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Utah’s Winters When You Live On A Bench

January 3, 2017

This was the scene when I woke up to this morning.

We live on what’s called “the benches.” As in

The forecast is for 3″-4″ of snow on the valley floor. The benches should see about 8″-10″ and we should see 1′-3′ in the mountains.

Christmas morning we woke up to about 8″ of snow. That was down from last Christmas when Santa brought about 14″ of snow on Christmas morning. Then, we got a small storm New Year’s day. Last night’s storm is just one more in a line of them for this week.

Utah is not the place for you if you don’t like snow. My house is surrounded on three sides by streets. I describe it as “I live on two corners.” Those streets are all separated from my house by a sidewalk. And those sidewalks get covered in snow. There are also 16 steps from my front door “down” to the sidewalk. Between sidewalks, stairs and driveway, I have about 8 kids worth of shovelling. Fortunately, I own 8 snow shovels.

Actually, I don’t force the kids to do all the shoveling. I enjoy it. I should, I moved to Utah by choice.

The funny thing about snow in Utah is that, despite what’s in my driveway right now, Utah is a desert. We get about 23″ of precipitation per year. The state is so dry that much of that snow has very little water content. It’s “fluffy” or “powdery.” That 8″-10″ in my driveway, which I’ll be shovelling as soon as I’m done writing this, will easily move with a snow shovel. It takes about 10″ of Utah snow to equal 1″ of water.

We keep our driveway, sidewalks and stairs clear for three reasons. First, I think there’s a city ordinance or something. I don’t know, I’ve never not shovelled my sidewalks. Second, my kids are those kids who still like to earn money for shoveling neighbors’ driveways. The only rule, is “ours first.” And third, despite the snow, and the cold, we have a very active neighborhood. My neighbors are out walking every day. Some of them are getting a little older and keeping the sidewalks clear for them is the right thing to do.

You won’t hear people in Utah complain about the weather much, especially snow. We know that it brings skiers from around the world to “the greatest snow on earth.” More importantly, we never forget that we live in a desert. Every Utahn is familiar with the phrase,

We can certainly use the moisture.

The best part of my day in looking out at the snow?

I telecommute on Tuesdays.

(While I live on a “bench,” my house is warm and dry in the winter. If you are interested in helping Utah’s homeless during this time of snow and cold, Utah’s The Road Home takes donations. Stay warm and help someone else do the same.)

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 
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