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Snow Removal

16 Tips to Make Shoveling Snow Easier

By November 3, 2022February 24th, 2023No Comments
lady shoveling snow off the driveway

Winter. There are so many things to love about winter. Pristine white snow blanketing the trees and landscape. Hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. Board games. Decorating your home and tree for the Christmas season. The anticipation of the holidays with time off from work and spending time with loved ones. Winter activities such as tobogganing, skating, skiing and snow-shoeing. Building snowmen and snowball fights.

Winter brings such a peacefulness. We love this quote from Lewis Carroll about winter, “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.'”

Winter also comes with its downfalls. Icy snow covered roads. Cooler temperatures. Snow covering our sidewalks and driveways that needs to be relocated. The dreaded shoveling snow.

We can’t help driving on winter roads or by asking Mother Nature to warm the temperature, but we can help to make shoveling snow a bit easier with a few tips:

16 Tips to Make Shoveling Snow Easier This Winter:

The Right Equipment

1. If you have a leaf blower, use it to clear light fluffy snow.

2. If you have a snow blower, make sure it is working properly before you actually need to use it in order to avoid having to shovel if the snow blower isn’t working properly.

3. If you have a snow blower, use the ‘smart snow blowing method’. “The best method to snow blow your driveway is to start in the middle and throw the snow toward one edge of the driveway. Then, make a U-turn and come back down the other side and continue to alternate. This way you won’t have to adjust the chute as often and shouldn’t need a second pass.” (Source: Family Handy Man)

4. Invest in a good shovel. Some shovels have handles for pushing snow, for lifting snow, a foot rest to help you provide extra power to break up ice, etc. A plastic shovel will also be easier to lift when filled with snow than a  heavy metal shovel.

Make a Plan

5. During a snowfall, shovel frequently, rather than waiting for the snow to stop.

6. Shovel your walks before the snow melts and refreezes. This will save you a job later.

7. This is common sense, but if your car is parked on your driveway, clean the snow off your car first and then clean your driveway after.

8. When clearing your driveway, shovel from the centre and work your way out. This will create a lighter load rather than starting at the top of your driveway and working your way down.

Prep for shoveling and shoveling techniques

9. Put on ice traction devices to provide better traction and prevent falling on ice.

10. Stretch before shoveling. Be sure to stretch your legs, back, arms and shoulders. Don’t fool yourself; shoveling snow is exercise. It is an excellent physical activity which works your upper and lower body. When you’re shoveling, think about the calories you are wearing off. Shoveling snow is a dynamic cardio exercise, working the muscles in your arms, shoulders, legs and core. “Most adults can expect to burn nearly 200 calories for every 30 minutes shoveling snow by hand”, according to the Harvard Heart Letter, a newsletter published by Harvard Medical School.

11. Hold the shovel close. “To prevent injury, keep your shovel close to your body. This will prevent overreaching, which causes undue strain to your arms, shoulders, and back.” (Source: Bob Vila)

12. If it was a heavy snowfall, consider lifting and moving the snow in layers in order to create a lighter load. A shovel full of snow weights approximately 5 lbs depending on how big your shovel is and if it is heavy or light snow. (A standard snow shovel is approx. 1.5 sq. ft. and weighs about 5.7 lbs.)

13. Use proper snow shoveling techniques. Bend your knees and lift with your legs. Check out this article for more tips to protect your back when shoveling, “Protect Your Back! Avoid Injury When Shoveling Snow”.

General Tips

14. “When the heavy, wet snow proves difficult to shovel, spray some cooking spray on your shovel. It will help you move through the snow quickly and prevent it from sticking to your shovel.” (Source: Family Handy Man)

15. Take turns. Make shoveling snow a ‘family effort’ and split up the task between those in your household who can help. Teamwork makes short work of difficult tasks.

16. Delegate. If shoveling snow is too much for you, delegate to a family member or hire a professional snow removal company.

Remember, practice makes perfect. By the end of winter you will remember all the tricks you learned last winter, have built muscle and stamina and shoveling will be much simpler.

If you’d like some professional help this winter with snow removal, we offer snow and ice management services in the Calgary and Red Deer areas. Learn more about this service here.


Bob Vila, 7 Snow Shoveling Lessons No One Ever Taught You

Family Handy Man, 10 Great Snow and Ice Removal Hacks – The Family Handyman