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Paint by Powder: Skier makes art from snow to help draw attention to environment

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah skier hopes her “Paint by Powder” art made with melted mountain snow will draw attention to the greatest snow on earth, and help keep it around for longer.

Paint by Powder starts as pandemic pastime

Lexi Dowdall, a Ski Utah writer and director of Freeride for the International Free Skiers Association, began using melted snow from Utah resorts to paint watercolors during the pandemic.

“I was out of work during what’s usually the most intense part of my season — I didn’t know what to do with myself. We were all under lockdown, so I started painting. I did a 15-day drawing challenge that turned into a 100-day watercolor challenge,” said Dowdall. “Just finding this outlet has been so awesome during this pandemic. It helps keep me grounded, it helps keep me calm.”

More than just a hobby

In addition to finding a new pastime and hobby, she also realized that her art could make a difference. She hopes it helps spread a message about the importance of keeping the climate healthy so people can continue to enjoy the great snow Utah has.

“I was painting and realizing I was using melted water, and I started thinking about the climate and how it’s just so important for us to all understand the role that we play, and the actions that we can take to protect our winter and protect our snow,” she told KSLTV.

“Hopefully inspire others to take small steps, make a small change. We are all in this together,” she said. “It’s literally the biggest team effort that we have ahead of us, and if we hope to continue skiing and snowboarding, we need to act now.”

Dowdall plans to donate 5% of the sales her “Paint by Powder” watercolor series to the Protect our Winters organization. 

Drought continues across Utah

This year, after a below-average snowpack, Gov. Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency as more than 90% of the state of Utah is in a drought.  

“What we have here is so special and it’s worth protecting,” Dowdall said. 

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