Several times every winter, I go through a little mental exercise — which would I rather suffer through, very cold weather and no  snow, or lots of snow but mild temperatures.

After the last couple of days, guess which way I’m leaning.

Bring on the cold, baby, but keep the damn snow to yourself.

I just spent about 45 backbreaking minutes trying to get my walks and driveway passable. If it weren’t so crippling and potentially heart-attack inducing, I’d say it was good exercise. But if it was just cold, I’d be comfortably sitting in the house, complaining about how cold it is.

So cold wins… until the next deep freeze.

Snow is hell, particularly in Edmonton, where snow removal seems to be a perennial issue. You’d think we’d know how to handle snow, but no. Seems we can’t even figure out how much has fallen. The Edmonton Sun today actually said “5 cm of the white stuff” (yes, they said ‘the white stuff’) had paralyzed the city. Now, I’m not an expert on the metric system, but I’m pretty sure we had at least 5 cm by noon yesterday. So, I went to the Environment Canada website, which told me that we had 1 mm of snow. Yes, millimeter, which is the way they measure rain. If Environment Canada doesn’t know, then I guess the Sun can be forgiven for guessing at 5 cm. I read elsewhere it was 12 cm, so it appears measuring snow is a ‘take a wild stab at’ it science.

Whatever it was, Edmonton, as always, seems to be having a hell of a time moving it off the roads. The city has 150 private snow removal pieces of equipment on standby for this kind of eventually, but only 100 responded. So what happened to the other 50? There are two options:

a) it was too snowy and cold for them to go out, or;

b) they had other, better paying jobs.

If the answer is a), the city should never hire them again. If the answer is b) the city should dig a little deeper, or make them sign agreement that city jobs will come first. Maybe one of our city councillors will look into this (hint, hint).

Whatever, folks, remember one thing about snow: it goes away. Eventually. It may be months and months from now, but it will be gone. And we’ll get the last laugh.

In the meantime, enjoy hell. Sorr, that should be ‘enjoy winter’.


3 thoughts on “Reflections on winter. It’s not pretty.

  1. Everytime I read a comment like this it really irritates me. No wonder our children now have the so called ABC life style – In case you do not know it yet it reads Anywhere But Canada!!
    Comments like yours are responsible for the chronic complaining that is now affecting a lot of citizens in our city. Instead of complaining about snow removal you should look into your atittude towards your own city and country. Canada is a cold country and we shoudl find ways of being happier within what we have. I would suggest you move if you cannot do that and choose a very hot place without water or safety and jobs and then as the good journalist you are let us know how you do? I bet that it is much better than shovelling snow once in a while! Geez

  2. I would have to respectfully disagree with you on this issue. The snow is what makes the winter in the Edmonton area bearable. I cannot imagine spending 6 months of the year cooped up inside the house complaining about how cold it is. Sure the snow can make driving treacherous, and yeah it has the potential to give you a heart attack or a blown out back. On the bright side however, the snow allows us an opportunity to transcend into our childhood days. Next time you are outside struggling to shovel the walk as so many of us do, take a few minutes and look around. Remember snow angels, snowmen, building a fort and having a snowball fight, or tobogganing down that old hill. Those memories are something that every Edmontonian should have. It is something that sets us apart from most people, the ability to take something that paralyzes other areas of the world and make it into our fondest memories. All in all, if you are to survive winter in Edmonton embrace the snow and the cold, get outside and make the most of it.

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