2018-02-04 03:54

Snow clearing in Edmonton

So I live in Edmonton, AB. The frozen North. It’s really not too bad here in the winter as I got used to the crazy freeze/thaw/blizzard winters of the East Coast growing up and I have dealt with the bone chilling, soul crushing cold of an Ottawa winter. So -20c with very, very occasional, light snow is pretty easy for me.


  1. They don’t plow the side roads and the cold weather combined with humidity makes the highways like sheets of ice. There were well over 200 accidents (see http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/another-38-crashes-reported-saturday-morning-on-edmonton-roads-following-snowfall) on between Friday (2018-02-02) and Saturday at around noon. So basically a crazy situation. And this is from about 10cm of snow. I have NO idea what they are thinking with the snow clearing policy but that is how it works here.

  2. There is often a slow, steady accumulation of very dry, light snow which makes road surfaces slick, builds up over time.

  3. When there is a melt (happened once so far) things go crazy because all the layers of snow pack go from merely slick surfaces to zero friction wet skating rink ice on the roads… Spring should be fun. Fortunately, it only lasts for a few weeks, I hear.

So that’s the situation.

Now as a homeowner we need to keep our driveways and sidewalks clear. Approaches range from snow blowing with a leaf blower (the snow is that dry and light) to daily scraping when you pull your car into the garage, to full on snow blowing which seems to only be needed a couple of times a winter as far as I can tell. I have never liked snow blowers. The last thing I need is another thing that can break down or can lead to me getting even less exercise than I get now. So I get out there and shovel. Every house in this neighbourhood and almost every other one I’ve seen has a driveway that will park two cars generously. With the light snow, even when 10cm deep, it really takes like 15 minutes if you get a move on to get it done with a shovel. I guess if you had a serious health condition it makes sense to own a snow blower but it would be like owning a really powerful self-propelling lawn mower if you had a lawn that was 6m x 8m, was perfectly flat, and that you used maybe four times a year. I just don’t get it. And using a leaf blower to clear your driveway? It is really, really loud and takes forever. In the conditons where this is appropriate I can literally scrape my driveway in less than ten minutes. Get some exercise, people!


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