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Watch: British artist creates snow art with his steps in French Alps

A new piece by London-born former civil engineer-turned-snow artist Simon Beck appeared in Savoie this week

A man walking through snow in raquette snowshoes

Snow artist Simon Beck creates his pieces over several hectares in a single day using raquette snowshoes (Picture for illustration) Pic: Simon Beck

British snow artist Simon Beck has brought creative flair to the French ski slopes again this winter, with a new major artwork appearing in the French Alps this week.

Mr Beck, who himself lives in the French Alps, took to a piste in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville (Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), on Wednesday morning (February 23). 

Over the course of more than three hours, he walked across the snow in raquette snowshoes, making indentations to create a huge artwork visible from many kilometres away.

He told FranceInfo: “I have 370 drawings, and I’ve drawn this design 40 times. I do it entirely from memory.”

Mr Beck began making his art in the early 2000s.

He aims to show that “snow is magnificent” and raise awareness of climate change. He said: “I think people should make more effort to save the planet, so that it is a good place to live for us and for our children”.

One skier in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville welcomed the design. He said: “I think it’s great. The artist must be very fit to be able to walk through the snow like that.”

Snow artist

Simon Beck is a former civil engineer and cartographer as well as a snow artist. Born in London, he started becoming well-known for his ski slope work in 2010. He calls it “snow art”, and has been developing the geometric snow style since 2004.

He generally creates the art using raquette snowshoes in a single day, over areas as large as eight hectares. Sometimes he can be walking for up to 10 hours, over as many as 48 kilometres.

He has created work on slopes across the world, including Powder Mountain in Utah, US, and Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada; as well as the Swiss Alps, Japan, Chile, China, and Siberia.

He lives in the French Alps for much of the year, and often creates art in Val d’Isère and the Arcs station in Savoie.

In 2014, he published a book, entitled simply Snow Art, which includes a collection of photos of some of his best-known work. In 2016, he was the subject of a short film documentary called Simon Beck - Snowartist, which was showcased by National Geographic.

Mr Beck also creates art drawings and sculptures in sand. As of 2020, he had created 330 snow drawings and around 120 in sand.

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