It’s never cold enough for frost hunter Ivo Rolčík

Frost hunter Ivo Rolčík

Ivo Rolčík has been monitoring the weather in the Šumava Mountains since his childhood. The frost hunter and amateur meteorologist cooperates with the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute and manages six weather stations in Volary and its surroundings.

Forty-four-year-old Ivo Rolčík is a paramedic with a passion for frost. He was born and raised in one of the coldest parts of Czechia, in the Šumava Mountains, where winter temperatures often fall to minus 25 degrees Celsius, and his interest in meteorology dates back to his early years.

Frost hunter Ivo Rolčík | Photo: Petr Kubát,  Czech Radio

"I got interested in meteorology a long time ago. In sixth grade, we were given homework to observe the weather for a week and monitor its changes. I didn't only observe it for a week, but with small breaks to this day."

Although he works as a paramedic helping skiers on the slopes of the Šumava Mountains and people in nearby villages, Ivo Rolčík has another mission that keeps him busy – that of frost hunter and amateur meteorologist. He has been cooperating with the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute since 1993 and manages six weather stations in the area.

In order to provide accurate and reliable data he regularly checks all the stations to make sure that the monitoring equipment is in good working order and to measure the snow blanket on the given day.

One of his monitoring stations is at Luční potok.

"There is a so-called frost basin here, where cold air from the surrounding meadows converges, so I had a weather station set up here. It measures the temperature at two meters, it's mounted on a pole as you can see and we have a solar panel that powers the battery".

The weather station also has a ground thermometer, but Ivo cannot rely on automatic measurements and needs to get there in person even in a blizzard.

"When new snow falls, you have to get here and take the thermometer above the snow, because you have to measure the temperature five centimeters above the ground all the time."

Plechý Hill,  photo: Miloš Turek

The station sends data at 20-minute intervals to its website The lowest temperature that Ivo ever registered at Luční potok was minus 31.5 degrees Celsius, back in 2012.

Ivo also manages a weather station on top of Mount Plechý, where he regularly measures the height of the snow blanket. The highest layer of snow that he ever measured here was in January 2018, at 2 meters and 5 centimeters.

The amateur meteorologist runs the website and also writes articles about the weather in Šumava, where he and his friends regularly measure the snow blanket at several dozen locations.

As a frost hunter he is always on the lookout for new records. In the second week of December he measured minus 28.4 degrees Celsius at the station near Stögr Hut near Volary. He says that according to preliminary estimates this may set a national record for 2022.