The first snowstorm of the season hit Minot Thursday, but residents and other travelers wasted no time getting back to business as usual Friday.
Gene Mallory was busy snowblowing his driveway on Fourth Street Southwest Friday afternoon. Mallory said the moisture in the snow made removing it somewhat difficult, not only because it made the snow heavier, but also because all that moisture was freezing and hardening the snow's surface. Mallory had to break the snow apart into chunks so he wouldn't damage his snowblower.
Despite saying he would have preferred a more mild beginning to the winter like last year, he did note some positive aspects about the snowfall.
Dan Felder/MDN --
Gene Mallory clears his driveway on Fourth Street Southwest with a snowblower Friday afternoon. Mallory said just about everyone in his neighborhood either uses a snowblower or skid-steer loader to clear out snow after a storm.
"We would have preferred to have last year's winter, but (the snow) is gonna be good for everybody. You know, this will put moisture back into the ground," Mallory said. "Hopefully it will, up there at Lake Darling ... maybe it will raise the lake a little bit, they'll be able to flush out the river a little better, or have water to flush out the river, which would be good.
"And actually, even though it's a lot of snow, one thing, it's created some employment for the snowblower guys."
Mallory is a retiree, so he and his wife, Sue, stayed put in their home during Thursday's storm before emerging on Friday to clear out their driveway. He said everyone in their neighborhood either has a snowblower or a skid-steer loader, so snow removal isn't a problem.
"The only thing I can say, if anybody doesn't have a snowblower, they're stupid," Mallory said with a laugh. "Shovels are all right, but they're better left hanging in the garage."
Wayne Holzapfel, from Indian Head, Sask., was in Minot for the weekend to do some shopping. He arrived in Minot around 1 p.m. Friday and said he hadn't heard about the storm until a border guard mentioned it as he was coming down.
"The roads were pretty fair until we got near Minot, then of course there was snow and ice and it was kind of surprising," Holzapfel said. "We don't have any snow in Saskatchewan right now."
Holzapfel said he's used to this kind of weather, but it normally doesn't happen until a little later in the year.
"The first snowfall always takes a little bit of getting used to," Holzapfel said.
Other than one icy corner near Dakota Square Mall that almost sent Holzapfel into the ditch, he said he hadn't had much of a problem navigating the roads.
Lance Knaup, a salesman at Ryan Chevrolet, said the winter weather had given him plenty of chances to get acquainted with his fellow travellers the past few days.
"I've already had to push three people out and myself, I got pushed out twice already," Knaup said. "Spring's only five months away."
Knaup said he can handle the cold, as evidenced by the fact that he was digging into some ice cream at his booth in Dakota Square Mall when most people would probably be sipping a hot chocolate. It's the snow he doesn't care for, because it makes everything wet and dirty and doesn't exactly present ideal conditions for customers to take a test drive in.
It was his birthday on Thursday, so instead of going out for a bite to eat, Knaup took advantage of the weather to watch some movies. Although the weather kept him indoors on his birthday, he said it didn't stop a few die-hard customers from kicking the tires at Ryan Chevrolet.
"If somebody comes in on a day like yesterday, or even today, they're pretty serious," Knaup said. "It's just a little scary to go on a demo drive."
While the snow might keep most people off the lot, Knaup said bringing some cars into the mall is a good way to let customers look in a more comfortable environment.
"That's why we do things like this, you know, get them out here," Knaup said. "It's warm in the mall, you can look at a couple cars and visit and let us know if you have anything you're looking for."
Neal Prichard, the manager of Harlow's Bus Service in Bismarck, was also in Minot on a shopping trip, and said he takes this kind of weather in stride. While the snow hit Bismarck later in the day Thursday than Minot, he said the results were much the same.
"I was out on the routes at three-thirty this morning in Bismarck checking all the routes because we have three individuals, me included, that drive out into the country on specific routes just to see if they're passable," Prichard said. "And in most cases they weren't. So we ended up not only canceling the bus routes today in Bismarck, but they canceled school for the first time in like, 15 years."
Prichard and his family were planning on coming to Minot this weekend anyway, so once U.S. Highway 83 opened around noon, they left shortly afterwards. There were some areas on the drive up that forced them to slow down, but they were able to make it to Minot in one piece and hit the mall.
"It was snow-packed, bad visibility with some wind yet. And then really the worst of it was Coleharbor up to Minot. The 16-mile corner out there, the junction of (U.S. Highway) 23 all the way in was solid snow-pack and there were lots of cars in the ditch, and one was overturned," Prichard said. "You could tell why they closed the road. There were a couple spots by Max there that the drift was as tall as your car."
The Highway Patrol said that while there were several accidents Friday, there were no injuries, including the accident involving the overturned car.
While Prichard would prefer a mild winter, he said dealing with winter weather comes with living in North Dakota, and facing adverse weather conditions with a positive attitude is half the battle.