Ottawa Citizen

There’s no busi­ness like snow busi­ness

‘It’s bor­ing when there’s no snow,’ happy plow com­pany owner says

- JU­LIA BURPEE AND ROBIN LEVIN­SON Weather · Canada News · Ottawa · Environment Canada · Kent

As snow falls steadily across the city, many com­pa­nies are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a flurry of cus­tomers.

The city awoke to lots of fresh snow Thurs­day and was ex­pected to see an ad­di­tional 15 to 25 cen­time­tres fall through­out the day, says En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s snowfall warn­ing.

For snow­plow com­pa­nies, that meant an ex­tra-early wake-up to take on a long win­ter day. About 2 a.m. Thurs­day, 10 snow­plows from Cen­tre­town Road Ser­vice hit the streets, said the com­pany’s owner Yves LeBlanc.

“Ev­ery­body’s out ... we will work un­til the snow starts slow­ing down later this af­ter­noon, then head back out at night,” he said.

“It’s more fun when we have some­thing to push,” said LeBlanc, re­fer­ring to last De­cem­ber, when only about eight cen­time­tres of snow fell for the en­tire month and none af­ter Dec. 10, said En­vi­ron­ment Canada.

More snow means more busi­ness, said Kent Ped­die, owner of Pre­ci­sion Snow Re­moval in Ot­tawa.

“We’ve been get­ting about 15 to 20 calls a day for new con­tracts since last week’s snow­storm,” he said.

All 25 of his snow­plows were on the roads Thurs­day, pri­mar­ily clear­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas across the city for about 2,000 clients, he said.

But LeBlanc said big snow­falls are chal­leng­ing to plan for as plows and other snow re­moval ser­vices, such as snow­blow­ers, must re­turn to the same spots through­out the day as fresh snow cov­ers the work done ear­lier.

The Cen­tre­town snow­plow com­pany would re­turn to the same down­town park­ing lots, and some res­i­den­tial drive­ways, as of­ten as four times on Thurs­day, said LeBlanc.

He said his com­pany was plow­ing for about 150 clients.

Although most con­tracts are ar­ranged with snow­plow com­pa­nies in ad­vance, LeBlanc and other lo­cal com­pa­nies said there is room for new clients, es­pe­cially as the city turns into a win­ter won­der­land. “It’s bor­ing when there’s no snow,” said LeBlanc.

This past week’s snow­storms have also boosted other Ot­tawa-area busi­nesses that rely on the win­try weather for cus­tomers.

Bob Su­d­er­mann, who co-owns Camp For­tune and Mont Ste. Marie ski re­sorts, said the heavy snowfall has been good for the ski busi­ness. In just the past week, he said, more than 90 cen­time­tres of fresh snow has fallen on both sites.

Thurs­day alone brought more than 15 cen­time­tres of all-nat­u­ral pow­der to the re­sorts.

But Ot­tawa hasn’t al­ways been a snow-lover’s par­adise.

Su­d­er­mann said he couldn’t open ei­ther re­sort un­til mid-De­cem­ber last year be­cause of the dry weather.

“Last year was the ab­so­lute worst Christ­mas ever,” Su­d­er­mann said.

This year, they opened in Novem­ber.

Snow in­spires peo­ple to get out and en­joy win­ter, said Chris White, owner of Trail­head Pad­dle Shack.

“Once peo­ple see win­ter, they need win­ter,” White said. He said Thurs­day’s snow boosted sales of hats, skis and mit­tens. Ski and snow­shoe rentals were also pop­u­lar as peo­ple pre­pared to head out to play.

Kel­lie Scrim, a West­boro res­i­dent, said she ex­er­cises reg­u­larly dur­ing win­ter; she was shop­ping for a new hat and warm cloth­ing “for ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion” to run out­doors and ski.

 ?? JEAN LEVAC/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN ?? Wy­att Gal­ley of Ot­tawa en­joys the snowfall at Camp For­tune ski hill in Gatineau on Thurs­day. The re­cent storms have boosted busi­ness on area ski hills.
JEAN LEVAC/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN Wy­att Gal­ley of Ot­tawa en­joys the snowfall at Camp For­tune ski hill in Gatineau on Thurs­day. The re­cent storms have boosted busi­ness on area ski hills.
 ?? JU­LIA BURPEE/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN ?? West­boro res­i­dent Kel­lie Scrim shops for win­ter cloth­ing at Trail­head Pad­dle Shack as she gets ready for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.
JU­LIA BURPEE/OT­TAWA CIT­I­ZEN West­boro res­i­dent Kel­lie Scrim shops for win­ter cloth­ing at Trail­head Pad­dle Shack as she gets ready for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

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