In determining the perfect conditions for snow art, Beck generally waits once a week for a heavy snowfall with six days of fine, cold weather in between. This allows him to make two designs per week and get good photos, while going on to reuse the sites the following week.
What are Beck’s feelings on the warmer winters? “It’s annoying,” he says. “[Warmer temperatures] mean that the lakes become unsafe to walk on. So I have to use other sites that are not flat and prone to getting tracked by skiers, walkers and animals.”
Still, he sees climate change as an issue that will most affect resorts at lower altitudes. “Here in Les Arcs, there is enough high ground for climate change to shorten the season a few weeks,” he says. “But lower resorts will have to switch to other activities.”
All photos courtesy of Simon Beck
What’s next for Beck, who is pictured here in his snowshoes with Mount Pourri in Les Arcs in the background? He plans to continue his art further north where it is still “sensibly cold.”
“If conditions in Arctic Norway continue to look good, I shall go up there after the season has ended here for more art,” he says.
In 2013, Beck plans to employ some assistants and expand his snow art with visits to other French ski resorts. He may even put together a snow art tour.
Text by Katherine Butler