There seemed to be no stopping the snow in Baltimore this weekend, as a historic storm held the region in its icy, gusty grip.
But even as the winds picked up Saturday afternoon, and most people stayed at home with hot chocolate and movies, there were some who refused to be stopped.
On dog sleds, cross country skis and in good old-fashioned sneakers, people hit the nearly empty streets to take stock of the snowfall — more than 2 feet by Saturday evening in some places in Maryland. They were joined by emergency responders, snowplows, National Guard Humvees and others for whom the snow did not mean a day off from work.
In hilly Oella in southwestern Baltimore County, photographer Geoffrey S. Baker used ski poles for support as he went down to the Patapsco River to take pictures. In Towson, Bee Monk slushed down Regester Avenue in a dog sled pulled by her two Siberian huskies. In Baltimore, Ryan McGrath led a band of runners on a seven-mile trek up Interstate 83.
"It's all in the name of fun," said McGrath, 34, of Baltimore, who is training for a marathon and said he planned to head out for another run later. "Everyone kind of celebrates snow days a little bit differently."
People tried to keep ahead of the accumulation, as officials warned many streets would remain blocked by snow through the weekend.
In front of his Canton home Saturday morning, 4-year-old Ellis Roeder chipped away at the snow piles with a little blue shovel. It was looking as though he'd made a dent until a neighbor with a snow blower roared past.
Watching from the doorway his mother, Deborah Roeder, said she likes the way snow days make neighbors interact.
"It's one big camaraderie of people coming together," she said.
Job demands kept some people moving. Stores such as Giant, Royal Farms and CVS remained open, while hotels were packed with stranded passengers who had expected to leave on cruises and other vacations.
At Mercy Hospital, maintenance workers Eric Brown and Allen McKnight shoveled sidewalks all night, stopping for just a few hours' sleep in the hospital's sleep study center, as they struggled to keep up with the drifts.
"Oh boy, it's been a good one," Brown said of the snowstorm. "I haven't seen anything like this since '79."
Dyns Rivera, 22, of Laurel and three cousins also woke up early Saturday to make extra money by shoveling snow from the shopping plaza in the 1000 block of W. 41st Street in Hampden. Their family owns a snow removal company hired to clear the parking lot and sidewalks in the complex.
Rivera said the 25-degree weather with blustery wind didn't feel too bad.
"As long as you keep on moving. If you're in motion, you will not get cold. Trust me," Rivera said. "It's good for the community, because they can get going where they're going, but it's also good for us."
The CVS in Harbor East, one of the few stores open downtown, was doing brisk business Saturday afternoon, as people popped in for junk food, batteries and other supplies.
"I didn't expect the snow to be this deep because I saw cars moving," said Mohammed Alajmy, 13, whose family moved to Baltimore from Saudi Arabia about two years ago when his brother started receiving medical treatment at Johns Hopkins. "I was planning to go out to my friend's house, but now it seems impossible."
Mohammed's father, Mansour Alajmy, 55, said this is the first blizzard the family has seen — and it's not as bad as the stinging sandstorms that occur in Saudi Arabia.
"We're happy we're seeing the snow," he said. "All night we couldn't sleep."
The arts scene suffered this weekend, as country star Garth Brooks and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra canceled concerts, and theaters large and small went dark.
For several members of Center Stage's all-female version of Shakespeare's "As You Like It," the only option was to hole up at the three Mount Vernon rowhouses the company provides to out-of-town actors. (The company has moved its productions temporarily to Towson University while the Center Stage venue on Calvert Street is under renovation.)
"We're going to make a video mocking the snow coverage on TV," said Julia Coffey, who plays Rosalind in "As You Like It." "But by Sunday, we'll start brushing up again on our scripts."
Other events went ahead. At the Baltimore Convention Center, where some 4,000 people had expected to attend the annual US Lacrosse Convention, organizers continued with the weekend-long event — even a happy hour scheduled for Saturday night at Pickles Pub.
Attendance was down because of the storm, but with so many people coming in from out of town it didn't make sense to cancel the event and leave them stewing in their hotels, spokesman Paul Krome said.
"Coaches and fans are walking around the expo hall," Krome said. "So far, so good."
Not everyone who had shelled out the $160-plus ticket price for the convention was happy, though. Several people questioned organizers' decision in posts to the LaxCon Facebook page.
Mickey Owade, manager of the parking garage at The Sail Cloth Factory near Ridgley's Delight, booked a room at a nearby Holiday Inn to ensure he made it to work Saturday — and, boy, was Meagan Brown glad he did.
Brown, a nurse, had no problem driving her Hyundai Sonata home Saturday morning from her overnight shift at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but getting up the driveway into the parking garage posed a problem.
It took Owade 15 minutes to dig Brown a path and then shout out directions to her as she attempted to navigate it.
"We weren't prepared for this," said Owade, who had a shovel, but no gloves.
Jennifer and Destin Ford had plenty of activities planned for the snowy weekend with their four kids: chili, board games and snowball fights.
But first, the sledding hill in Glen Burnie's Cromwell Fountain community beckoned.
Amid the laughing and tumbling down the hill, the Fords had just one nagging worry in the back of their minds.
"I just hope we don't lose power," Jennifer Ford said. "That's my only concern."
As evening fell, traffic lightened, leaving roads eerily quiet, the silence broken only by the sound of traffic lights swinging back and forth.
Justin Wilson, a salesman at the Sears Outlet in Timonium, bundled into a heavy coat, hat and gloves to walk to the Giant near his house in Medfield on Saturday, where he picked up a 12-pack of Coca-Cola and York Peppermint Patties and Hershey Kisses for his girlfriend.
"I really wanted some soda," Wilson said. "I hope it stops soon, but I really don't think it's going to."
Baltimore Sun reporters Ian Duncan, Lorraine Mirabella, Tim Smith, Yvonne Wenger, Liz Bowie, Wesley Case, Doug Donovan, John-John Williams IV, Rachel Cieri, Luke Broadwater and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.