It all started with a star in the snow.
It was 2004 and Simon Beck, then 46, was living in Les Arcs, a ski resort in Savoie, France. He had just come off the slopes, and the idea came to him to draw out a pattern in the snow with his boots.
"There was a very inviting looking snow frozen lake outside of the building where I stay, and the idea just occurred to me, just to draw a star in it. That's how it all started," Beck tells CNBC Make It.
Beck's job at the time was map-making, and he was an expert in orienteering, an activity in which participants use a map and compass to navigate between checkpoints along an unfamiliar course. At first, the snow drawing was done mainly just for fun. He says the reaction most people had to his artwork was, "What a waste of time when you could be skiing."