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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The highly anticipated and long awaited Snow Plowing Report, Right?

OK, so I haven’t been running for 2 reasons. I have been plowing snow every night and also my foot is still injured. I haven’t gone to the doctor, but it is getting better each day, so as long as it keeps snowing I won’t run and it can’t get hurt further. (that’s the theory anyway)

Housecleaning first:

  • I will put together the survey for the poster contest soon, I promise
  • I have my Mustard Bath Contest going, go enter!
  • Today is the last day to enter the GU-stmas Stocking contest, winner announced tomorrow.
  • I will blog soon about what made me dress up like this…


I teased you a few days ago with a garmin map of one of my parking lots I plow. Some of you seemed to enjoy that, so here is a full report from that night.

This was the 3rd night in a row (Wednesday last week) that we went out. I stopped for coffee at the Good Earth Cafe in my neighbourhood, which is in the top right of the map (yellow dot), and that is where I started the garmin. 11 hours and 76 miles (123km) later I stopped it at the same place. I’ve also numbered the lots on the main map so I can reference where we are as I report. Note: the satellite photos are NOT from the night we plowed, for the purposes of this report… The Daylight and the greenery kinda gives that away.

Warning. This job is not as glamorous as it seems. While I wouldn’t dissuade your children from pursuing a rewarding career in snow movement engineering, I would advise a cautious approach, as it can be quite addicting and fun given the right circumstances and radio station! And remember Kids, do your homework and eat your vegetables, and some day you can be a plow monkey too!


Like all good reports, first the stats. the time is 11:50, but 50 minutes of that was sitting in Good Earth for breakfast before heading home at the end of my shift. So 11 hours was the full shift. Elevation/Pace/and Calories are pretty unimportant, as I am in a truck, although the calories could be what I take in in one shift as I tend to eat very bad in the truck… The Heartrate was pretty telling. I think it means I am in OK shape. 61 average with a spike of 105. The spikes came when I was eating donuts at Tim Hortons Coffee Shop would have to get out of the truck and help load the Skid Steer on the Trailer. AND I was actually running when the best pace got down to 1:00 per mile. really.

OH, here is my best Garmin 305 tip ever. If the Garmin beeps low battery and tells you to hit '<Enter>, Don't do it! If you hit enter, your Garmin will shut down very quickly. If you leave that note up there, it will keep recording for you, and not quit! I have done this on runs and also on this plow night. The warning came up at about the 9 hour mark and it was still recording at the 11:50 mark when I finally shut it down! The only down side is that it makes it difficult to see the data with the warning up there, but it’s still better than not having any Garmin at all.


This is pretty much what I look at all night… Like my tape deck?


And without further adieu, my first short film on snow plowing… enjoy! Watch this through and you will be rewarded with me singing! badly!

OK, the deets: Here we are 21kms away from my house. I am ALMOST at the first parking lot. Gotta get gas first. The mileage in the truck is pretty bad while plowing. I drive about 70-80 miles in a plow night and have been averaging about $50.00 per night in fuel.


We get to the first lot and get started. Dad and I have been plowing together for a long enough time, we don’t have to figure out who does what, we just get to work. I drive around and crate a ‘line’ that he back blades bays and parking stalls to where I can reach them with the truck. While he does that, I go push snow where he isn’t needed (like the area that shows Lap 24, it is just a straight push) Once he get done back blading, then I go and start moving that snow over to where we can push it all to the pile locations. Customers are pretty picky as to where they want the piles. Can’t block off a parking spot… might be a fight in the morning… don’t want that.

So: Lot 1 on the map, about 10kms/6 miles of plowing.


This is a pic looking from Lap 27 toward Lap 30 in the map above…


On to the next lot: This one is the biggest pain in the ass as the bay that you see at Lap 41, is quite space constricted, lots of dumpsters/ truck, loading bays and then all the way around that building are cars that are scattered, making it a super pain to do a good efficient job of the lot. Notice that PIA area, Lap 41/42. It’s only 150m in lenght and I actually drive over 2kms in there, back and forth… yuck. That area is very low and sheltered too, so it gathers TONS of snow when the wind is blowing a bit. The lot across the street is easier, except on this night you can see a void of space just below Lap 34. There was a cleaning person in the building and his van was parked there. I went and banged on the windows and doors of the building but didn’t get a response. About 10 minutes later the Cops showed up and asked If I had banged on the door. Yep. Turns out the cleaner kinda pooped himself thinking there was someone trying to get in, and called 911.

