The sub-zero temperatures didn’t stop John Predom from heading out onto his Island Pond property with an iron rod and spool of rope in March 2020. The 15-acre field has been a sanctuary for his art. Within the next four hours, he creates a 100’-diameter, geometric pattern… entirely by snowshoe.
The design is best viewed from above, and he captures his fifth finished product of the 2021 season with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone. “This is the only one this year I did not preplan,” John writes on his Facebook page, @SnowdogSnowshoeArt. “I relied on step count to get the correct placement, and everything went smoothly.”
John had improvised his designs in years past, but they’ve evolved drastically since he started in 2019. Inspired by British snowshoe artist, Simon Beck, John’s original designs include a freeform flower and two interlocked circles. The artwork now reflects intricate patterns of straight lines and circles that John preplans on paper with a protractor and compass. Even the metal rod is an upgrade; he first used a hiking pole and string but found the combo too flimsy.
His largest project required six hours and 21,200 steps — or 10.1 miles, according to his Fitbit. John anchors the metal rod and attached rope to outline arcs; he’ll walk with the unraveling spool taut and at chest height until the length of the arc is right. The projects require a lot of focus; John counts his steps to create the symmetrical patterns and counts again as he backtracks along each line.
An avid winter hiker (as his trail name “Snowdog” suggests), snowshoe art provided another medium for John to get outside. So, he continues to strap on his wooden, teardrop snowshoes — which reach 12” across and 46” long — to float atop the deep powder each winter.
“I like being outdoors in the wintertime, and the snowshoe art is a great way to get exercise without climbing a mountain,” says John. “People have enjoyed it so much; it makes me want to go out there and do it again. It’s fun to inspire others to get outside and try it too.”
Last year, John led a workshop through which GMC members replicated the Club’s logo. John says other entities have asked him to lead such workshops since then.
He’ll start his designs again this January when there’s at least a foot of snow on the ground. Already, he plans to improve upon previous designs and keep the imagination flowing, he says.