From above, Sonja Hinrichsen’s Colorado ‘Snow Drawings’ come alive

Sonja Hinrichsen, a German-born artist, has made a name for herself by leading teams of volunteers that stomp out seemingly mundane lines in the snow near Steamboat Springs.

Seemingly mundane, that is, until you see them from above. These are aerial images of her last project in Colorado, which recreated "in an abstract sense" the original flow of the Yampa River and its tributaries near Lake Catamount.

Photo: Snow drawing 5
Photo: Snow drawing 1
Photo: Snow drawing 2
Photo: Snow drawing 3
Photo: Snow drawing 4

She describes the project on her website:

With approximately 50 volunteers we created an artistic rendering of the water drainage system of the Routt County Yampa River segment on a frozen reservoir lake – created by a dam on that same river. Entering the lake from 4 different locations along the shoreline the snowshoe performers indicated the 4 main tributaries and would then congregate in the center of the lake to “flow” through the former river valley in commemoration of the course of the original river. Although flowing as one body of water each performer – like an individual drop of water – was asked to take into consideration how water moves, how it can be fast or slow, take a straight course or meander, bump up against rocks, whirl around obstacles, linger in puddles or race down rapids.

Hinrichsen opens a show tonight in Oakland, California on her latest project, set in France. The Bay Area-based artist has spent a lot of time in Colorado though; she's been leading volunteers through the snow in the Rockies since 2009. Here's a taste of some of her previous projects:

Photo: Snow drawing 6
Hinrichsen completed Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake in February 2013. "Despite deep, heavy snow that made walking difficult and strenuous we managed to create a stunning art piece on the frozen snow-covered lake," Hinrichsen wrote on her website. "I was greatly impressed of the piece that revealed itself when I flew over the lake the next morning to take photos."
Photo: Snow drawing 7
Another view of Snow Drawings at Catamount Lake.
Photo: Snow drawing 8
Snow Drawings at Rabbit Ears Pass was completed in January and February of 2012.