What is a Snow Drawing?
Since 2012, Bud Werner Memorial Library and The Nature Conservancy have led the community in creating enormous, landscape-scale snow drawings during the snowiest winter months. Patterns on the land are laid down by volunteer artists who each walk an individual path within a collective space. Artists leave their designs in the snow by wearing snowshoes. To date, snow drawings have been made on public lands, a frozen lake, and a working haymeadow on the Carpenter Ranch. In 2020, the library partnered with North Routt Charter School for a new drawing on Rabbit Ears Pass. With a pandemic on in 2021, the community shifted to socially-distant community snow drawings, working safely and independently to D.I.Y. snow drawings all over the Yampa Valley.
History of the Community Snow Drawings
The Yampa Valley's ongoing series of installations began as a collaboration with environmental artist Sonja Hinrichsen. In 2010, Hinrichsen first came to Steamboat Springs via a Colorado Art Ranch residency at The Nature Conservancy's Carpenter Ranch. She returned in winter 2011 to make a solo installation on the Carpenter Ranch. Following on the success of her snow drawings, Hinrichsen realized that the broader valley offered many perfect canvases for winter installations, and to cover them, she wanted to get the community involved. This is where Bud Werner Memorial Library and The Nature Conservancy stepped in, along with hundreds of volunteers, to help transform Hinrichsen's concept into a beloved community project.
Hinrichsen returned during winter 2012 to help lead the first series of community snow drawings with local artists on Rabbit Ears Pass. This series received national and international attention, including acknowledgement among the world's best environmental art. Hinrichsen returned to work with local artists in subsequent years, creating snow drawings on Lake Catamount that reflected the historic flow of the Yampa River.
Now, the Library carries on with this annual grassroots effort, bringing together the creative and athletic participants who walk different designs each winter. To date, more than 350 volunteers from the Yampa Valley Community have added their sweat and creativity into these community installations.