In NH, snowblowers are king and kids don't shovel for dough
Kevin O'Shea shovels out a neighbor's driveway on Province Lake Road in East Wakefield. (Larissa Mulkern)
All three of Allen Trombley's snowblowers got a well-deserved break this winter — that is until last week's storm dumped nearly a foot of fluffy white stuff on the region.
Trombley, of Rochester, owns a snowblower attached to a lawn tractor, a walk-behind unit, and a hand-held snowblower for tighter spots. He was among 420 respondents to a Union Leader survey earlier this winter regarding choice of methods for snow removal. Contacted on Friday, he said he enjoyed the mild winter after having suffered through the past several.
“Seems like we've spent the last five years shoveling every weekend. We bought two new snowmobiles this year and only rode them once,” he said. “To have a break from the snow was OK with me, though.
“Global warming? I don't care; I'll take it,” he said.
In Gilford, Kimberly Young said she usually shovels her 50-yard driveway, but it just so happens her husband, Steven, borrowed his boss' snowplow-equipped truck last week.
“We got to have our driveway plowed for the first time in three years,” she said. “We have a huge driveway.''
The Youngs intend to use their tax return to purchase a snowblower at the end of the season. “At least we'll have it for next year,” Kimberly said.
Once they make that purchase, the Youngs will join the majority of survey respondents — 59.1 percent, or 246 individuals — who use a snowblower as their main removal tool.
In the survey, 24 percent, or 100 individuals, said they use a shovel or snow scoop, 13.2 percent use their own snowplow, and 13.7 percent hire someone else with a snowplow. Of respondents, only 26 people — 6.3 percent — have ever hired a neighborhood youth to shovel a driveway
“Have tried hiring neighborhood kids, but they don't want to shovel,” said one respondent.
“When I was growing up, we would go to the neighbors and ask if he could shovel their snow off for money. None of the kids seem to do that anymore,” said another.
One respondent shared a different experience.
“There are also some kids who live a few houses away that are always cruisin' the neighborhood looking for driveways to clear … these are the same kids that in the summer come around asking if you want your car washed. Nice, industrious kids who are going to be great workers one day,” said the respondent.
Reviews were mixed on snowplow usage. Several respondents said plows damage their driveways or leave huge mounds of snow.
Most people — 45.8 percent — said it takes them 30 to 60 minutes to remove a foot of snow. A hefty 16.7 percent said they spend 90 minutes, and 8 percent said they spend two hours or more removing snow.
Those surveyed were satisfied with their methods; nearly 92 percent said they were, anyway.
Snow removal tools of choice may have collected some dust this winter, but Kimberly Young said this season was a rarity.
“I doubt we'll get such a mild winter again,” she said.
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