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Kevin O'Shea shovels out a neighbor's driveway on Province Lake Road in East Wakefield. (Larissa Mulkern)

In NH, snowblowers are king and kids don't shovel for dough

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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