How Disney’s “Frozen” Helped Researchers Solve 62-Year-Old Case

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Frozen ended up helping some researchers solve a 62-year-old cold case. Some new findings in Communications Earth and Environment show how these people used technology from the Pixar film to solve the Dyatlov Pass incident. How amazing is that?

 For those unaware, A team of students and their instructor went on a mountaineering expedition in the Ural Mountains in 1959. What followed was pretty horrific. Their tent was found after a snowstorm ripped open from the inside and there were bodies scattered all around the nearby areas with traumatic injuries. People wondered how this could have occurred with no witnesses, and soon conspiracy theories began to bubble up from all sides. However, everything changed when a present-day researcher watched Frozen for the first time.

Back in 2013, at the height of Frozen fever, Johan Guame of the Snow Avalanche Simulation Laboratory marveled at how Disney was able to make such realistic snow. The technology to simulate that movement was unparalleled. So, Guame emailed the animators to inquiry. From there, he traveled to Los Angeles to meet with the specialist responsible for the movement on-screen. The researcher obtained a version of the snow animation code for his avalanche simulations. Gaume intended to figure out how avalanches would affect the human body.

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In this catastrophe, the bodies of the travelers were found with extreme injuries including blunt force puncture wounds and cracked open skulls. It turns out, that when a wall of snow hits a precise angle, that ice can be like a projectile. With the data in-hand, you could build a model to explain these gruesome injuries with a very normal avalanche. The displacement of the bodies could be the result of some of the students trying to drag their friends to safety instead of merely abandoning the camp. It’s a wild ride to think that a simple computer simulation could shed so much light on a 60-year-old case, but here it is.

“People don’t want it to be an avalanche,” Gaume says. “It’s too normal.”

Had you ever heard of this story before? What do you think of it?


About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.

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