One of the negative aspects of living in a climate zone where winters happen every year is the problem of snowfall. Not the snowfall which falls gently on a mountain meadow or city park, but the snowfall that clogs driveways, sidewalks, paths and patios. Because work, school and shopping continue even if there is a snowfall, people who wake up to find a serious snowfall with 2-3 feet of snow on the driveway in front of the garage door have had to find a way to clear snow quickly.
Sometime in the path, mankind invented the basic snow shovel. It usually consists of a flat metal surface anywhere from 18 inches to 24 inches in width, attached to a four to six foot wooden handle. The snow is removed by sliding the metal surface under the snow at a slight angle, then lifting with back and arms and throwing the snow to one side, away from the area being cleared. Snow shoveling is good aerobic exercise, but unfortunately, it's also dangerous, particularly to older folks who aren't used to the exertion. There are some deaths every year resulting from heart attacks while shoveling snow.
Since the action of shoveling is usually performed in a slightly stooped position, the full weight of the shovel plus wet, heavy snow places strain on the back, as well as the arms and shoulders.
Another method of shoveling snow is easier physically, but is also much more expensive. You can purchase a blade for a small garden tractor, attach it the tractor and when there is an overnight snowfall, start the tractor and use it to push snow. Some units have a blade which can be raised and lowered hydraulically. Snow shoveling using mechanized means is obviously much more expensive than using the old-fashioned snow shovel, but it's also fairly easy to do physically, and can be completed in a much shorter period of time.
Another mechanical attachment or stand alone unit used by some homeowners is a small snow blower. This equipment picks up the snow and blows it to one side, usually using a rotary action, similar to the way a lawn mower can blow grass clippings out the side of the machine.
A new invention is now available in the fight against snow clogged driveways. This light weight tool known as a resembles the original snow shovel in many ways, but has some enhancements which make it easy and safe to use, and also much faster than a traditional shovel.
The consists of an ultra lightweight shovel with a 3-4 foot handle. Attached to the area where the blade meets the handle is a flexible cord approximately 30" in length, similar to a heavy bungee cord. There is a second handle attached to the flexible cord.
The is operated by holding the end of the shovel handle in the non-dominate hand and the dominant hand holds the cord handle. The operational position is upright, not stooped. The blade is place under the pile of snow by pushing with the non-dominant hand. Then, the snow is lifted by pulling up on the flexible cord handle at the same time as the entire is moved up and forward. Since the swivels easily on the flexible cord, the snow can be dumped to one side or tossed a longer distance, thanks to the energy forces released from the flexible cord.
The expansion and contraction of the cord is tapped in order to add energy to the smooth and easy, rhythmic swing and lift motion used while operating the Wovel. Because the is very lightweight, you aren't adding the weight of the shovel to the snow weight when you're moving it. Instead, you're using basic physical laws of energy and momentum to facilitate the task of clearing a pathway through the snow. Best of all, the is inexpensive, so you won't have the cost of mechanical snow movers.