Although it may seem to be a simple chore, there is an art to snow removal. It’s easy to make the job much harder on yourself if you do not know what you are doing. Over the three generations we at Mirage Landscaping have been tending to our residential and commercial snow removal properties, we have been continuously developing, honing, and adjusting our approaches so that our clients receive the very best service, our employees are not wasting energy or placing themselves in danger of injury, and our equipment functions at the highest level.
Be strategic in your attack
If there are several centimetres of accumulation expected, we recommend not waiting until all the snow has fallen to get started. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it is far easier to do a quick, light shovel a few times rather than one, large heavy shovel. Never do more than you are comfortable with at any one time and always make sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Proper winter boots are also essential for providing additional grip and stability.
Start shovelling the second you step out the door. Snow that has been stepped on and flattened is much harder to remove and can easily build up and create a hazard on doorsteps. Leave your shovel near your door and clear out an area for you to move around immediately. A heavy-duty broom works well, too, to create a landing platform from which you can start to work.
Then, shovel in front of yourself to get to the part of your property that sees the most foot traffic as quickly as possible. This is usually the sidewalk. As sidewalks are where most slip-and-fall accidents happen, you’ll want to tend to them first, before too many people have had a chance to trample the snow down. Once you have your main thoroughfare cleared, you can make your way back to shovel the rest of your pathways. Unless you need your driveway to access your sidewalk, it’s best to leave it until last, and remember to brush your car off first!
In Calgary, snow removed from private pathways and driveways must be piled on that private property, while only snow removed from public walkways can be piled on the road.
Tips for safe shovelling
Snow removal is very physical, and if done properly it can be excellent physical exercise. The problem is that many do not do it properly, which makes it very, very easy to injure yourself when shovelling. The right technique is essential for snow removal … without it, muscle and back injuries are common. There is also the very real risk of a heart attack. According to OHS Canada, on days where there had been 20 centimetres or more of snowfall there was a 34 per cent increased risk for death in men due to heart attack.
In addition, cold conditions can make you more prone to hurting yourself. Make sure you are fully warmed up before stepping outside be doing a few stretches. Start out slowly and don’t rush.
- Keep a low profile
- Try to concentrate your balance in your body’s central core
- Use your legs, not your back, when lifting a full shovel
- Plant your legs and pivot when emptying a shovelful of snow into a pile; don’t twist your body using your back
- Avoid jerking or extending your arms when emptying your shovel
- Always shovel with the wind
Your choice of shovel for snow removal is also very important. We like using lighter plastic (yet still sturdy) shovels of different sizes. The larger scoop shovels are good for clearing wider areas such as driveways and pathways, while smaller bucket shovels (with a bit of a side on them) are better for detail work and throwing snow.
Use your snow blower properly
A snow blower can be a very useful tool, but they can take a little trial and error before you figure out the best way to use them. You will have to experiment to figure out the best speed at which to walk so that you get the ultimate arc of snow. This can often depend on how much snow has fallen and what kind.
For driveways, clear a path across the top near your garage door and spray snow into the middle. Then clear another path down the middle of the driveway and along the bottom to make a large “I.” Then head up the centre again, throwing snow to the outside, make a U-turn and come back down the other side of the “I.” This way you won’t have to adjust your chute.
Professional snow removal in Calgary from Mirage
If you want to avoid the cold and save your labour, you can always count on the snow removal professionals at Mirage Landscaping. Our snow removal crews work around the clock to keep your home or business clear and fully compliant with all Calgary bylaws.
- Prompt services for both residential and commercial properties
- Expert crews with advanced snow removal equipment
- Service for parking lots, driveways, walkways, and ice management
- Sanding services for added vehicle traction on paved surfaces
You’ll be surprised to learn just how affordable our snow removal services are. Get started today by contacting us for a fast, free custom price quote.