coldstare's picture

Ahaha! I remember the first time I was in Vancouver during a snow. I'm from winnipeg where we actually deal with snow rather than waiting for it to melt; so when it 'snowed' (it was like a centimetre, which is essentially nothing) my family took out our shovel and shoveled the driveway (when it snows like that in winnipeg it's more than likely going to ice over). We had our neighbour ask if he could borrow our shovel. We didn't understand why he didn't own one living in Canada, but being Canadian and just a nice family we let him borrow it. We were proceeded to be asked by the other next door neighbour, the one across the street and two down the street to borrow our shovel... In other words if you live in a place called the Great White North and you have a driveway, you should really own a shovel

Shadowydreamer's picture

As a fellow prairie survivor, I have to point out we often do disservice to our Vancouver'ite friends and neighbours.

Truth be told, most of us have shovels. They're just not specific snow shovels which makes clearing easier. In this day and age of penny pinching, buying a specific snow shovel for 3 days a year of work hurts our pretty little heads. So when we see a neighbour with one, its time to turn on the kettle and make nice. My parents have a snow blower. They get offered all sorts of money if they'll clear other people's drives for them.

The driving thing.. I've noticed this all across Canada, its just more blatant here. People who drive SUVs don't understand basic physics. They think because their 4x4 can go faster that it can stop faster. Unfortunately, not. Also, the whole 'sort of melts and then refreezes into an ice rink' problem makes (and keeps) things interesting. Torontonians mock us and our looking out the window of day two of snow and saying we'll take the bus .. right up until they drive on the ice rink themselves. And also consider, we don't need winter tires 96% of the year .. so, being the people who need all their dollars to buy coffee and snow board, we skip those too. Adds to the fun, don't you think?

I'm just waiting for Jam's rendition of the falling ice chunks of doooooom from our brand new bridge. :D

BlueValkyrie27's picture

I'm from western Pennsylvania. Labeled the "snow belt," here we get lake effect snow coming down from Lake Erie and Ohio valley snow. Basically from October until March there's a minimum 4 inches of snow. It melts, it falls fresh, it piles up, it melts, etc. We strap on the snow tires and settle into the routine, with a fair amount of grumbling of course. It takes quite a lot before the snow affects school or commerce.


Fair enough, but you get the nice, dry snow that the entire interior gets to deal with. I worked in Sudbury during Fall of 2008, and they had their first borderline snow conditions (where it melts, ices up and the ice is slippery) in years. On a per capita basis, their driving performance was significantly poorer than how Vancouver does on such days, since they had very little experience with that kind of snow. (There's a reason the Inuit have more than one word for snow (though apparently not the absurd numbers some suggest).) Sudbury is used to snow - their snow plow fleet even includes sidewalk plows, which I'd never even heard of before going there, they're just used to it being cold enough for ice - porous or not - to not pose a significant safety hazard (unless it's of the kind gluing your tongue to the flagpole if you're particularly stupid).

That said, part of it is definitely idiotic drivers (not limited to just SUV drivers) driving at or above speed limit regardless of the conditions. We recently had a 40 car pile up on our brand new bridge because people were driving 80km/hr on an iced over bridge with dense fog. Simple rule of self preservation: if you can't see where you'll be by the time you stop if you have to slam on the brakes, you're going too fast.

Melphion's picture

See, in England it snows for a couple of weeks every year(ish) but there never seems to be enough grit and the entire country's transport infrastructure grinds to a halt after a couple of inches. We cannot deal.

Sage's picture

Jam, I lived in vancouver for the last year & a half, and the correct answer to your problem is borrow the Bike lane that's to your left. You HAVE to use the street if it's snowed, trying to manage half-and-half with anything is asking for failure. Be definite (use your engineering sense, you know it to be true)!

omniwarrior's picture

Where does Jam get those awesome hats?

BlueValkyrie27's picture

The question of the century.

Θωμας's picture

Jam, if you're enough of a free spirit to wear hats and hoodies with ears, you should also be able to wear rubber boots in wet or slushy weather. :-)

(OK, neither do I, today, but I did when I was little, and my feet were always warm and dry...)

Bruno's picture

Haha, here in Montreal, QC, in the last few weeks we got more than 50 cm of snow, with one storm beating the old record of 1971. It was INSANE.


People had to dig out their cars. Seriously.

