Although Colorado's winters can be gray and dreary at times, there's also so much natural beauty that occurs when the weather gets cold and the snow starts to fall.

One of the prettiest sights to witness during the wintertime in Colorado is when hoarfrost or rime ice form on the trees. Appearing almost ethereal-like, you've probably seen both of these types of frost on branches in your yard or while driving through town. The way that the frost clings to the limbs, sparkling like little crystals on the trees, makes for beautiful photo opportunities that are definitely worth braving the cold for.

Most people can't tell the difference between hoarfrost and rime ice by just looking at a freshly-coated tree. 9News meteorologist Cory Reppenhagen helped to explain the contrasting factors and also when Coloradans can expect to see the two types of frost form.

The main point to take away is how they each occur differently. Hoarfrost forms on cold, humid nights when there are clear skies. Rime ice, on the other hand, happens during foggy weather, when the clouds are low and moisture is visible in the air. Hoarfrost is much lighter, while rime ice is heavier and can grow long and thick upon contact. Both look almost hair-like after latching on to a branch.

Kelsey Nistel/TSM
Kelsey Nistel/TSM

With all of the sun the Centennial State sees (even during the winter), these beautiful icy thorns don't usually last long on days that they form, so snap a picture when you get a chance next time.

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