So: Lot 2 on the map, about 18kms/11 miles of plowing.


here is a photo of the finished area where Lap 33 starts.


We then moved down the hill to area 3. This is by far our largest lot. It has pretty much everything. small lots, long pushes, big wide open areas, driveways, landscaped Islands, warehouses, retail and restaurants. The first plow on Monday, we didn’t get to this one until noon, so there were tons of cars in the lot. Now we make this our 3rd stop so we don’t have to manoeuvre so bloody much. The best part for me is the loop at the bottom right. High speed and lots of sliding involved there. Fun! That whole run down that backside of the building is pretty good for me as I get up into second gear and really make the snow fly! Yeah!!!

So: Lot 3 on the map, about 23kms/14 miles of plowing.


Lot 4. I hate it. Lots of cars and trucks.very uneven ground. long pushes. There is a lot of shit that the blade catches on. Whenever the blade catches on something. It’s like hitting a brick wall in the truck. The crash is very load and very violent. I typically scream like a girl when it happen followed by a string of profanities that would make a snowplow drive blush.

So: Lot 4 on the map, about 9kms/5 miles of plowing.


Hey… wanna see what it’s REALLY like out there!


Stupid Garmin. It caught us stopping for coffee and snacks at Tim Hortons.


Between these 2 lots, I was driving along and saw these awesome lights in the sky, these are just building lights and street lights reflected up into the cold air. The combination of the humidity and the cold made for a pretty cool light show. The Little Green Camera struggled to get the incredibleness of the view and I wish I had my SLR with me, but here is the result anyway…


Dad does this one by himself in the Skid Steer. Too small for the two of us. I go on a do Lot 6 on my own.


Lot 5. It a fun once as I just go round and round and round. Easy on the Transmission and easy on me! See Lap 94 at the top, the weird squiggles?? 1 stupid car parked there. Totally ruins my Zen in this lot… grrr.

So: Lot 5 on the map, about 9kms/5 miles of plowing.


Love this one. Because it’s LAST *wOoT*. It’s a pretty easy one. except when there is a Tractor Trailer in the Right hand area. Normally the lot would get plowed like the left side, but the truck was sitting there waiting to unload some pianos.

So: Lot 6 on the map, about 5kms/3 miles of plowing.


Just to the left of where it says Lap 100 above,  is this chain link fence below. How freaking big ARE the rabbits here that they bent the fence to get under? Yikes!!


So, what do you think? don’t quit your day jobs tho, all the good plow jobs are taken for now…


  1. Meatloaf!!!! SO now I'm prayin' for the end of time.... =D

    Hey, you're Canadian. Not just an Englishman or American living in Canada. Go figure. =D

    You and your dad are SKILLED. Holy toldedo.

  2. Dude..I seriously cannot handle all this snow. I have yet to see any here in the GTA..and am not looking forward to it....

  3. I find this really fascinating as I'm not familiar with snow. Thanks for sharing! Great video!

  4. So here is a challenge for you. After your foot heals and the snows melt try an ultra following your plowing route with crazy laps and all. Just stay off the rooftops, OK?

  5. So what does Dad (have not seen him named in here so far so will go with Dad) have in the CAT for tunes and heater? He set up his satellite radio in there?

  6. Even though I wasn't really "going" for any particular team that was a great game! And now I have to go for the Riders... a)Why would I go for an East team? and b)my dad is from Regina - I kind of have to. :)

  7. That is pretty cool Garminized :-)

  8. You know, I've lived in Calgary most of my life, and you always wonder how all the parking lots get cleared... you see the odd guy out there early in the morning, or sometimes mid-day if it's been a really big dump.
    Thanks for this- really interesting! Glad to hear you weren't barefoot for this, your toes would be gone!

  9. I'm a cold weather wimp so I prefer the beach over snow any day.
    My boys, however, are part polar bear and run around in shorts and flip flops almost year round and they LOVED watching your snowplowing video.
    Very entertaining! Thanks for putting it together.

  10. Sent you a FB question.... I've actually helped my dad plow the farm while he was in the tractor moving snow. Just like a lot of jobs, it is fun for a change but I could see how it could get very mind numbbing.