There are many benefits to living in Calgary; it’s the sunniest city in Calgary in terms of days of sunshine, there’s a bustling downtown and house prices remain reasonable for all budgets. However, it’s not until you’ve lived a full year in the city that you realise one major drawback – winter. There’s nothing specifically crazy about the amount of snow or average number of storms, but the wind for which Calgary is also famous blows snow around and causes snow banks that have to be dealt with. When the snow is on your property, and the sidewalk in front of your home counts as your property, it’s on you to keep it clear of snow and ice so that you and your family can keep moving during the winter months.
5 Steps For Efficient Shovelling
If you have a longer or wider driveway, then you may want to invest in a snowblower (battery powered versions are now available if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option!). However, for most Calgary homeowners, the cost of a snowblower is too much, especially considering the amount of space that needs to be cleared. That then leaves manual shovelling as an option, but this can be back breaking work. To save your time and energy, follow these simple steps for efficient snow shovelling:
- Dress for success – even though you’re going to warm up quickly as you start to exert your body, you should still dress for the weather to protect your extremities. Layering is a great option as you can add or take them off throughout the task, and a solid pair of hiking boots is a must so that you can maintain your grip on the ground.
- Warm up and stretch – before you even pick up a shovel, you should do some simple warm ups and stretches as you would before any work out. In particular, you want to engage your core and stretch out your thighs and hamstrings as these are the places where you’ll want to drive your power from. Be ready to take breaks throughout the shovelling so that you don’t overdo it and cause yourself an injury.
- Map out your route – no matter the size of driveway or sidewalk that you need to clear, you’ll want to map out how you’ll shovel the snow. This is because you don’t want to “double shovel” where you chuck snow onto an area that you’re going to shovel again. A good thought process is to work from the middle outwards, and be prepared to carry snow a little further instead of just throwing it anywhere so it doesn’t fall back on the areas you still need to shovel.
- Pivot your whole body – it’s tempting to shovel snow like you’re digging a deep hole; push the shovel under the snow, lift it up and twist your core and throw it with your shoulders. Not only will this technique tire you out quickly, but you’re more likely to strain your back doing this. A better strategy is to pivot your whole body in the direction of the foot as you turn. This will allow you to draw more power from your legs as well as keeping the stress of the surprising weight of snow more equally distributed over your body.
- Less is more – finally, the cold temperatures can make you want to get the chore of clearing snow and ice over as quickly as possible, and this can make you scoop up large chunks of heavy snow that can hurt your body. A good motto is “less is more” and take two smaller scoops for every large one that you think about doing. You’ll take a little longer, but your body will thank you in the long run.
The Right Equipment Is Key
As with every property maintenance project, it’s all about having the right tools for the job. Just like investing in a power drill will save you hours when it comes to projects with screws, having the right snow shovel will help save you time and effort during the long winter months. Some key factors to look out for when you’re shopping for the right snow shovel:
- Big isn’t better – when it comes to snow shovels, there is definitely the “goldilocks” effect. A shovel that is too small will take forever, and won’t give you enough leverage for those heavy snow piles. A shovel that is too large feels tempting, but it will weigh more and is more likely to cause you injury as you’ll be tempted to pick up more snow. Experiment with each shovel in store to get a feel for how it moves, and remember that you’re looking for something that you can shovel with for an hour or so without getting tired.
- Get a grip – any time that you’re working with snow and ice, things are bound to get a little slippery. Try to find a snow shovel that has an additional handle halfway down the shaft. Not only will this mean that your hands are less likely to slip, but you’ll also transfer some of the weight across both your shoulders which will keep you working for longer.
- Change the length – finally, look for a snow shovel that has an extendable handle. This will allow you to lend your shovel to other people (or to get your kids out there for you!), as well as allowing you to change the amount of leverage you’re able to get. A short handle is good when you need high power, while a longer handle will allow you to throw more snow further.
Get Professional Help
Of course, there comes a point when snow shovelling is too much time and effort, which is when you need to call Scoop Cut N Shovel’s snow clearing crew. Our team of snow removal experts will come to your property after every major snowstorm and clear your driveway and sidewalks to keep you and your family on the move all winter long.