Simon Beck is a map maker who’s proving that maybe snow storms aren’t so bad after all.
Beck, an Englishman with a background in orienteering map-making, uses a snow storm as an opportunity to make art — with nothing but an expedition compass and a pair of snowshoes.
Beck typically makes his mind-blowing designs in France, where he lives during ski season, and documents them afterward on his popular Facebook page. But sometimes he’ll give fans a glimpse into his process, which requires a keen eye, extreme precision, and attention to detail.
Here’s how he does it.
Beck plans out the pattern on graph paper.
When he gets into the snow, he surveys the site and judges where the major points of the design should be, and starts at one of those points, walking to the center of the design.
From the center, Beck calculates the distance to the other points and walks out and back from the center to the other points, using either pace counting or a measuring tape to determine the number of steps he needs to take.
Each piece is composed of a series of lines, geometric shapes, or arcs and curves, which Beck shades in to fill in the pattern.
Each piece takes about 10 hours on average to complete, though “some are a little unfinished, if my feet get cold or hurt too much,” he writes on his Facebook page.
Beck estimates that he’s walked more than 40 kilometers to complete some pieces, which only last until the next heavy snowfall.
Beck likes a level, untracked site with a uniform snow depth of about nine inches of powdery snow to make sure his art looks best in photographs, which he takes from either an aircraft or a ski lift.
Here’s the finished piece, taken from high above the slopes.
You can find more of Simon Beck’s artwork on Facebook.
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