After more than a decade on the East Coast and 3.5 years of full-time travel, my partner and I recently settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We found ourselves a great little house, which isn’t so little when you compare it with our last place — a 600-square-foot railroad apartment in Brooklyn. Now, we have three bedrooms (!!), a two-car garage, and a big ol’ yard. With all of this newfound space comes great responsibility, namely lawn and snow care.
That isn’t a big deal, unless you’ve spent most of your adult years renting apartments and generally being helpless. While our past buildings were hardly luxurious, they came with landlords and supers who did the shoveling for us. But now that we’ve gone and relocated to Minnesota in February, with two feet of snow already on the ground, our first order of business is clear: Buy a shovel.
I head to the local Ace Hardware and ask the guy working the register to tell me about his all-time favorite snow shovel. He exhales deeply and says that, for Minnesotans, “that is a very loaded question.” I follow him over to the snow-shovel aisle, which has a trillion options, and he drones on and on about snow versus ice and walkways versus sidewalks versus driveways. I cut him off — “I’m only buying one shovel here. Which one is the best for most situations?” That’s when he — and several other Ace employees, who can’t resist joining this engrossing conversation — introduce me to the SnowPlow Snow Pusher.
Minnesota’s worst snow storm is no match for this shovel, they say. It’s got a sturdy D-grip fiberglass handle and a tough-as-rocks polyethylene blade, which means the edge gets sharper, not duller, each time you bang it against concrete. If you hit a patch of ice, raise the Snow Pusher a few feet off of the ground and smash it straight down. After a few good whacks, the ice sheet will break apart, and you can resume shoveling. Though it’s a heavy-duty tool, the Snow Pusher is not as weighty as it sounds, making rapid swinging motions entirely possible — even for out-of-shape weaklings like me.
The 24-inch, all-purpose model I buy costs $45; a 48-inch sister shovel costs $83, but is better suited for clearing driveways, something I don’t have to worry about. Admittedly, this feels like an obscene amount of money to spend on something as unsexy as a shovel. But, as my new boyfriends at the Ace tell me, you could buy three $15 shovels and snap one a month (true story), or one of these bad boys and have it last forever.