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The Winter Portal

A snow-covered park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during winter

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate zones (winter does not occur in the tropical zone). It occurs after autumn and before spring in each year. Winter is caused by the axis of the Earth in that hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. In many regions, winter is associated with snow and freezing temperatures. The moment of winter solstice is when the sun's elevation with respect to the North or South Pole is at its most negative value (that is, the sun is at its farthest below the horizon as measured from the pole). The day on which this occurs has the shortest day and the longest night, with a daylength increasing and nightlength decreasing as the season processes after the solstice. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates outside the polar regions differ from the date of the winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit (see earliest and latest sunrise and sunset).

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Australia first competed in the Winter Olympic Games in 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and has participated in every Winter Olympics since, with the exception of the 1948 Games in St. Moritz. Australia achieved its first medal, a bronze, in 1994 in the men's 5,000 metres short track relay speed skating event. Zali Steggall gained Australia's first individual medal in 1998 when she won bronze in the slalom event. In 2002, Steven Bradbury won gold in the 1,000 metres short track speed skating and Alisa Camplin won gold in the aerials event, making Australia the only Southern Hemisphere country to have ever accomplished gold at a Winter Olympics. Australia sent 40 competitors to compete in 10 sports at the 2006 Games in Turin, a record number of athletes and events for the nation. For the first time, there was a stated aim of winning a medal, and this goal was achieved when Dale Begg-Smith won the gold medal in men's freestyle skiing. Camplin attained her second medal, a bronze in the aerials event.

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  • Winter storms blanket Midwest and Northeast United States, cause travel delays


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The only bad things about winter are women's fashions and movies.
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