Just when we thought that living in Minnesota qualified us all as snow experts, new incredible information has been released about the white, cold precipitation we have the pleasure (or not) ”enjoying” several months a year here. We know it is fun to shovel, handy for kids as they build forts and snowmen, and does indeed provide a recreational surface for all ages when we get out the skis, sleds, and snowmobiles. But there are other uses for snow we (until now) did not realize. In early December, a research analyst from The Institute of Geological and Meteorological Research Analysis (IGMRA), located in Moosonee, Ontario, passed through Fergus Falls as part of a weather study cycle. Natasha Ufford brought her astounding new information to the Minnesota State Community and Technical College campus. Several interesting and in fact, useful new uses for snow were revealed.

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What We Don’t Know SNOW

Published 12:58pm Thursday, February 7, 2013 Updated 12:58pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

First, Natasha explained that snow has a beauty benefit. According to research findings, it has been proven that setting a shallow tray of cosmetics in a fresh snow bank for approximately twenty minutes before applying provides a much richer looking and smoother application. Women are always searching for beauty tips and tricks—who would have thought that snow bank could be so useful?

Another unusual discovery is that plunging bare feet into fresh fallen snow (several inches deep) will improve athletic capability—both speed and endurance. According to Natasha, “This method of what has been dubbed ‘frosty-toeing’ has been catching on in mountainous regions all over the world as runners seek that cutting edge.”

One decisive IGMRA study has proven that snow can even make food healthier. Soups and hot dishes are on their own considered delicious comfort foods for those of us in the chilly mid-west. Add a few cups of fresh fallen snow (Fido owners, look out for yellow snow—avoid at all costs) to a bubbling pot of soup or in place of a cup of a liquid ingredient in a hot dish. The snow will boost the minerals absorbed into the body while also adding an earthy flavor many chefs can’t quite execute with other ingredients.

If photography is your thing, you’ll be interested in knowing that snow is your friend for crisper photos. It’s simple: plunge your camera (in a plastic bag, of course) in the snow for about 5 minutes before taking your photos. IGMRA researchers have discovered the chill actually sharpens the image quality by approximately 10 megapixels. Now that’s an easy upgrade!

Finally, research shows that snow is extremely beneficial to our brains when it comes to working on a project requiring creativity and artistic input. The molecules of snow bond together in such a way that they integrate with the left hemisphere area of our brains, and bring out creativity. The best way to receive such benefit would be to melt several cups of snow on the stove and then drink while still slightly warm. This has also been shown to decrease gullibility.



“IGMRA” really stands for Incredibly Gullible Mobs of Readers Anonymous…which you should consider yourself a member of if you were believing all that! Here’s the truth, I promise:


• “Natasha Ufford” is a figment of my imagination (picture is of my cooperative daughter, Kate).


• Snow won’t help your make-up go on more smoothly (although everyone keeps nail polish in the fridge, right?).


• Snow doesn’t make you run faster—or does it? In January of 2007, Wim Hof ran the fastest barefoot half marathon, in just 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 34 seconds (toptenz.net).


• As for snow as a health ingredient, steer away from this one, especially if there’s even a remote chance the snow you’d be adding to your dish would be colored any shade of yellow, which I have already mentioned. In fact, according to meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick (from his blog with news station WSAZ), when a blizzard is forecast, people actually buy more cakes, cookies, and candies than anything else. So much for a snow-related dietary benefit!

• Better photos? Probably not – keep your camera away from the snow bank, but snowflakes themselves can definitely make unique subjects for photos. In the 1880s, Vermont resident Wilson Bentley was very curious about snowflakes. So curious that he purchased a microscope to study them. Bentley was the first to capture snow crystals on film and over the next 40 years proceeded to take over 5000 pictures of individual snowflakes. A typical snowflake is made up of about 180 billion molecules of water, which in and of itself is pretty astounding (starryskies.com).


• Finally, does snow benefit the brain? Hmm….no evidence either way here so far…give it a try and let us know how that works out. In fact, be sure to send the results to IGMRA – they will be waiting for them…


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