Ronald Riehn

In Maine once for family christmas, I remember walking through the woods cracking ice-covered puddles with my feet. I came across one and prepped for a good stomp, and my foot went in and I sunk up to the knee.

I've not lived in a snowy area where people can't deal with the snow before, but I do know that feel when you find a hidden puddle that's far worse than you thought.


That's just it. Vancouver isn't snowy. The entire southern part of the west coast (that's southern as defined by Canadians) averages 1, maybe 2, snowfalls a year, and they generally last less than a week. It's not frequent enough for people to get used to it, and there's a sufficient percentage of the population that's too stupid to go slowly when the road isn't clean and dry that it ruins life for the rest of us.

For this issue, however, I recommend waterproof boots. My steel toed boots are waterproof and look more or less like normal hiking boots (less the suspiciously smooth toe region, the green triangle of safety certification and the thunderous footsteps ). Doesn't help much when you're walking over knee deep water with just enough ice to make you feel safe, but for more normal conditions (here anyway, I'm sure knee deep water hazards are normal somewhere) it's quite sufficient. (They're also warm enough in all but the most extreme conditions and have enough traction to prevent most slipping.)

Tamfang's picture

I'm in Bellingham, at the other end of the Fraser River plain. I've seen enough snow in three years here (though this year there was none iirc) that it doesn't seem exotic. Or maybe I only think that way because I lived in California for the previous 28 years.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Thanks so much to our Patrons!

Thanks so much to our Patrons! [Apr 2020]

A Patreon of the Ahts ♥Ada Kerman ♥Alexander Botkin ♥Ali  ♥Amanda Chou ♥Amelia Meyer ♥Amos Onn ♥Amy Poli ♥Andrew Swanton ♥Anna Izenman ♥Anna Walsh ♥Anthony Gilberti ♥BearPerson  ♥Becky Landry ♥Billy  ♥Blake Rothwell ♥Blorg³  ♥Boreas  ♥Brandon Lu ♥Bria Morgan ♥Brian Kim ♥Bryce Chidester ♥Caleb Amos ♥calicosarah  ♥Capucine  ♥Charlie Owen ♥Chris Russell ♥Christine  ♥Christopher ♥Christopher Chung ♥Christopher Ingram ♥Christopher Schurman ♥Cindy Norton ♥Damon Hart-Davis ♥Daniel Cornelius ♥Daniel DeRosia ♥Daniel Karnes ♥Dave Coleman ♥David Drum ♥Dean Bailey ♥Delta-Fox  ♥Doctor Professor ♥Dylan  ♥Elaine Short ♥Erik Edberg ♥Ewe Knee Knot Know ♥Faith Nelson ♥Frábás Tamás ♥Giles Sutcliffe ♥Glade  ♥HardZero  ♥Henrik Lindhe ♥Holly B ♥IcyMidnight  ♥Ilana  ♥James A. Thornton ♥Jamie Furtner ♥Jed Spradling ♥Jeff Grafton ♥Jens Banning ♥Jeph Jacques ♥Joanna  ♥Joe  ♥Juan Chanco ♥Justin Sorbello ♥K Fung ♥Kai  ♥kaitou  ♥Karl Dahlberg ♥Kathleen Ralph ♥kelly bush ♥Kevin  ♥Kris Lipscombe ♥Lauren Singer ♥Lewis Allen ♥Lisa  ♥llearch n'n'daCorna ♥Logan Arias ♥Maddy B ♥Matt Zweig ♥Matthew Powell ♥Mattis Jensen ♥Melissa Huston ♥Melissa Nurmi ♥Mike Purvis ♥NJGR  ♥Parabet  ♥Patrick Bernier ♥Patrick Hallal ♥Patrick Naish ♥Peter Kempson ♥Peter Rönnmo ♥Phil  ♥Phill Peach ♥pikafoop  ♥Probably Human ♥Raphael  ♥Ricardo Bittencourt ♥RJAR  ♥Scott  ♥Sean Horn ♥Sinogen  ♥Stacy Nicole ♥Stefan Schmiedl ♥Sune Ewert Astrup ♥Svend Andersen ♥Tanya  ♥Thomas Pritchard ♥Tim Willmott ♥Tina Klassen ♥Tina Nichols ♥Wayne Dang ♥William Hector ♥Wolfgang Behrens ♥Yurgan Urjack ♥



Join them on Patreon!