Summit Up 1-9-19 |

Summit Up 1-9-19

Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s colder than a pine-beetle larva burrowed under a layer of bark! With the mercury hovering in the 15- to 20-below zero mark Friday morning, we were tempted to get out the generator, wrap ourselves in an electric blanket and walk around with that all day, generator towing behind us in a little Radio Flyer wagon.

But yeah, we were pretty worried about the little pine beetle larvae (no offense to them, but is there a more disgusting word for a species’ young than ‘larvae?’) with all this cold. We understand they don’t like the extreme cold, and if we were to have temps like this for a few weeks in a row, it might just smite the little buggers. And then where would we turn for all that pine-beetle lumber we like so much – not to mention hillsides of “Silver Spruce” trees?

Anyway, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll have -20 degrees too many days in a row, so the beetles may yet live to ruin another day. But, on the plus side, if you have stock in Xcel, you might enjoy watching those utility meters spin like roulette wheels as we struggle to stay warm! Just be glad you don’t live in Bowbells, N.D., where, according to the Associated Press, the wind chill temp Thursday hit -52!

Then again, that’s a spring day compared to Vostok Station in Antarctica, where the Russians have their research station. There, the lowest temperature on Earth was recorded: -128.6. Now there’s a butt-freezer no amount of hot chocolate and fur-lined apres-ski boots will cure!

FYI: It’s not always that cold at Vostok Station. The average high in December soars up to -18, so that’s not so bad.


It’s been a while since we’ve had a Smarty Pants Alert!, and we’re not sure this fits in that category or not, but it’s kinda cool: Heidi Ruckriegle, a 23-year-old Breckenridge native and graduate of University of Colorado at Boulder, recently returned home from a 60-day leadership course with Costa Rica Outward Bound. Says here that, in addition to adventure activities such as rafting, backpacking, waterfall rappelling, and scuba diving, Ruckriegle received leadership training and seven professional certifications including Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue, and Technical Rope Rescue.

“We were challenged physically, mentally, and socially in such a beautiful country,” Heidi said. “I learned I can do anything.”

Very cool! Congrats on that, Heidi.


Recently someone posted something on Facebook about how many “Houston Handbags” they’d been seeing in the county over the holidays. While we are very familiar with the phenomenon of out-of-state skiers making this elaborate suitcase thingy with their skis and poles, we hadn’t come across this particular nomenclature before and thought it was pretty good. We’re not entirely sure how to make a Houston Handbag, having never tried ourselves, and we’re not sure how people learn this, er, skill. Is there a book you can get at Houston ski shops that tells you how to do it? Is there a guy in Oklahoma who invented it and who passes it onto folks on his website?

We don’t know, nor do we understand why folks think this way of transporting skis is better than just tossing them over your shoulder with one arm and carring the poles with the other. (And if you really want to see ski carrying raised to an art form, look for a Summit County parent making his or her way to the hill with a couple of little ones.) But we find looking out for Houston Handbags to be an enjoyable variant on people-watching, and we love to see them. Always gives us a giggle. So keep it up, newbie skiers: We promise we won’t poke fun at you! To your face, anyway.

Well folks, speaking of skiing it should be a good one out there this weekend. No brand-new snow, but the coverage is getting better and it’s supposed to warm up a bit. Have fun out there, be courteous, safe, sober and non-jerkmental.

We out.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User