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Snow may be beautiful to behold, but it is a pain to deal with. If you live in a region with snow-filled winters and dread labor-intensive shoveling and noisy snow-blowing, you may already be on the lookout for creative alternatives to snow removal. To give your imagination a kick start, here are four clever strategies:

Use a Tarp. Consider laying down tarps or other cloths to cover your driveway, your car or even the roofs of small outbuildings. Once the last flake has dropped, simply grab the far edge of your tarp and pull it back over itself, allowing the snow to roll and slide into a neat, out-of-the-way pile in your lawn. Warning: Don’t attempt this method for heavy snowfall. Straining to pull a tarp weighted down with a thick, wet layer of snow could cause injury.

Make It a Game. Consider unleashing the kids on your snow-covered drive. Have a snowman-rolling contest on the driveway. Encourage the children to make a snowball arsenal or snow “bricks” for a fort or igloo out of the snow from the driveway. If they’re old enough to wield a shovel and follow directions, why not have a snow clearing contest? Divide your driveway or walkway into equal sections, and see who can get their part cleared the fastest.

Rake Your Roof. Those with a three-story home may not benefit from this tip, but for those with an easily accessible roof, this tip is for you. If you can’t wait for sunlight and snow-melting temperatures to clear your roof, try a roof rake. These long-handled contraptions help give snow a push in the right direction, encouraging sheets to slide right off your roof, no acrobatics required. You can purchase this specialty equipment or dust off your DIY skills to make your own custom tool.

Heat It Up. For those with gutters threatened by giant icicles, consider heated gutter products. Instead of waiting until icicles form and breaking them off with a broom or shovel, you can simply heat your gutters to prevent or loosen icicles. There are a variety of heating options available for driveways as well. For those looking to replace a drive, consider adding radiant heat during installation. If you’re not in the mood for demo, try laying down heated mats before a snowfall instead. These products not only help with snow removal, but can also eliminate winter’s invisible icy dangers.

Source: James White/RISMedia’s Housecall