Klondike Korner: Let it Snow, Let it Snow

A deep-freeze has hit Dawson City several times since mid-December and every time we come out of it there’s a big dump of snow. At the end of January we received another 22 cm of snow, blanketing everything in the community.

There’s been something like a metre (or more) of the white stuff since Christmas and it’s been coming in big deposits that run over a period of two days.

The Fulda Extreme Sports group got dumped on when they arrived in town on Jan. 12. They even had to break trail on the Dempster Highway to get back here from Eagle Plains Lodge. They were delighted that the snow gave them a chance to show off Fulda’s winter tires, but I’m not sure the rest of us were so pleased.

The town was hit again just about a week later and this batch came with a stiff breeze that compacted our usually fluffy snow, piling it up and making it harder to move out of the way.

Often we can clear our walks and stairs nicely with a broom. Not lately.

The City’s contractor has been busy on a daily basis clearing streets, and pick-ups with plough attachments have been going through the back lanes. There are men and women with shovels and snow sweepers all over the boardwalks around town — a municipal bylaw requires businesses to keep them clear for pedestrians.

Major streets in town are lined with berms averaging 80 cm in height, resulting from the initial efforts of the graders. Many streets have small hills where the loaders have been building piles to shovel into the trucks.

Stand on Front Street for a while and you can see a steady parade of snow filled trucks heading back and forth to the dumping grounds.

Any vehicle that hasn’t moved for a while has been reduced to a shapeless lump of snow, while those that are moving are crashing through berms to get in and out of their driveways. Those people whom park on the street can face a considerable task to get free of the little forts that the ploughs have made around them.

The City did issue a warning about leaving vehicles, thus block snow-clearing efforts. Fines and towing were mentioned, but it seems likely that the people who might be hired to do the towing are already too busy doing the clearing.

In late December concern expressed at a council meeting that the amount of snow clearing was burning through that line item of the budget.

It came up again at a recent meeting, but we learned that the 2012 budget year is over and that we are now working with the provisional budget for 2013, so we aren’t going to be buried.

Not permanently at least.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.

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