Photo Essay by Holly Leitner | Text by Anne Morrissy
In 2021, the Lake Geneva area experienced a rare and beautiful weather phenomenon when the conditions developed for a truly stunning display of hoarfrost and rime ice. Every outdoor surface was covered with layers upon layers of ice crystals, transforming the landscape into an otherworldly winter wonderland.
What’s the difference between hoarfrost and rime ice? Hoarfrost is a direct deposit of moisture from the atmosphere, which freezes into ice crystals without the moisture ever passing through the liquid phase. Rime ice is formed when a super-cooled cloud or fog droplets in a liquid state then freeze rapidly upon contact with an object.
The combined effect of these two processes, compounded over several days of perfect conditions, created a once-in-a-lifetime local display, captured in these photos taken during the first week of January 2021.