I'm copying and pasting a big chunk of the first version of this post. Not because it's so eloquent that it needs to be repeated, but so that I don't have to bother paraphrasing it. There's some new stuff at the end.
Snowy sidewalks are no big deal in themselves, but they become icy sidewalks after they've been walked on for a while, and those things are dangerous.
When it's necessary to shovel on Shabbat, I always do so, wearing socks on my hands as a shinnui. I haven't asked a rabbi about this, and this is out of respect for the rabbinate--I want to save them the embarrassment of possibly giving the wrong answer.
As a side note, I once told a friend, former and (I hope) future havrusa and/or hevruta, and ethical adviser about this. He (who lives in an apartment where the landlord is responsible for shoveling, so it's not his problem) said he thought this a fine idea. Since it's just me, he said, I should do it without any distinctive Jewish accessories visible. If, however, I were R' Gedalia Dov Schwartz, av beit din of the RCA and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, who lives a few blocks away, I should do it looking like I was R' Gedalia Dov Schwartz so everyone would know it's OK. I take his point, although I should point out that if I were R' Gedalia Dov Schwartz, I wouldn't need his advice.
And now the new stuff. This last Shabbat morning, there was a layer of slush on the sidewalk. I ignored it, since it was Shabbat, and what would the people coming to lunch think? By Sunday morning, the slush had turned into solid ice with footprints.
So let's imagine that someone had injured themselves on the ice that I piously left there, and let's further imagine that I'd passed away and had to face the Heavenly Tribunal.
Members of the Tribunal (M"T): Well, what about this Mr. McNotzreigh who got injured on your ice?
Me: Sorry about that, but only a little, since I was observing Shabbat.
M"T: Very nice.
(I assume the M"T are Orthodox Jews, among whom "very nice" means "yeah, right, whatever.")
Right. Well, very nice. But next time, I'm going to do what needs to be done and forgo the after-the-fact teshuvah.