Photo: Courtesy of Simon Beck
An ephemeral life span
Just how long do these designs, like this one created at Les Arcs, France, last in the snow? Beck says that they usually stay in place until the next heavy snowfall and occasionally even longer. "At one extreme in 2011, the first design of the season, completed on Jan. 3, was seen as a ‘ghost’ underneath up to three later designs for the rest of the season," Beck says. But sometimes, the opposite is true. "On the other side, a design I completed at half past midnight on Dec. 19, 2011, had completely disappeared by the time I got up the next morning," he says. Luckily, Beck did get some reasonable night photos of the ill-fated Dec. 19 design.