BENSON – It would take someone like Eric Flygare, an aerospace engineer for the US Air Force, to tromp miles through the snow with his wife Amy to make intricate geometric shapes and designs in the snow and call it fun. Some of the designs are as large as a football field. It’s all meant to get outside, breath clean air and have fun.
Winter snow gives the couple an opportunity to spend their time backcountry snowboarding or snowshoeing. This year the snow has been subpar, so they opted for snowshoeing through the snow for a different kind of winter enjoyment: making intricate designs.
“I’m working at home right now and after being on the computer for hours it’s nice to take a break, get outside and do something while getting some exercise,” the Benson resident said. “I just use a compass and equipment I would take with me hiking in the back country.”
Using a compass is second nature to Flygare. At one time he enjoyed teaching orienteering to Boy Scouts. If there is a mountain to explore, he takes his family there backpacking in the summer.
As the sun started to go down in the early Monday afternoon, Amy flew a drone over the top of their latest creation, taking video with the sunlight casting shadows on their latest design in the Bear River sloughs near Benson.
“I looked at the space here on Google maps and measured the space to make sure I had enough room to do what I wanted to do,” Eric said. “From end to end the design is about 300 ft., the size of a football field.”
The Flygares have been featured on television news segments and other publications for their innovative designs in the snow, but he said they weren’t doing it for show.
“We didn’t do it for the recognition,” he said. “We just did it for the fun of it.”
Some of his earliest creations were made up Logan Canyon near Franklin Basin. The Benson design was his sixth this season.
“We aren’t the originators of this type of thing,” Amy said. “We went to the Banff Film Festival and there was a guy from the UK that did them at ski resorts.”
That was Simon Beck, who is retired, has the time to do it and has enthralled people all over the world with his snow designs.
“After seeing his work, we were pretty motivated to try it,” Amy said. “We love the outdoors and we were trying to find something fun to do because the snow wasn’t very good this year.”
Eric had a couple of weeks off during the Christmas break so they thought it would be fun to try. They tried it in the field behind their house to begin with.
“It’s been fun. It’s about a three-hour endeavor and is something we can do together,” she said. “The last one we did in the Benson Slough we did it together. It was our hot date for the week, just us and no one else around.”
The Flygares are the parents of two children: 13-year-old Jada and 11-year-old Kaya.
Kaya recently worked with her father and laid down some tracks of her own near their home. They have yet to convince Jada to give it a try.
SEE BELOW FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE FLYGARES’ WORK