ensure the snow artist stays warm and comfortable while stamping out his designs in the snow. Having caught the attention of Bogner, Simon Beck was commissioned to produce the company’s signature logo on a frozen lake. After hours of hard work, done with such precision and motivation that everybody could only admire, the beautiful B was captured on camera to remain as a lasting memory of Beck’s ephemeral art.

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