Originally posted on January 26, 2014
There’s always something romantic about snow, especially on the first day of a snowfall. But as the days go by, you’ll quickly realize that the snow doesn't go away on its own—you have to remove it yourself.
Here are some tips on how to do just that.
1. Do a pre-snow removal stretch
Before you go outside, be sure to stretch just as you would prior to exercising. Try to simulate the same moves runners, cyclists, and athletes make before a race or game. Stretch your hamstrings, arch your back, and get those arms limber.
While it’s important to keep warm outside, remember to dress sensibly in layers. In addition, don’t forget to pace yourself. Start slowly, working a rhythm, instead of attacking the snow.
2. Get a snow blower, thank us later
There’s nothing worse than waking up after a big flurry to find a foot of fresh snow blocking your driveway, and realizing your gear consists of only a snow shovel. A snow shovel is essential to removing snow, but it’s something more suited for smaller jobs. A snow blower on the other hand, does the job of clearing snow from your driveway and walkways in less than half the time it would take to do the same thing with a shovel—it’s less strenuous on the back too.
Now the catch with snow blowers is that they don’t exactly come cheap. But the return in investment comes from the energy and time saved removing snow—something well worth it for homeowners living in a snowy climate.
3. Start with the cars
When tackling cars, a good rule of thumb is to first brush snow off the roof and hood, after which you can then proceed to clear snow around the vehicle.
4. Use a snow brush and ice scraper
As mentioned earlier, snow blowers are great for big jobs, but they can’t de-ice your car after a snow storm. To do that, you’ll need an ice scraper, which you can use to remove frost off your windshield. The fact that they’re small enough to fit in the glove compartment makes them a worthwhile buy.
If you’re in an area that snows regularly, a snow brush does the job more effectively. As a matter of fact, some brushes offer the best of both worlds, coming with an ice scraper on the other end of the handle.
5. Decide where to dump snow
Doing so means you won’t have to move snow twice, thus saving you time and energy. Drop your first shovelful of snow farther away from where you’re shoveling, then arrange them in piles coming closer to where you’re standing. This means the last scoops of snow will be shoveled closer to you, when you've expended most of your energy.
6. Use proper technique
When shoveling snow, you want to conserve as much as energy as possible by using the right muscles and making the right movements. For instance, it’s best to use your leg muscles as much as possible when lifting. To prevent lower back injuries, keep your back ramrod straight as you squat down and stand up to shovel snow. Rely on your shoulders instead of arms when lifting, and keep the shovel as close to your upper body as you can.
7. Stay hydrated
One of the biggest mistakes people make when shoveling snow is failing to stay hydrated. Just because it’s cold, doesn't mean you won’t feel thirsty. Always take a break when you’re panting, and keep a water bottle handy.