Wintry Weather

At one point earlier this winter, 49 states in the U.S. were at least partially covered in snow (all except Florida). With much of North America walloped by a series of blizzards and smaller snowstorms, snow was being measured in feet, not inches, stranding travelers and damaging structures. Along with the challenges it delivers, winter also brings inspiration - to those who would use snow and ice as an art medium, a playground, or as a source of beauty or serenity. Gathered here are recent images of winter and its impact here in the Northern Hemisphere. [38 photos total]

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Cars are buried as a woman tries to clear her windshield Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #
A visitor walks through an ice sculpture, created by covering ice on pine trees, at Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Chitose, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido February 4, 2011. The ice sculpture festival, in which creations are created by spraying water pumped from Lake Shikotsu, is held until February 13. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao) #
Whirl, a 3 1/2 -year-old Amur tiger enjoys the snow Friday, Feb. 4, 2011 at Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. (AP Photo/Chicago Zoological Society, Jim Schulz) #
John Strenio of the USA practices before the start of the Slope Style finals for the FIS Freestyle World Championships at Park City Mountain Resort on February 3, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) #
Dana McDougal-Pellegrine takes a photo of the ice covered "Mustangs of Las Colinas", the world's largest horse sculpture of the nine mustangs galloping across real water, in Irving, Texas February 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes) #
Bradley senior Chris Grandon digs a snow fort out of a 12-foot pile of snow on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, at the Bradley University campus in Peoria, Illinois. A winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago, stranding hundreds of drivers for up to 12 hours overnight on the city's showcase lakeshore thoroughfare, halting air traffic and giving many schoolchildren their first ever snow day Wednesday. (AP Photo/Journal Star, Adam Gerik) #
People stand around an ice hole on the Buzim Lake during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations near the village of Sukhobuzimo, about 70 km (43 miles) north of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, January 19, 2011. Orthodox Christians celebrate the religious holiday of Epiphany according to the Gregorian calendar on January 19. The air temperature stood at about -29 degrees Celcius (-20.2 degrees Fahrenheit). (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #
A fine snow covers 11-year-old Victor Fesenmeyer's ski mask while he takes a break from sledding down the hill behind Lincoln Elementary School February 2, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. Almost 20 inches of snow fell in parts of the Midwest as the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for southeastern Iowa and much of Illinois. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
In this Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011 photo, the Illinois Central Railroad uses a wedge snow plow and two locomotives to clear its rail line between Clinton and Gilman, in Gibson City, Illinois. (AP Photo/The Pantagraph, Steve Smedley) #
An ice sculpture of a dinosaur is illuminated at the 62nd Sapporo snow festival in Sapporo, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido February 7, 2011. About 250 snow and ice sculptures are exhibited in this, one of Japan's most popular winter events. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao) #
Snow accumulates in a pickup truck that was stranded during a blizzard and left open on Lake Shore Drive, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) #
A skier is pulled by a horse during a traditional highlander's competition in Male Ciche near Zakopane, in Tatra Mountains, southern Poland on January 30, 2011. (REUTERS/Marek Podmokly/Agencja Gazeta) #
A police officer stands guard at the Triton Technologies building that collapsed under the weight of snow and rain in Easton, Massachusetts on February 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger) #
A woman collects snow to make a snowman during a snowstorm in Tehran, Iran on February 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Caren Firouz) #
People bathe in the icy waters of a lake during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations in Minsk January 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko) #
A man looks on after emerging from icy waters during Orthodox Epiphany celebrations on the Mana river, with the air temperature at about minus 31 degrees Celsius near the village of Ust-Mana, 31 km (19 miles) south of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on January 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #
A Sun pillar is seen from Interstate 69 in Madison County during a chilly sunrise on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, near Anderson, Indiana. (AP Photo/The Star Press, Jeri Reichanadter) #
Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada practices during a training session for the women's moguls for the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships at Deer Valley Resort on February 1, 2011 in Park City, Utah. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) #
Workers use heavy equipment to create a mountain of snow collected from surrounding parking lots at Shoppers World in Framingham, Massachusetts on Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes) #
Moldovans swim in a heated outdoor pool in sub-freezing temperatures in Chisinau, Moldova Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011. (AP Photo/John McConnico) #
On February 4th, 2011, Dorothea Linke from Oederan, Germany works on a sculpture titled "Scandinavian Troll" during the 15th snowsculpture competition at the Neuhermsdorf im Osterzgebirge, in southeastern Germany. (Norbert Millauer/dapd) #
Visitors look at an illuminated snow sculpture of Japan's national treasure "Hiunkaku of Hongwanji" at the 62nd Sapporo snow festival in Sapporo, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido February 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao) #
A child rides his toy bike on the frozen Lac de Joux lake at Le Pont in the Jura region in western Switzerland on January 30, 2011. (REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud) #
Heavy snow falls on the grounds of the US Capitol as snow blankets Washington, D.C. on February 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst) #
Onlookers watch the icy waves on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin on February 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Darren Hauck) #
Maxim Gustik of Belarus lands a jump during the men's aerials final at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in Park City, Utah on February 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Jim Urquhart) #
David Mangani chips away at heavy ice and snow on his roof during the winter weather in Clarence, New York on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #
Ice clings to a branch at Horsetail Falls Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, near Corbett, Oregon. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) #
Skaters enjoy the annual "Wiener Eistraum" (Vienna ice dream) ice rink built at the city hall square next to Burgtheater theatre in Vienna, Austria on January 21, 2011. The "Wiener Eistraum" is open to the public until March 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Lisi Niesner) #
In this Feb. 4, 2011 photo, chairs are placed to mark parking spots for those who shoveled snow off in Chicago, Illinois. A blizzard that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow has revived a longstanding Chicago tradition: Break out the patio furniture. Or, if none is available, suitcases, garbage cans, strollers, bar stools and milk crates work, too. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #
Sergey Kaunov, a member of a local winter swimmers' club, carries his bride Irina Kuzmenko out of water as they celebrate their wedding on the bank of Yenisey River where the air temperature was about -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degree Fahrenheit) in the Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on January 22, 2011. Irina does not normally practice winter bathing, but she did it on the day of their wedding after heating up in a sauna. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #
A visitor walks past an illuminated ice sculpture at Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival in Chitose, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido February 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao) #
Rick Riggins of Washington, Illinois, pushes his snowblower through deep snow near his home on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Peoria Journal Star, Ron Johnson) #
The headlight of a musher traces a line during a long-exposre photograph taken during the tenth stage of La Grande Odyssee sled dog race in Mont Cenis, France on January 18, 2011. The race crosses the Alps in France and Switzerland covering over 1000 km (621 miles) over 11 days. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse) #
A girl speeds down a slide made of snow at the 62nd Sapporo snow festival in Sapporo on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido February 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao) #
In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, a Japanese macaque grooms another while bathing at the hot spring pool of Jigokudani Monkey Park in the mountains of Yamanouchi town, Nagano, central Japan, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. About 160 macaques, known as "snow monkeys," inhabit the park. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae) #
Icicles form on a walkway along Lake Michigan in Port Washington, Wisconsin on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #
A man fishes while sitting in a tent on the ice-covered Ivankovskoye reservoir in the town of Konakovo in Russia's Tver region on February 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Andrey Rudakov) #

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