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Old 06-08-2014, 04:51 PM
133 posts, read 228,017 times
Reputation: 38


Hi everyone,

I'm thinking of relocating to VT. I am very drawn to the beauty and to the vibes of places like Brattleboro and Burlington. However...how does one deal with the snow?? I'm from somewhere that gets no snow, sometimes ice, and am wondering how it goes up there. Does everything shut down for the winter? How do you get to work, and your kids to school?

Forgive the naivety, I just need to have an idea of how it works.

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Old 06-08-2014, 05:03 PM
Location: Vermont
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I would say that since we are used to it, people are pretty on top of things. Probably 1-2 times a year we get huge storms and things shut down. aside from tha, when it snows like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6" life just goes on. For some reason it seems like it either snows either 4"-6" or less, in which case things go on as normal, or 18-24" in which case school is usually canceled, no idea about jobs. I know a lot of people cut work on big snow days anyway! You should see mad river glen (ski area) parking lot on a Wednesday powder day--full to the brim! I don't know if someone with kids in the school system can comment on how many snow days there are per year. I think we had 2 this year here but I am not sure. A reliable vehicle with good snow tires will go a long way.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:23 AM
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To me if it's less than 6 inches it's like don't even bother mentioning it.

Honestly now, a huge part of my job is driving. Like, 5-10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I think there were only two days this past winter where I just started later in the day, waited for them to clear more of the roads, but other than that, nobody stops their life for a little snow. I think schools were closed only on those two occasions as well. If you have to go 40-50 on the freeway, that's what you do. If you have to go 20 in the city, that's what you do. A reliable vehicle with snow tires definitely helps.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:25 AM
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As long as you're traveling in a straight line, snow and ice are no problem. Steer as straight as possible.

Always have the better tires on the rear wheels. When they lose traction, the car's center of gravity wants to swing into the front of the line of travel.

Find a large, icy vacant parking lot and stomp on the brakes at low speed (say, 5 mph) to put yourself into a skid so you can practice steering into it in order to regain control. If necessary, take a few bad-weather driving lessons.

Any time you are setting out on questionable pavement, stomp on the brakes as soon as the car starts rolling to see if it wants to skid. Drive accordingly thereafter.

All-wheel drive is good to have.

Think of snow as a form of semi-permanent rain, and all else-- job, school, kids-- will work itself out.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Oriz View Post
If you have to go 40-50 on the freeway, that's what you do. If you have to go 20 in the city, that's what you do. A reliable vehicle with snow tires definitely helps.
Ditto this. When I lived in Vermont I had a job that wasn't keen on missing work because of snow. I live in Connecticut now and my employer here isn't big on snow days either, we just get less of the white stuff down here.

Regardless, you take it slow and steady as mentioned above. You leave yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be, that way you don't make the mistake of rushing (rushed driving in snow = accident), and you go as slow as you need to in order to get to your destination safely.

They generally do a good job of keeping roads clear in regions of the country that are used to snow, Vermont included. It isn't like you will see an Atlanta-style freakout over an inch of snow. An anecdote: A good friend of mine is a nurse in VT and doesn't have the luxury of snow days or coming in late when the weather is bad. She keeps an emergency bag in her car containing a fresh change of clothes, clean underwear, travel toothbrush, etc. in the winter time in case she gets stuck at work overnight because of a bad storm. In the 15 years she has lived in Vermont she hasn't been stranded yet.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:41 AM
Location: Vermont
1,017 posts, read 1,418,663 times
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Best thing to do if you've never driven in snow is to go find a parking lot and play around. Get a feel for accelerating, turning and braking. Good winter tires, common sense, and good judgement will get you anywhere you want to go. And we hardly ever shut down. Bad roads are a challenge we can't resist!
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:57 AM
Location: The Woods
16,945 posts, read 22,257,781 times
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If you're looking at Brattleboro or Burlington, I really wouldn't worry much.

Things get more "exciting" when you're on rural twisty, unpaved mountain roads that are poorly maintained. I've skipped days of work in the past because of the weather, it really isn't worth risking life and limb if the roads truly are dangerous.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:52 PM
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
69,162 posts, read 51,361,043 times
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There's really 2 parts to this thread. How life goes on around the OP and how NC77 handles it. Meaning... While the South comes to a halt for 1-2" of snow, Vermont or points south to NJ do not. But will you?

It takes half foot or more to really be disruptive. Thanks to road crews and salt life goes on with snow. But I should add... if temps are under 20 degrees salt wont help and so roads become slicker with just a couple inches.

But how you handle it is different. Since you come from an area with no snow you wont be familiar with how to drive in it. Snow tires highly recommended for you. You might see it start snowing and think "wow, this is pretty!" then it doesn't stop for hours.... then it gets heavier as your driving home, then you bunker down and wake up to a surprise sometimes.

Tune into the Vermont Weather thread here or local forecasts and keep tabs on when or if snow is coming. Staying ahead of the weather ALWAYS helps. That goes for summers too.
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:20 PM
Location: Windham County, VT
10,625 posts, read 4,942,360 times
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OP doesn't state where he/she lives now, so we don't know how familiar OP is with a snowy environment.
Here in VT, snow is assumed/expected-we're more "at loose ends" if snow is lacking/absent
People internalize mental habits to make accommodation for the impact of weather, such as leaving early to clean off the car/assuming added travel time.

As a pedestrian, I appreciate that (at least in my town) there is a sidewalk-clearing machine which makes walking a more realistic endeavor.
Of course, sometimes that machine hasn't had a recent pass at the sidewalk in my neighborhood, so I have to brave the heaps of snow that have been plowed off the roads and onto the sidewalks.

Sure, in some ways it's unpleasant to be cold, wet, and trudging through knee-deep heavy snow. Yet, in other ways, I just love it, snow delights me on a visceral instinctive level I can't quite describe.
There's issue of safety with snow & ice (which other posters have addressed)-but there's also the question of "do you like snow ?"-and for me, the answer is definitely yes.

Last edited by cloven; 06-09-2014 at 03:28 PM..
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:57 AM
5,910 posts, read 6,708,989 times
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I have lived in SNOW country, and Vermont, and "in the South". I grew up in Southern New England where I guess we got 75 to 100 inches of snow each winter.

Let me offer my opinion, OP, and perhaps draw a conclusions about you. NC77...might mean North Carolina?

The snow in the Carolinas is VERY different than the snow up through New England. Yours is wet, and compacts quickly into a frozen crust on the roads. Unless you have experienced it, there is no way to explain it. Traffic comes to a virtual halt, not so much because "southerners can't drive in snow" but because the type of snow quickly makes the roads treacherous.

New England snow generally falls on cold ground and thus doesn't compress as quickly, generally, into an icy crust upon which you cannot move. A few inches of light, northern snow is nothing to drive in. It doesn't freeze to the roads, but rather blows away as the cars run up and down the roads.

More than a few inches and the plows come out and clean the roads, salt what is left, and pretty quickly you can go anywhere you wish.

I lived in Central NY where they get a LOT of snow. It dwarfs the totals in Vermont. Hardly ever were the roads impassable, and the schools closed. I guess, maybe, if there was a real dump of a couple of feet which came quickly some businesses would close, but it is the exception rather than the norm.

You will be fine driving in new England. Take your time, don't race around. Brake slowly. Accelerate slowly, and leave yourself plenty of room.

You won't be the first person...outsider or local...to put their car in the ditch. It happens.
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