Step By Snowy Step


Last February, Sonja Hinrichsen and 60 snowshoe-equipped volunteers patterned the above piece of land art, Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake, in Colorado. She passed along a slightly edited version of a recent interview she gave to My Modern Met:

Your pieces can be destroyed within days, weeks, or even hours, so there’s a really interesting sense of temporality or ephemerality about them, isn’t there?

It could snow the next night, and it’s all gone. Snowdrifts are a big issue in some areas, too. I’ve done some pieces in Wyoming which was tricky because there’s so much wind and the snow is so light, and dry. So the snow drifts and simply fills in the footsteps. There was a situation where I was working alone and, looking back, realized that it was all going away as fast as I was creating it. There are a lot of challenging elements with this work: there has to be enough snow to cover the landscape completely, and also the snow has to be right. If it’s too fluffy it’s difficult.

When we created the piece in Colorado in 2013 it had been snowing for three days in a row right before we started. So there was a lot of fresh snow on top of the lake. It didn’t have time to settle before we went out there. So it was hard work, because even with snowshoes – which are supposed to keep you on top of the snow – we were sinking in knee-deep. It was quite a workout, and I was worried my volunteers would not stay for very long. But they were so enthusiastic and the piece came together really well. It was amazing. Had the conditions been easier, maybe we would have covered the entire lake, but with the conditions as they were, we were still able to create a pretty impressive piece.

See more of Hinrichsen’s work here.