megasnow vs. shovelator.

When you live in the Snow Belt, and your driveway is longer than, say, a hundred feet, a snowblower is pretty much a necessity.  Being mechanical things with engines, snowblowers do fail to work every once in a while, however.  Due to the nature of the thing, you tend to discover that the snowblower won’t do its job right in the middle of a snowfall that necessitates the use of that snowblower. 

We have the super-extended warranty on ours, and it has saved us from repair expenses three times already, including a broken auger axle ($300), and a replacement carburetor ($300).  Unfortunately, the service appointments are usually booked a week or three in advance, which means that Mr. Snowblower gets to take a long nap under a tarp in the driveway while I have to either shovel my back into disintegration, or pay the plow guy $40 a pop to clear our driveway.   After the last episode of that nature, I started looking around for a low-tech backup, for those times when the snowblower is sitting on blocks and waiting for the Sears repair dude, or for scenarios where a 9HP two-stage snowblower is overkill.

What I found was the Mother of All Snow Shovels:

yukon.jog

This puppy is called a snow sleigh.  It works like a plow, and it can clear ludicrous amounts of snow in one pass.  On an even surface, and when you have a spot to dump the snow, this thing is actually faster and more efficient than a snowblower.  You push until the trough is full, slide it to the spot where you want to dump the snow, and then give it a little shove to slide the snow off the trough.  The sleigh runs on little plastic skids that have very little friction on snow and ice.  The design of the thing means you can clear huge amounts of snow without having to strain your back—you never have to lift the sleigh off the ground, and do all your clearing work with your legs.  The front of the sleigh trough is reinforced with metal, and the handle bar is one piece of thick steel tubing. 

This thing really works best when the snow on the ground is 1-6” of powdery stuff, but it does well with wet snow, too.  It’s also better for gravel driveways than the snowblower, since it doesn’t chew up and toss the top layer of gravel.  In foot-deep snow, I’d still get out the snowblower first, but the snow sleigh can clear a lot more snow than you’d expect.  It’s the perfect complement to the snowblower in my case, and it makes a more than adequate backup.  With this, I can actually clear the entire driveway if I have to, something that’s not possible with a plain old snow shovel.  For someone who only has a small driveway or stretch of sidewalk to worry about, this would make a great low-cost alternative to a snowblower.

In the future, I’ll give one of these to any friend or family member who decides to move to New England.  One of those super-shovels would have saved me a lot of grief and back pain when we moved here right at the start of snow season three years ago.

28 thoughts on “megasnow vs. shovelator.

  1. Paul B says:

    I tried one of these and for light stuff it is not to bad. Little flimsey for my tastes, but I do think it is better on the old back.

  2. Fodder4Thought says:

    I’ve heard of people running hoses pumping heated antifreeze underneath their driveways to make shoveling unnecessary.

    Is this feasible for you?

  3. Huh. How is it on gravel? We got one of those offset shovel deals, and my back has thanked me for it — but it’s still hard work.

  4. abnormalist says:

    So in Michigan we have the Lower Peninsula (where I live) and the Upper Peninsula (Also known as the U. P. never the UP, but the U. P.). For some reason (probably population density, not really sure though) you never refer to those in the Lower as being from the L.P., but those from the U. P. get the added label. As such the people from the U.P. are known as Yoopers (rhymes with coopers, but starts with you)

    The reason all of this matters, is the U.P. has always been home of massive snow, and the snow scoop, has traditionally been the way to handle it, to the point where we’ve always referred to that as a yooper scoop.

    I’ve had one in my garage for years. Lesson learned though, that big upside down U handle, can split the forehead of a 10 year old wide open if your not careful and tip it over rather than slide it to empty it. So take care if you let the little ones use it.

  5. I really want to like the idea, but we have four-foot-tall snow mountains on the edge of the driveway, so the snow needs to be lifted and thrown anyway.

