Experts explain how to shovel snow and de-ice properly (VIDEO)

Jan 7 2017, 7:17 am

With more snow in the weekend forecast and the way Vancouver seemingly lost its collective mind dealing with everything from icy roads to a salt shortage last month, it’s time to review some basics when it comes to properly dealing with snow and ice.

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In fact, a video on the City of Vancouver’s Youtube channel features some expert advice from Science World’s Samsara Marriott on how to deal with winter weather.

“The number one thing I want to emphasize for people is that when we know there’s another snowfall coming – or rain that’s going to turn into ice – the most effective thing we can is get on clearing that snow ice away as soon as possible before it gets a chance to take hold,” she said.

She also recommends a combination of salt and sand in icy situations.”The reason for that is that salt and sand act in different ways to help us clear the ice and make things less slippery.”

The way sand and salt is applied is another important factor.

“You don’t need a lot of salt and sand on your walkways in order to help break up the ice and improve the traction for walking,” she explained. “Spread it out there’s no point in putting big chunks of it on the ground – typically you’ll find that a little bit goes a long way.”

Proper technique is key

Justin Wilson, a physiotherapist at City Sports & Physiotherapy suggests starting out with the right footwear and the right shovel.

“The first thing I would think about is to always wear good footwear because it is probably going to be really slippery out there. And always use a shovel that fits your body,” he told Daily Hive.

Once you have those things set, Wilson says to always shovel on both sides of your body.

“A lot of people always shovel towards their dominant side. But it makes sense to shovel both directions. Really use your try to use your legs and not your back,” he said.

Some more tips Wilson suggests to prevent injury:

  • When shovelling, keep in mind that you should be bending down to a bit of a squat when you are lifting the snow.
  • Take breaks every 10-15 minutes or whenever you are starting to feel tired. Break up your shovelling into sections.
  • Take time before and after you shovel to stretch. Wilson suggests a brief, dynamic, warm up of upper body stretches and squats. Afterwards, do more static, holding stretches targeting your glutes and lower back

Shovelling effectively

There are also ways effectively shovel snow. Daily Hive reached out to Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) in North Vancouver to find out what shovels techniques work best.

“Using a plastic shovel with a wider scoop is good because (it can) push away the snow quickly. But it’s not the best to get the ice off of the driveway,” one MEC employee told Daily Hive.

To remove ice, try using a flat metal shovel, which effectively chips away at the frozen stuff.

Pete Bigby, also known as the Phantom Shovel on Twitter, also offers some advice as well.

“I have personally got an axe or a shovel,” he said. “A sledgehammer and a shovel would work much better, though. Just [have] something heavy to break the ice and something to clear away the bits afterwards.”

He echoed Marriott’s thoughts on what to do when the flakes start to fall, and ice buildup begins.

“Get out of the salt lines. Stop clinging to the salt,” he said. “Just get yourself a tool and get to work.”

– With files from Simran Singh

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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