Heavy Snow Demolishes Roofs in Western Canada


I spent much of my Christmas holiday in rural Alberta, where gossip of snow-induced roof collapse was becoming incredibly common. In most instances, more than just a roof was impacted, with reports of damaged machinery and livestock losses. So, for the first time in my life, I helped shovel snow from an altitude. (And for all you word geeks out there, it really is ‘roofs’ and not ‘rooves’. English is weird).

You’d be surprised at how much fun you can have shovelling with the right crew (though I highly recommend working in daylight to limit the risk of collisions). Not only is it a good social exercise, it’s also a fantastic excuse to sweat a bit. And in an age where nearly everything is automated, digital or driven by an engine, it’s probably not a bad thing to work those triceps and biceps.

What you need to remove snow from your roof:

  1. A friend (or many) – Don’t work alone.
  2. A snow rake, preferably telescopic – These make safely removing snow from a roof a breeze (sort of) and mean you can do much of the work from the safety of the ground. A plastic rake will not cause damage to the roof, nor will it be terribly heavy to handle (shown in the embedded tweet above).
  3. A ladder – Be sure to plant your ladder in the snow, to reduce the odds of toppling over.
  4. A harness – If you intend to go clambering around on top, please fasten yourself to something.
  5. Dress in layers – If you’re like me (out of shape), it won’t take long to warm up. If you dress in layers, you can safely and quickly remove/add garments to deal with the changing temperatures.
  6. An understanding of exercising in the cold – Hypothermia or frostbite can show up with haste. Know your body, know the conditions and be safe.

If you’re not totally into shovelling, it’s not possible with your equipment or you simply don’t have the time, hire someone else to do it for you. Otherwise, be safe up there. It’s a difficult job, but seriously, somebody has to do it.





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