This is part three of a series about preparing for winter in Tahoe. In the first two parts of this series, I discussed how to prep your car and home for cold and snowy conditions. If you missed the first two installments, you can find part one here and part two here.
The day after I wrote part two of this series last week, we woke up to a foot of snow at our house in Truckee. Snow isn’t unheard of in October, but the amount exceeded weather predictions and we were forced to scramble to get our snowblower up and running. This early snowfall was a good reminder that it’s important to be prepared for managing snow starting in the late fall.
After our initial struggle to clear our driveway was handled, I sat down to make this list for developing a snow management plan. Learn from my mistakes, and follow this list now so that you’re not caught off guard when the next big storm hits.
Make and Implement a Snow Management Plan
- Make a decision about a plow service.
- Determining if you’re going to pay for a plow service is one of the most important decisions in your snow management plan. If you do decide to make the investment, it will significantly cut down the time you’ll need to spend clearing your driveway. That being said, even with a plow service, you won’t get away with zero shoveling. Large storms can dump snow for hours or days and many plow services only come to your driveway once a day, so keep that in mind when making your plan!
- Gather and inspect your snow tools
- Decide what tools you’re going to use to manage snow this year. At a minimum, you will need a good snow shovel. Make sure these tools are accessible starting the last week of October at the latest. You’ll want your snow tools ready before the first snowfall so that you’re not searching through storage to find a shovel during the first storm. Some of the tools I use for managing the snow include:
- Test and tune up your snowblower before the first snowfall
- It’s a good idea to fill your snowblower with fresh gas, turn it on, and let it run for a few minutes before the first snowfall. After sitting idle for several months, it might take a few tries to get your snowblower up and running. You’ll also want to make sure any repairs or maitenance is done well before the first snowfall. Businesses that repair snowblowers get very busy once the snow starts coming down.
- If you’re using a snowblower, stock up on an extra gallon or two of gas
- What’s worse than not having a snowblower? Having a snowblower with no gas! It’s one of the most frustrating and easily avoidable mistakes of winter snow management. Grab yourself a gas can and fill it up so that you’re prepared when your snowblower starts running low on fuel.
- Assign snow clearing ownership to members of your household
- One of the most important parts of planning for snow is knowing who is going to do the work and when. For example, my husband typically clears the driveway in the morning while I do the front porch and back deck. If we have a big storm and heavy snowfall continues throughout the day, I’ll clear the driveway again in the afternoon while Josh is at work. You don’t want to be running late to work only to discover a giant berm is in your driveway because no one took responsbility for clearing it.
Remember, snow is a blessing here in Tahoe. With a little planning, you’re guaranteed to delight in each snowfall rather than succumbing to the frustration that many experience when they aren’t prepared.
Let it snow! 🙂