Since 2004 England-based artist Simon Beck has strapped on a pair of snowshoes and lumbered out into the freshly fallen snow at the Les Arcs ski resort in France to trample out his snow art – distinctly geometric patterns, footprint by footprint. Each work takes between 6 hours and two days to complete.
“Small Foot snowshoes are an amazing product that works surprisingly well, wearing them feels more like walking in a hiking boot rather than conventional rigid plastic snow shoes. They weigh the same as rigid shoes and can be deflated and crammed into a space about the size of a pair of running shoes. They consist of a fat heavy air tube in a sleeve and a web binding.
The Smallfoot inflatable snow shoes come with some extras, including a spare tube and air pump.
The people who would buy this product would be expected to have experience of bicycles and would not need much in the way of instructions for use. I needed a little help with figuring out how the use the bindings to attach it, but once that was achieved the bindings did their job well, and there was no difficulty removing the snowshoes at the end of the day despite being frozen.
Once in soft snow the SmallFoot snowshoes feel remarkably good, and I soon forgot I was not wearing the conventional snowshoes I usually use. There is a slightly bouncy feel about them which I liked, also the front does not get stuck in the snow so that you have to pull your foot back, which is an occasional annoyance with rigid snowshoes.
The smallfoots come with a detachable crampon but no equivalent of the small spikes that rigid snowshoes are equipped with. This is a feature I have not tested because of the joints in the front of my feet being wrecked from accidents and age. There is no equivalent of the hinge and heel lift that rigid snow shoes feature, but the smallfoots are fairly flexible, and feel like halfway between wearing hiking boots and snowshoes.
When we were filming in Grindlewald we had a guide with us and he tried the inflatable shoes. He said he liked them, and commented they felt like walking in ordinary boots.”