AUGUSTA — A Belgrade carpenter with a pair of snowshoes and a mind for geometry is leaving his temporary mark in fields and golf courses in and around Augusta, one step at a time, in the form of giant, intricate flowers and mandalas in the snow.

Jason Cote, 37, said he did his first giant drawing in the snow in a field off Civic Center Drive in late February for the exercise, but said people responded to it so strongly it inspired him to do more.

“It seems to be making people happy,” Cote said of why he spent five to 10 hours at each site, pacing through the snow to create each design in several intricately detailed pieces.

One of Jason Cote’s designs is near the Maine Veterans’ Home headquarters on Civic Center Drive.

There are examples of his large-scale work, some in various stages of melting, off Civic Center Drive near the Maine Veterans’ Homes headquarters, on the lawn of the Augusta Elks Lodge and on the courses of the Augusta Country Club and the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.

Cote measures as he creates his designs in the snow, but not always by tape measure. He does use a tape measure on some of his more intricate pieces, but often he measures them by counting his paces as he steps, in snowshoes, to make the geometric forms that make up his temporary works of art.

A carpenter for close to 20 years, Cote said measuring and understanding geometric patterns are things that just seem to come to him fairly easily.


“I’ve always been good at geometry. I aced it in school and had a hard time with everything else,” Cote said on a recent afternoon after he’d completed his latest design at the golf course in Belgrade. “It can be tricky, but I’ve been a carpenter for a long time, so I’m good at measuring and keeping things straight. I’m fussy with my work. This kind of puts all my skills together. As I go, I’m trying to make them a little more complex.”

Other tools Cote uses include a 5-foot-tall pole, which serves as a walking stick, but which he also uses to make circles. He said a perfect circle can be made in the snow by placing the pole in the center, tying a string to it, and then using the string to guide you as you walk around it, with the string keeping you an equal distance away from the pole as you go.

Jason Cote, of Belgrade, a carpenter who likes geometry, recently started making snow patterns on various hills around the Augusta area.

Cote draws out some of the designs on paper, by hand, beforehand. Then he gets out into the fields and starts pacing out the shapes in the snow.

“There is a little planning involved,” he said. “I research different patterns. I try not to copy patterns someone else has done. You can see patterns in everything. Nature has a lot of patterns in it. You’ve just got to know your drawing well. Sometimes I use a (measuring) tape, but often I just measure with pacing. You mark in the snow, and then keep evening out the spaces until it’s perfect. To me, it’s not that difficult. It’s just large-scale drawing.”

Cote said while he gets some inspiration for his designs from crop circles, his main inspiration is the work of British artist Simon Beck, who has done hundreds of snow drawings, many of them massive, all over the world.

Cote contacted Beck on Facebook and told him he had inspired Cote to try his own snow art. Beck, Cote said, wrote back, wishing him luck.


“It just struck me somehow,” he said of Beck’s work. “I felt compelled to try it. And here I am.”

Cote said he’s heard from numerous people who said they enjoy seeing the snow art. Others said, until they found out he was the artist, they had been wondering who was doing them.

Linda Sommer, of West Gardiner, first saw Cote’s snow art on a friend’s Facebook page, though she has since seen the flower of life he did off Civic Center Drive in Augusta. She said she’s amazed at how pretty they are.

“I’m struck by how generous he was to do that, to give something so pretty to the community,” she said.

Using just his snowshoes and a pole, Jason Cote presses out a snow pattern in Manchester.

He’s looking for new spots to do his designs. The work requires a good deal of space, untracked snow unlikely to draw snowmobilers and, ideally, visibility to the public.

“I like to do them in places where people can see them,” he said.


Some of his designs have been mandalas; others, flowers. He said he likes to do positive designs and symbols. He said people can call them whatever they like.

A friend of Cote’s has taken some video and photographs of the designs from the air using a drone, providing a better perspective from which to view them. Cote said he hopes to get his own drone.

He said owners of the properties where he’s left his designs in the snow seem to appreciate the art. And he said he hasn’t yet had anyone vandalize any of them. He said some people have walked out onto them, but have stayed within the lines of the patterns.

Cote said he definitely plans to do more of them, next winter, and plans to maybe get some practice in over the summer, when he takes his 8-year-old daughter to the beach.

One threat to the designs in the snow will eventually make them disappear: the spring melt.

“They’re going to disappear,” Cote said. “Time is running out.”

Jason Cote, of Belgrade, looks for wide open fields on hills to make his snow art for drivers to enjoy. His latest pattern, designed earlier this week, is at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester, off U.S. Route 202.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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