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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Snow Shoveling Advice


As mentioned in an earlier post, there are different kinds of snow and a variety of snow shovels should be used to deal with each opportunity.

When the snow is light and fluffy, you can push it out of the way more than actually lift and shovel it. I have two similar shovels that I put side by side and use in tandem to push the snow in front of me towards the side of the driveway.

<- This kind of shovel I would classify as the "push" type. It has a small scoop to it that allows the snow to build up and fall forward as you push the snow in front of you. Whether the snow is light or heavy (but certainly more so when it is heavy), you should consider shoveling when there is 1-3 inches. Don't wait until there is 6 or more. You may go out more frequently but each time you do, it will be for less effort and less overall time shoveling.

When the snow is heavy, pushing it does not work as well. You can push it a little but then it becomes too heavy to push any more without a real struggle. For these times, you need to lift the snow to toss it along the side of the walk or driveway you are clearing. For the heavy snow, I recommend the "back saver" or ergonomic handle model.

<- The bend in the handle makes a significant difference in lifting the snow. It is so much easier this way to get the proper leverage without straining yourself. You still need to consider taking only a full load on the shovel, not one that is too much.

If you do wait to go out until the snow fall has completed, dealing with a foot or more will require taking it a little at a time. By this I mean, don't go to the bottom and try to lift it all on one shovel. Hit the shovel point into the vertical middle of the snow, lift the top half and move it before going back for the bottom half.

Develop a rhythm to your work. Step, shovel, toss, etc. Include a rest in there. Use your breath to tell you when you need to take a break. These tips assume you are in good healthy condition. Of course, if you are not in good health, consider hiring some one to do this for you.

These tips have been developed over my years living and shoveling primarily in New England (RI & MA). If you have other tips to add, please feel free to do so.






PS - the shovel images were borrowed from Suncast, a snow shovel manufacturer.

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