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Forecast calls for blowing snow

Janet Urquhart
Aspen, CO Colorado

I’ve been accused of poor pile management, which came close to triggering the first true rift in a three-and-a-half-year relationship.

“There’s nothing wrong with my piles,” I huffed, even as the debris of another avalanche tumbled onto the driveway. The honeymoon with the snow, at least, is most certainly over.

Shoveling snow is one thing; shoveling the resulting piles of snow in order to make room for more is another.

As far as snow goes, I say, the more the better ” up in Aspen. In the midvalley, I don’t want more than it takes to clear with a broom. Lately, I need a broom just to dislodge the drifts on my car so I can access the puny, ineffective brush inside of it.

Someone with a concrete fetish made sure the footprint of our driveway roughly equals that of the house. On top of that, our lot sits on a curve in the street, elongating our stretch of sidewalk. Eagle County uses it for snow storage.

Hence, we sat down to have “the talk” at our house. Personally, I’m not in favor of buying a snowblower, which strikes me as something of a hernia-jerk response to an unusual snow year. Still, it’s better than the alternative ” getting a teenager.

A little Internet research, conducted despite my objections, revealed a variety of snowblower and snowthrower options.

Snowthrower? We’ve already got one. It has a wide, flat scoop attached to a stick, powered by my back and shoulders.

Snowblowers, as it turns out, come in a variety of sizes. Anything with the horsepower to actually handle the kind of snow we’ve been seeing, i.e. blow the slabs from the street back where they belong, will weigh more than the snow and cost and an arm and a leg, even if we don’t wind up a gruesome snowblowing-accident statistic.

I was somewhat intrigued, however, by the notion that I could actually make money with this machine. Another good dump, and we could pay it off with a little door-to-door entrepreneurship in our immediate neighborhood alone.

On the other hand, we don’t really have anywhere to store a snowblower, short of chaining it to the tree in the front yard, which would probably earn us a nastygram from the homeowners’ association ” the same people who keep reminding us to keep our walks cleared.

Keeping the snowblower on the back deck is out of the question. Even if we could hoist the thing up the required step, it would collapse through the wood. That means it becomes a lawn ornament somewhere in the backyard each summer. Nice. Maybe we can put it up on blocks, I snidely suggested.

I actually enjoy shoveling snow. It’s good exercise and a chance to get out and breathe the fresh air on days when I might otherwise spend too much time sitting at a desk. Granted, this winter has been unusually taxing, but buying a snowblower, it seems to me, would jinx the rest of an epic powder season. Not to mention a succession of winters to come.

But when another 3 inches piled up in little more than an hour this week, a day after we’d shoveled out from the preceding storm, I relented.

It was only word that a snowblower is harder to come by at this point than exposed lawn that sent us back outside, shovels in hand.


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