Located in the beautiful valley of Savoie, France, Beck’s patterned snow circles decorate the expanses of the frozen lakes outside of the ski runs at Les Arcs ski resort. Overlooking Mont Blanc, the idyllic ski resort is a wonder of natural beauty – enhanced only by Beck’s designs. As each snow falls, sometimes daily, Beck designs and redesigns his incredible snow patterns over and over the same site.
The designs range from festive snow flakes to trompe- l’oiel three dimensional squares to star bursts and spirograph patterns. Walking extremely carefully, the artist sometimes spends nine hours at a time laying down the meticulous patterned tracks. Each step must be done perfectly the first time, as the soft snow is unforgiving. When the snow is too shallow, Beck has used shovels to create less detailed patterns, still achieving incredible detail.
Beck is a fan of producing mathematical patterns that have different effects when viewed from various vantage points in the changing light throughout the day. Preferring to achieve the 3D effects, he loves to snap his creations when the sun is at its highest point, causing the most contrast on the designs across the lake.
But creating art work in snow has its downsides. Oftentimes Beck is unable to finish a piece, due to fresh snowfall, or pieces he worked all day on quickly get covered by overnight snow. The impermanence adds a layer of magic to this extraordinary art form of transforming a snow field into a detailed art work. The beauty is even carried over to the warmer months, when the melting lake snow and ice reveal traces of the last pattern that Beck traced during the season’s last snowfall.