Yosemite Valley in Winter
Photograph by Jesse Estes, My Shot
Yosemite Valley’s iconic landmarks take on an entirely new appearance when blanketed by a foot of fresh snow. Such scenes invite skiers, skaters, and other winter sports enthusiasts to explore the park in a less-crowded season.
Yosemite boasts 350 miles (560 kilometers) of cross-country ski trails and California’s oldest alpine ski resort—Badger Pass. Winter visitors also enjoy tubing, snowshoeing, and, in the legendary Ahwahnee Hotel, some of America’s most inviting firesides.
Photograph by Darrell Hayward, My Shot
Frost clings to the edges of red leaves in this festive scene submitted to National Geographic's My Shot.
Three Frozen Trees
Photograph by Matas Juras, My Shot
It was -13ºF (-25ºC) on the morning that Matas Juras snapped this shot of an otherworldly landscape found just outside of his home city of Kaunas, Lithuania. Lithuanian winters typically feature some three months of consistent snow cover.
Trois Monts Avalanche
Photograph by Pierre Bessard, AFP/Getty Images
The glories of high alpine adventure draw countless climbers to test their mettle on Mont Blanc and other peaks across the European Alps. But dangers abound for those who dare—not least massive avalanches like this one on the Trois Monts route. Two climbers were injured in this July 1994 slide but none lost their lives.
After the Ice Storm
Photograph by Brian Haynes, My Shot
A horse warily surveys a once-familiar landscape of fields and hills transformed into a winter wonderland in the aftermath of an intense ice storm, which has coated the trees with a coat of glistening rime.
Photograph by Skip Brown, National Geographic
An early-morning avalanche roars down the slopes of jagged Patagonian peaks in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. These dramatic snow slides often reach speeds of 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour. Worldwide about 150 people lose their lives to avalanches each year. About 90 percent of them are skiers, snowboarders, or snowmobilers who trigger the fatal slides themselves.
Young Emperor Penguins
Photograph by Steven Pressman, My Shot
Winter finds emperor penguins breeding on the open ice, producing young who must try to keep warm while waiting for a parent to return with food. Such scenes are familiar at the Snow Hill Island rookery in Antarctica. Emperors group together for warmth in wind chills that can fall to -76ºF (-60ºC), and take turns moving from the chilly perimeter to the relative warmth found in the middle of their huddles.
Photograph by Cornelia Schulz, My Shot
The horizon-hugging arc of the winter sun means short days—but it can also produce spectacular sunsets like this one. Winter is a harsh but beautiful season in Scotland’s Southern Uplands.
Icy River Rocks
Photograph by James L. Stanfield, National Geographic
Though midstream rocks are covered with snow and ice the waters still flow at Itasca State Park—at least where winter’s chill has not yet frozen them solid. Minnesota’s oldest state park is home to more than 100 lakes, and is the source of the mighty Mississippi River.
Snowshoeing in the Tatoosh Range
Photograph by David Whelan, Your Shot
Mount Rainier National Park offers big mountain adventure within sight of Seattle—at least on a clear day. The park’s namesake summit at 14,410 feet (4,392 meters) is popular with climbers but hardly the area’s only alpine attraction. A snowshoe trek through fresh powder offers stunning views of the Tatoosh Range from the relatively modest elevation of 6,500 feet (1,981 meters).
Bison Break Trail
Photograph by William Albert Allard, National Geographic
The harsh Wyoming winter cannot deter a herd of Bison from trekking across a snow-swept valley. Winter can be tough on North America’s largest land mammals. Moving through deep snow burns precious energy and forage can be scarce. But bison are well equipped for the season—their shaggy coats are so thick that snow can pile up on their backs without melting.
Photograph by Mallory Porshnev, My Shot
Bright color adds a cheerful aspect to the harsh Siberian winter as a row of fishing huts sits silent in the snow. When waters freeze over, Siberian sportsmen simply shift gears and—often fortified by vodka—embrace the chill with the much-loved pastime of ice fishing.
Photograph by David Alan Harvey, National Geographic
While the slopes of Breckenridge and Vail are packed with powder seekers, Colorado fly fishing guide Dave Hill finds a favorite stretch of water deserted on a winter day. Trout keep eating when the snow flies, so the season offers die-hards like Hill a golden opportunity to spend some quality time in pursuit of native fish.
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