I realize many of you down south are dealing with snow, possibly for the first time ever. I thought I’d help you out by sharing a few snow shoveling tips, something I’ve had way too much experience with this winter.
First, you should know that snow shoveling is a workout. I think it qualifies as an extreme winter sport. Especially if you get 90 inches of white stuff like we’ve had at our house in the last two months. Maybe we can get the Olympic committee to add it as a winter event in 2018.
Snow looks all fluffy and cotton like, but that stuff is heavy! Especially if you have 18 inches of it come down at once. You get winded, your muscles feel the burn and even though the temperature outside is sub-zero, you get all hot and sweaty. A few days of shoveling snow, and you’ll have arms like a German curler.
You also need to wear the proper attire; boots, snow pants, coat, hat, gloves are all standard. But the most important thing is to layer. You start out freezing, but then you warm up. Pretty soon you can’t tear the suffocating sweaters and scarves off fast enough. Before you know it you’re moving snow around in shirt sleeves and Bermuda shorts.
Most importantly, however, are the tools that extreme, expert snow shoveling requires. Like golfers have different clubs for different shots, we have different shovels to perform different tasks. Here’s a diagram I made:
The shovel on the far right I call The Pusher. It’s almost like a manual plow. I use that when I have to move a lot of snow around quickly, like clearing our driveway. It’s also ergonomic, so it gives you less of a back ache. You will still get a back ache, it’s just slightly less crippling.
Sometimes you have to dig through snow. Like at the end of your driveway where the street plow deposits three feet of hard packed slush every morning. That’s where The Digger comes in. It’s also ergonomic, and sort of a hybrid between the The Pusher, and my next shovel, The Thrower.
Since we’ve had 90 inches of snow, we have snow piles in our yard that are almost as tall as me. I use The Pusher to move to snow to the side, but then it’s too heavy for me to lift it up high enough to dump it on top of the piles. So I to use the smaller Thrower to scoop and toss the snow on top of the snow banks. The thrower is also good for clearing snow from steps and porches. Didn’t know shoveling was so technical did you?
Finally, we have the ice breaker. Sometimes the snow gets packed down, especially on the house steps. Or it might soften up then re-freeze into ice. Then you have to chip away at it with a heavy iron shovel like The Ice Breaker. It involves a lot of smashing and pounding, so it’s a good task for working out your frustrations with Mother Nature and her crappy weather.
That last little shovel on the end is the kiddie shovel, because why should the adults have all the fun? If they can walk, kids can shovel snow. Besides, they need to start training early if they’re going to medal in snow shoveling at the Olympics someday.
So grab your boots, grab your shovel and join in on the Upper Midwest’s most popular winter sport! Doesn’t it sound like fun?