    • abnormalist says:

      If you use it initially, you dont get the large piles of snow. You push the handle down and slide over the edge, then deposit the snow several feet farther back.

      if you want to you can dump the snow at the end, just beware what I said earlier, that handle can come back with some force 🙂

  6. perlhaqr says:

    All told, as fancy as that looks, I think I prefer my solution to this problem; namely, living in New Mexico. 😀

    We don’t have grass and we don’t have trees, but mostly, we don’t have snow, either. And I do get the occasional live action coyote and road-runner show.

  7. Kristopher says:

    Can you harness your dachshunds to pull it?

  8. MauserGirl says:

    Where did you locate the snow sled shovel thingamabobber? I want one of those!

    • Marko Kloos says:

      Click on the picture…I linked it to the Amazon page where I ordered ours.

      • Chris says:

        Oh, well that works. Hadn’t occurred to me to click on the photo. LOL I ended up buying an ergonomic snow shovel about that size tonight at the local Aubuchon, so I’m set. It’s no shovelator but it’ll do. At least for those portions of the shovel-able area my landlord doesn’t plow.

  9. Ancient Woodsman says:

    Long, long time ago Dad had one of those made of wood with metal trim in all the necessary places. Worked like a charm, and great for giving the kiddies a ride in if they are small enough.

    That was with central New York lake-effect snow – where the 3 seasons were winter, a couple weeks of rain in late May, a couple weeks of sun in the summer (maybe), followed by winter again. A few feet in a storm really wasn’t abnormal.

    My brother-in-law has one like you pictured. Wonderful tool for clearing roofs.

    For MauserGirl, go to Agway/Tractor Supply/Canadian Tire (whatever) and see if they have Garant tools. Probably can order one: http://www.garant.com/html/en/produits/produit.php?idProduit=755&typeProduit=famille

  10. Giraffe says:

    I don’t see this working, as there is now almost five feet of snow beside the driveway. The snow on the driveway has to be added on top of the pile. Only a snowblower, or a tractor with a loader, is going to clear my driveway.

    • John Peddie says:

      When you get your first few snowfalls of the year, you push the snow well to the side of the driveway.

      That leaves room just beside the drive-you’ll need it later in the winter.

      If you don’t move the early snow far enough away, you may end up with high steep snowbanks, and a lot of unnecessary work, i.e. trapped by your own snowpiles.

  11. USCitizen says:

    See the True Temper Ergo 24 in Snow Sleigh.

    Same picture, different sticker, lower price. $44.97 at Home Depot

  12. Mike says:

    We had one while living in Northern Virginia and were amazed at how quickly our driveway could be cleared with it. On days when schools were closed, my teenage son would make upwards of $300.00 just going door to door in our subdivision offering to clear driveways for $15.00 a pop. He would be home before noon with a wad of cash.

  13. Fred2 says:

    I mostly use a scraper I bought up north long time ago, it’s dieing now, and I need a new one.

    I went to a hardware store…not one single snow shovel that was worth the money: flimsy, lightweight crap

    Any suggestions on shovels that will accept a 250lb man shoving and lifting them?

  14. LittleRed1 says:

    Hmmm. I may have to think about getting my folks one of those snow sliders. They don’t get much snow, but it sounds like winters will be getting worse for the next few years where they live, and my father is not getting any younger. He still uses the hickory and steel shovels they bought when we lived in Nebraska back, um, well more years ago than a lady cares to mention.

  15. farmist says:

    @fred2 I use a #14 aluminum grain scoop

  16. Fred2 says:

    Farmist, I’ll look at that. Thanks.

    though “aluminium” and shovel in my world usually ends in “one season before it died” – the aluminum denting at the edge when it meets concrete/ice and ripping when it gets stuck. If it’s thick enough I can pound it out again, but none of the aluminium I’ve seen so far was anything but “adedquate as occasional use car shovel”

  17. Jared says:

    Sounds like you didn’t get a Honda blower.

  18. Lissa says:

    Just sent one to my folks in MA🙂

  19. Marja says:

    Yep, familiar from when I was a teenager in the 70’s and my parents decided it was a time I started to earn my food. Nice to learn what they are called in English.

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