Smart preparation makes winter more enjoyable

The winter winds may be harsh, but those who live in snowy, cold climates know there is still charm to be found in the season. When you’re relaxing in front of a warm fire or enjoying a rich meal with a gathering of friends, it’s easy to forget the wintry weather just outside the door.

But to keep winter weather concerns at bay, a little preparation can go a long way. As the flakes start to fall, it’s important to get outside and ensure that your home is safe for you, your visitors, neighbors and passersby. While these tasks likely aren’t at the top of your favorite winter activities list, they will save you from bigger headaches as the season progresses. And if you take a smart approach to them, you’ll be able to get back inside sooner, to enjoy the snowy scene in the warmth of your home.

To make your winter weather chores faster and more effective, follow these tips for snow removal.

* Dress for the weather and the task. If it’s cold enough to be snowing, staying warm will be a priority. However, there’s more to consider than just wrapping yourself in scarves and layers of sweaters. The tasks you’re taking on are highly active, so you want to make sure that you won’t overheat under the layers. Choose breathable clothing, like cotton or breathable synthetic insulation layers, to wear under your coat, so that you’re not sweating out in the cold. Additionally, avoid loose clothing or things that dangle – they can easily get caught in equipment, causing injury. Tuck in scarf ends or use a neck gaiter instead.

* Choose shoes that prevent slips. This isn’t a job for your ordinary pair of sneakers. Falling snow and sleet get slippery fast, so it’s important to wear shoes that will keep you on your feet. Shoes with deep treads, made of a material that grips well are the best option. If your winter boots are worn from years of use, it’s time to invest in a new pair that will make working outside more pleasant and safe.

* Let your equipment do most of the snow removal work. Shovels can work well for doing occasional touch ups, but when you have a lot of ground to cover, the job is faster and less physically demanding when you use a motorized snow thrower. The type of machine you’ll need depends on the size of the area you need to clear and the snow load in your area. Husqvarna makes both single-stage, which is best for moderate to heavy snowfall, and dual-stage snow throwers, which can take on the heaviest snow falls. The single stage ST 121E is ideal for smaller spaces because of its compact size and easy maneuverability. If you have more ground to cover and heavier snow, the 1827EXLT, a dual-stage machine, makes clearing long driveways and other large spaces fast and essentially effortless. And with a new trac-drive system, the 1827EXLT can operate on tougher terrain and more extreme conditions.

* Don’t let it sit. It pays to act quickly when it comes to clearing snowfall. Of course, you want to avoid driving on any snow that’s accumulated on your driveway or where you park – doing so will pack the snow down and eventually create icy ruts. But clearing snow early and often on walkways is equally important. If your city is experiencing blizzard conditions with big snowfall totals, it’s a good idea to clear your walks throughout the storm, which will help you avoid dealing with packed-in, heavy snow. Once you’ve got everything cleared, add salt or sand for extra traction and a bit of melting power – just be sure it’s safe for pets and people and won’t destroy any plants adjacent to where you’re spreading it.

There’s no denying that there are some headaches that come along with winter. But if you find smart ways to cut down on the time you spend laboring outside, you’ll be able to enjoy the season as you should – inside your cozy home with friends and family.

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