For the past six years, Finnish architect-designer Pasi Widgren has carried out a special winter tradition. Each winter, he makes the journey to Lake Pitkajarvi, close to his hometown of Lahti, and creates an epic drawing in the snow. This year, he felt inspired to “draw” a fox using just his feet and a snow shovel. The end result is a surprisingly realistic, ephemeral piece of snow art.
Widgren began creating his snow drawings in 2016 when he realized that he might have the coordination to execute these types of designs. He created his latest drawing in early December 2021, inspired to take on the theme of a fox this year. In about four hours, the 295-foot drawing had taken shape and he was ready to photograph his work.
But just how does one draw in the snow? In this case, Widgren sketched the outline by walking. Then, he “drew” the rest with a snow shovel. Of course, before getting started, he tested the ice to ensure that it was thick enough to support his weight. It measured about four to six inches thick; but, as a safety precaution, Widgren also carried ice awls in case he fell through and needed to rescue himself.
Luckily, none of that was necessary and Widgren had no issues in creating his fox. Once the piece was complete, he treated himself to the hot coffee that he'd brought along and hiked up a nearby cliff to photograph his drawing. Though the drawing became less visible a few days later due to new snowfall, it's all part of Widgren's plan, as it's important for him to work in a way that doesn't leave a lasting impact on the environment.
Now, his annual tradition has become something to look forward to for everyone in the area. He tells My Modern Met that many locals stop and ask, “What is the snow drawing theme this year?” The curiosity about his work is part of what makes it so special. “I want to make people happy and encourage them to go out to hike in beautiful nature,” he admits.