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How to Shovel Snow

Clearing Driveways Safely, Efficiently

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Anyone want to shovel snow? I doubt it. Especially if you're reading this during a severe winter, when our state of mind is not unlike that of Phil Connors in the movie, Groundhog Day, who quips:

"You want a prediction about the weather? You're asking the wrong Phil [i.e., Punxsutawney Phil]. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life."

He might just as well have added: "And you'll have to shovel snow many more times before spring returns." But don't get depressed: Follow my tips below to stay one step ahead of Old Man Winter.

1. Tips on How to Shovel Snow

Picture of mailbox buried in snow. The mailbox in this picture is snow-bound till spring.
David Beaulieu
This article is a good place to start to learn how to shovel snow with safety, comfort and efficiency in mind. Want to avoid back trouble when you shovel snow? Then you'll want to consult this resource. But the article goes well beyond safety concerns: It's really a "How to Shovel" piece written for those with active minds. For one thing, my purpose is to provide you with a plan when you shovel snow, so that you can save yourself some time and trouble. But in addition, I wrote the article from the perspective of someone who finds such work about as boring as watching grass grow; and I supply you with some ideas for relieving the boredom.

2. Should You Shovel Snow With Plastic Snow Shovels or Aluminum?

Ames True Temper makes a metal snow shovel of aluminum (picture). Photo can't show its fragility!
David Beaulieu

In a mild winter, I prefer to use my plastic ergonomic snow shovel (see next entry). I.e., during winters in which there's only a small snowstorm here or there, with plenty of time to clear the driveway in between, plastic does the job just fine.

But I happen to have written this article during a severe winter, a winter that gave me an opportunity to put these respective products to the test under the direst of circumstances, to see which would come out on top. Read my review to find out when aluminum comes away triumphant, and when plastic literally just doesn't "cut it."

3. Shovel Snow Ergonomically and Save Your Back!

Picture of ergonomic snow shovel.
David Beaulieu

In this review I evaluate:

 

  1. The Avalanche Ergo Plus ergonomic snow shovel
  2. The Snow Blazer wide-grip snow shovel
  3. The Penguin VersaGrip snow pusher

 

Along the way, I explain why I don't care to shovel snow with pushers. I also discuss what type of tool you should use to shovel snow off decks and what you should know about chopping ice.

4. How to Find Someone Else to Shovel Snow

Photo of ice on lawn.
David Beaulieu
OK, but maybe you're unable to shovel snow, yourself? You can easily enough hire a snow plow to clear your driveway, but what about pathways and porches? In this article, I offer some tips on finding someone to shovel snow for you. It's not easy (one can very well understand the frustration behind the oft-repeated saying, "You can't get good help nowadays"), but you can do it if you're persistent and if you don't mind undertaking a little "detective work."

5. Snow Removal Equipment

Photo: budding branches covered with snow. Buds on snow-covered branches promise spring's return.
David Beaulieu

Or maybe you're searching for other possible ways to clear a driveway or walkway? In the modern age, one shouldn't have to shovel snow, right? I lay out the basic alternatives in this article.

But lest you jump to the conclusion that a snowblower is necessarily the way to go, I discuss some of the drawbacks of snowblowers. Are they an option to consider? Yes. Are they a magic bullet for those who don't want to shovel snow? No.

My article also mentions a high-tech solution that, while unlikely to be implemented in the average driveway, remains an intriguing option.

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