Tip: don't let the snow build up!
Tip: don't let the snow build up!

We have learned just how ill prepared we are when it comes to real snow. Vancouver had 89cm of snow in December. To put this in perspective this is more than five times the December average (16cm) and is double the annual average for Vancouver.

Vancouver has blown its snow clearing budget, having spent $2.8 million (twice the budget). And even at the beginning of this week you could only expect to find the major roads cleared. All the side roads we passed were impassable.

We learned a few things over this period.

Keep clearing the drive way. Heavy snowfall might mean shoveling twice a day or more. If you let it pile up then it will be much harder to clear later on.

When you are clearing it, consider carefully where you are going to create your new snowbank. Our neighbour cleared her drive and left a barrier halfway across ours. That would have been ok if we had not created another barrier on the other side. We eventually had to dig my car out of a 3ft snowbank of our own making.

Snowplows are great at keeping the main roads clear, but in so doing they tend to make a pile of snow on each side of the road. If you are parked off the side of the road, you might need to dig your way out. When you return the snowplow may have been back again and made a new snow barrier stopping you returning to your parking spot.

Bad weather often brings power cuts. We had a spectacular display from the nearby hydro pole when a falling branch took out the power lines. Our neighbour came by to see if we were ok as she had seen so many sparks she thought we must be on fire. Luckily we only lost power for half a day.

I am sure there are lots of other tips I could add, but like most Vancouverites I don’t expect snow to be an inconvenience – more a recreational choice. Unless the weather pattern changes substantially Vancouverites will remain amateurs in living through harsh winters.

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