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Caps talk about snowmageddon

Three years ago this week, when D.C. got an inch of snow and everything was canceled, I asked the Caps what they thought.

"This is a beautiful winter day back home," Brooks Laich said at the time. "The temperature's minus-30, minus-40 degrees, you've got a couple feet of snow, you've got to plow your driveway every morning with a snowplow....I don't know, that's winter."

This is peanuts," Jamie Heward said. "We get blizzards that shut down major highways and you can't travel for days on end.....You'll get snowdrifts that are 10, 15-feet high going across highways....And the thing is, we never had school closures. I mean, I can't remember maybe two in my life."

"Honestly, our schools canceled when it was minus-24 Celsius, so that's a comparison," Dainius Zubrus said.

This current batch of winter weather left the current Caps a bit more impressed. I managed to ask a few of them about the weekend storm on Tuesday, before they fled D.C. for a trip to more temperate climes in Montreal. Obviously, they didn't get a good look at the current storm, but they were happy to talk about last week's.

"This would probably be a pretty good storm in Winkler," said Eric Fehr, speaking of his Manitoba home. "It wouldn't shut down the city for a couple days. Like, maybe one day. But no, I'm actually impressed with the size of the snow that we got here. I took my truck out and started plowing the streets, driving around, making tracks just for fun. I mean, it's fun to swerve around. I actually got stuck one time."

"It kind of reminds me of Russia, but Americans don't get used to it," Alex Ovechkin said, via Caps Insider. "For us, it's okay, for you guys, it's not okay."

"I mean, this is a legit snowstorm, but back home we wouldn't even have missed a half day of school or work," said Matt Bradley, who hails from an Ottawa suburb. "I think part of it is here they're just not set up to plow it properly. Back home no one parks on the street streak, because of this exact reason. After a snowstorm you have to move your cars, but there's nowhere to move 'em here, so that's the problem with plowing streets. It's a legit storm, and this would be considered a good snowfall back home, but as far as stuff closing for weeks on end? I don't know about that."

"Quite frankly, I think we'd probably all be here to make sure the families get out ok and hang in, but it's our job and we have to go," Bruce Boudreau said of the trip North. "I was looking at something yesterday that said that Buffalo's had 65 inches of snow this year and we've had 60. it just doesn't seem right. Go figure."

"In terms of amount of snow, yeah, definitely," Karl Alzner said, when the Patriot-News asked him if this storm was worthy of Canada. "It wasn't nearly as cold. Normally, it would maybe be another 10 or 15 degrees colder. You had to stay indoors. You couldn't do anything because everybody closed up. There was nothing really open at all, except for one grocery store. It was interesting. Some people were walking down the middle of the street. Some people had their skis out. It was neat to see the city the way it was."

Fehr's father was in D.C. during the first Snovechkin; he plows snow back in Manitoba, and he thought it was quite a bit of snow.

"He was kind of laughing at the way they plow the snow down here," Fehr told me. "They just do it a little bit different. It's not necessarily right or wrong, just a little different."

As for the biggest snowfall he's ever seen in Manitoba?

"I can't even make a guess," Fehr said. "A lot, though. Way more than this. Definitely."

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 10, 2010; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

I spent 9 months working in Edmonton and experienced 80" of snow with temperatures regularly -10 to -20. Traffic still moved and the roads were generally clear, but the technique seemed to employ an exceptional number of bucket loaders and dump trucks, not simply snowplows. Canadians know how to take care of this type of event, but I really cannot fault DC, Virginia or Maryland for having a hard time keeping up.

Posted by: Ebola_22039 | February 10, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Winnipeg, which is ~60 miles from Winkler reports an average annual snowfall of 43.5 inches (http://www.gov.mb.ca/ctt/invest/busfacts/qu_oflife/ql_snowfall.html) and a record during Eric Fehr's lifetime - that is, since 1985 - of 19 inches:

- April 5-6 - Worst recorded blizzard in Winnipeg this century. Total accumulated snowfall: 48 cm (Friday to Tuesday). Previous record: 1966 - 38.1 cm snowfall. Duration of storm: 24 hours, Average wind speed: 60km/h, gusting as high as 85 km/h. (http://www.winnipeg.ca/services/CityLife/HistoryOfWinnipeg/HistoricalDates.stm)

Those numbers seem kind of low.

Posted by: olsonchr | February 10, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Fact is, there are few places in North America where this type of snow is normal no matter what people from the midwest or north tell you. Budgets and removal techniques are different in this region since it doesn't make sense to have the costly machinery and materials that will rarely be used that are regularly used in other areas. Also, this region is more likely to get sleet/ice with snow and not just the fluffy stuff we've been getting with these storms. Fluffy stuff is a lot easier to remove than ice. Snow is better for driving than ice also. Of course, the first snow is bad for driving anywhere you go. It takes most some time to get used to every year.

Posted by: sitruc | February 10, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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