Snow removal dilemma. Seeking advice/opinions.

dooley(Alberta,Canada)January 24, 2012


Senior with a mild heart condition. Precludes a lot of heavy lifting, pushing.

Driveway : 900 feet gravel (1/4" road crush packed).

So far we've enjoyed the luxury of a neighbour clearing our driveway with his loader/grader/reciprocating tractor . However , it now sounds as if he's about to retire and we'll lose his services.

We can get the local MD to clear the driveway for a nominal fee but it's a hit and miss , get around to it when we can proposition. After a heavy snowfall , we might be snowed in for days. We do have an AWD SUV so unless the snowfall is extreme , we should at least be able to get in and out, but eventually the driveway will have to be cleared.

The MD will not clear parking areas though and our driveway is L shaped with an area we and the fuel truck use to back into to turn around. The total areas to be cleared here would be approximately the same as a two car driveway about 150' long and the turn around area is about 40' x 30'

My thoughts are a snow blower to clear the area in front of the house , the turn around area and possibly even the driveway. One thing worth pointing out about the driveway though is that unless there is a substantial amount of snow (6"-8") we have simply been driving in and out which results in a packed trail and the snow falls accumulate.

Thinking the blower for the area in front of the house and turn around area.

Using the MD to clear the driveway but in a pinch (real heavy snow fall) could make a couple of passes up and down so we could at least get out if we jacked to blower up to pass over the hard packed trail (if there is one).

I'm looking at a 420cc 45"(or something in that range) 2 stage blower.

Questions are:

1) Do you think it would do the job for the house and turn around areas.

2) What about the 900' driveway? Would something like that eat its way through a packed trail if there were one? (My understanding is that the augers would chew it up and suck it in.). That would do away with having to be dependent on the MD.

Opinions and comments appreciated.


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Snow throwers double as gravel tossers! No matter how hard packed or frozen the driveway is--count on gravel being thrown at speed, by using a snow thrower. Yes, you might be able to set the thrower up a bit, but all it takes is one hummock of gravel, and its:"Look out katie, bar the door"! And everything looks like it has "Chicken Pox!"
If yer driveway is paved, then a snow thrower/blower is a fine tool to use! But, gravel?? Not good.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 1:51PM
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The "gravel" is 1/4" Road Crush that's packed about as hard as pavement , and a few chunks of 1/4" gravel going into the bush aren't really a concern.

There are no buildings along the driveway and the nearest neighbor is about 1/2 mile away.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Most snowblowers won't eat packed snow for beans. If you can avoid driving over it then the blower will work great. As fine as your driveway gravel is I wouldn't worry much about picking some up w/ the blower. Just be sure it won't hit vehicles or buildings. 900' is a long way behind a blower but if you feel up to it go ahead.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Dooley: I would think 900 ' of drive might be a little taxing . The gravel is not an issue if you allow at least a 1/2" or 1" snow base to become packed. If you choose this route ensure to buy a substantial unit with a form of power or directional steering . A small (used) 4-wheel drive with a plow or tractor with a blower might be a better option .

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:35AM
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Unfortunately, you're looking at a large/expensive machine any way you go. Used machines are available, are you "handy" to keep one running for use only during the winter and do you have storage for it?

I'd consider a two step approach, have someone plow the driveway, and get a smaller snow thrower for around the house. You commented that you're a "senior" you're not going to get younger, so consider a purchase in view of today and 5-10 years down the road. I know I'm also a senior and don't feel like it, a fall on the ice and a couple of cracked ribs last weekend reminded me though..:-(

Good luck,


    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 8:54AM
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