It has to take guts, and perhaps a bit of foolishness, to strip down to your skivvies in the biting cold and dive into frozen water. But, to each his own.
While the benefits of cold-weather swimming is up for debate, the beauty of these winterized locales is absolute and almost persuasive. From a frozen lake in Russia's Siberian North to a steaming runoff pond in Iceland, the winter grays have never looked so stunning.
A swimmer dives into the icy waters of the Houhai Lake in central Beijing on Dec. 21, 2010. | (REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic)
Winter swimmers do the breaststroke in a partially ice-covered swimming pool in Changzhi, Shanxi province, China, on Jan. 16, 2008. | (REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA) CHINA OUT)
Members of a local winter swimming club swim in the Yenisei River during their weekly bathing session in the Russian Siberian town of Divnogorsk on Jan. 31, 2014. | (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin)
A man swims in a lake amid snowfall at a park in Jinan, Shandong province, China, on Nov. 12, 2009. | (REUTERS/Stringer)
Liard hot springs in winter in British Columbia, Canada, 2001. | (Gunter Max Photography/CORBIS)
A winter swimmer dives into the calm waters of Pagasitikos bay in the Greek port town of Volos on Dec. 12, 2004. | (REUTER/Yannis Behrakis YB/AA)
A woman swims in a pool during a snow storm in Jerusalem on Dec. 13, 2013. | (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Bathers swim in the Blue Lagoon, a runoff pond that stays warm through winter at the Svartsengi geothermal power plant in Iceland on Nov. 11, 1991.| (Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS)
People sprint into the frigid waters of Berlin's Strandbad Wannsee lido on March 29, 2013. | (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)
A man climbs out of the hole cut into a frozen lake for ice-swimming in Kuopio, Central Finland, on Feb. 14, 2002. | (Tessa Bunney/In Pictures/Corbis)