Emmanuel Lopes crouched in the snow of Sligo Creek Park in Silver Spring yesterday, holding a camera and trying to focus on his 4-year-old daughter, Daphne. Daphne was running circles in the snow, stopping occasionally to hurl snowballs at her father, mother or grandmother and to squeal with giggles.
"Look here, Daphne," Lopes said, as he clicked the shutter of his camera.
For the Lopes family, as for other area residents, the snow made the day somehow special, an event to be recorded and remembered. Many celebrated the day sledding and skiing down neighborhood slopes. Others went on with their usual activities such as jogging or walking dogs -- nevertheless pleased at the setting.
"Soon we are going to Brazil to see my family and we are going to bring the pictures," said Lopes, who works for the Voice of America and has lived in Silver Spring for the last 12 years. "In the south of Brazil there is a little snow but not like this."
Yards away from the Lopes family, Maggie and Leif Johnson of Silver Spring stood by their silver pickup truck and rubbed wax onto their skis.
The Johnsons used to ski years ago when they lived in Colorado. But yesterday was the first time Maggie Johnson had skied since 1978; Leif Johnson skied recently when he visited Colorado.
"I put on one wax for glide, another for kick and propulsion," Leif Johnson said, holding a mound of green wax. "Then I rub it with cork to smooth it all out."
Maggie Johnson put on her skis and began cross-country skiing. "It's too slick," she called out. "There's no grab at all."
Across the county, Charlie Hatch and Lynn Failla of Bethesda glided on skis across the snow on the football field of Bethesday-Chevy Chase High School. Failla, a nurse at Georgetown Hospital, recently moved to this area from Boston.
"Today I feel like I'm back in New England," she said. "I don't feel homesick anymore."
"About a mile away, Nat Brooks, 17, attempted to cross-country ski along the street outside his home on Seneca Lane in Bethesda.
"This is fun," he said. "I hope there'll be more snow because I'd rather do this than go to school tomorrow."
Meanwhile, Denise Seal, 23, Jogged along East-West Highway in Bethesda, seemingly oblivious to the cars that were splattering slush onto her purple joggling suit.
"I just got up to four miles a day and I was afraid not to jog today," Seal said, while she took a break outside Suburban Hospital. "If you make an excuse for something one day you start making excuses every day."
Seal, a regional sales manager for a laboratory products company, says that jogging is her "own cure for corporate stress."
Outside Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, about 100 toddlers, teenagers and adults whizzed down a long hill in toboggans, sleds, pizza pans and rubber tires.
"That last jump is a doozy," announced one child, Giovanni Travezi of Silver Spring, his red plastic toboggan in tow.
Travezi was supervised by neighbor Jay Dorsey, who said she brought her two children and four other children to the hill to play because "it's a good ride and it doesn't lead into any streets."
But some youths on the hill were more interested in excitement. Brian Dewey, 14, and Hillary Taylor, 14, both of Silver Spring, spent the afternoon riding their dirt bikes down the snow-covered hill.
"I've only wrecked once today," Dewey said, as he stood by his bike. "I hit my head and I was in the hospital for a while. That was about an hour ago.
"Now I feel great."