Summit Up 11-15-10 |

Summit Up 11-15-10


Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s marveling at the intricacies of snowflakes.

Driving up and over Vail Pass on Sunday, one might notice there’s at least the potential – if not entirely a 100 percent guarantee – of a backup as CDOT blocks off one of the eastbound lanes.

That’s OK, though, as long as you’re expecting the delay. Just think of it this way: with feet of snow on the way for Eagle and Summit counties (don’t hold us to that forecast; we predict merely what we want), it’s a chance to take a look at those little flakes falling from the sky.

Remember in elementary school when the teacher needed an art

project? Cutting up folded coffee filters and construction paper was the first time we learned that snowflakes are all different, with characteristics as unique as the police know our fingerprints to be…

Ever since those days, we’ve wanted to capture snowflakes on frozen microscope slides and take a look at them. Of course, we haven’t done that because, well, that light gets pretty hot and we’re pretty sure that we’d just be looking at water molecules by the time we got everything set up – even if we were sitting in a freezer. Maybe a magnifying glass will do. We’ll try that someday when we get around to it and let you know how it goes.

Hey, don’t look at us weird. Writers, geeks… we all nerd out somehow.

MILLIONS OF SUMMIT UP READERS: OK fine. So why are they all different, anyway?

SUMMIT UP: Well, you see, there are more water molecules that make up a snowflake than we can possibly count on our fingers and toes. Waaaay more. Putting it simply, all those molecules grow at different rates and different patterns – all influenced by changing temperatures and humidity in the atmosphere as the snowflake falls.

MSUR: Prove it.

SU: We don’t have to. Apparently, a Mr. Wilson Alwyn Bentley already spent hours of his life photographing thousands of snowflakes under microscope in 1885, all in an effort to give us the peace of mind that yes, every snowflake is unique.

MSUR: There still could be a few the same…

SU: You’re right. Make the atmosphere act exactly the same in two places and maybe we’ll have identical, or at least similar, snowflakes. Just as

a side fact, though, we’ve come close. Apparently, some Wisconsinites found matching snow crystals in 1988 – The technicality being that crystals are entirely different than snowflakes. They’re hollow hexagonal prisms…

MSUR: What?

SU: Dunno.

So there you have it. Snow crystals differing from flakes. No two flakes the same. Atmosphere. Humidity. Hundreds of thousands of water molecules.

If it’s still snowing today, we say just enjoy it. Run outside and catch a snowflake on your tongue. Cut some construction paper into flakes – and maybe even color them in. And if you feel like it, send us the photos of your snowflake adventures.


With the holiday season in Summit County comes one of our favorite annual events such as the pet photos with Santa and the Grinch at the Frisco Historic Park Chapel on Saturday. The proceeds from this great event benefits LAPS. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can get a Holiday family photo sitting for $22-24 instead of $175 and you get to choose if you want a chubby Santa or a svelte Grinch in the picture. You don’t even need to bring your pet! LAPS just wants to give you a great deal, compliments of Great Outdoors Photography.

This year, we will have two photo settings: inside the chapel or outside in an antique sleigh. You can pick up your proofs the following Tuesday, Nov. 23, at the Frisco Information Center or have Great Outdoors print your holiday cards. Free cookies and delicious Abbey’s Coffee will be served. Come out and socialize with all the other “guzzied up” furballs and their pets!

For more details, check or e-mail them at The annual Holiday Bazaar is back this year too, with lots of beautiful Christmas decorations, dog-/cat-stuffed stockings and some really yummy, homemade “Trail Dog Treats” that you can sample when you do your photo shoot. The bazaar will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All proceeds benefit LAPS.

There you have it. Nothing quite says the holidays like getting a pic with your pooch or cat alongside Santa and/or the Grinch.


The fifth annual Shopping Extravaganza at the Outlets is also on Saturday. Tickets

are $20 each. To purchase tix in advance, call Susan at (970) 468-6062 or e-mail You can also grab tix the day of the event.

Gotta run. Happy Monday!

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