Christmas Day 2020, Pittsburgh awoke to three or more inches of snow, and it continued lightly falling through much of the day. One of my wife's presents was a battery powered leaf (and snow) blower, which she tried out immediately by clearing the back steps down to the driveway. It worked fine, but she didn't clear the 70-foot walkway out to the mailbox. I did that one by hand later in the afternoon, when the snow had tapered off a bit, though not ceased entirely. Along the way, I took a few pictures.
[picture 1: porch and broom]
Here is what I started with, just a dusting on the porch, and maybe an inch on the steps. The broom was the weapon of choice here.
[picture 2: steps half cleared]
Once I got the snow off the first couple steps, I remembered that the snow came down after an hour of sleet and freezing rain. At this point, I did nothing with that, only removing the layer of snow atop it. To be honest, I might leave it like this. That crusty stuff is not slippy. If it were glare ice, such as from exclusively freezing rain, that would be unavoidably slippy, but this crusty stuff provides a decent amount of traction, and who's to say there isn't glare ice underneath it. You can step on it and not slip.
[picture 3: all the steps cleared]
For the bottom couple steps, some of the crusty ice brushed off with a bit tougher brooming. A later pass with a square spade might clear it entirely.
[picture 4: a bit of brick sidewalk]
This shows how much snow came down since mid morning, when Sarah used the new toy to blow it clean. This square foot of brick took maybe 10 seconds with the broom, the same as was necessary with the blower.
[picture 5: five feet of sidewalk]
Using only the broom, I cleared the three or four inches of snow off the sidewalk, not trying to do too good a job. Gabe's footprints from going out to get the mail last night, when there was only an inch of snow, are clearly visible. His weight packed down what little snow had fallen by that point, but this alone shows, it doesn't take much to start an ice pack under a bit of traffic. Total broom time at this point, maybe a minute, and that's being generous.
[picture 6: snow shovel]
My snow shovel of choice was a neighbor's throw-away 15 years ago. The handle is broken, and the cheap plastic blade is quite fragile. To me, this is the ideal tool. Because of its fragility, I cannot push it very hard, and therefore cannot push myself very hard. I take my time, not trying to dig too heavily into what snow is at hand. If I have a foot of snow to clear, I just stand in one place and only peel off 3-4" at a time until I get to bare ground. Here, there is only about that much, so I think I can just use it as a snowplow. This shovel works marvelously as a plow. (I later did most of the driveway via plowing with this shovel, in only about 10 minutes.)
[picture 7: 10 feet of sidewalk]
The first use of the snow shovel was to re-clear what I had just broomed. I plowed another five feet, then used it, scraping sideways, to get rid of Gabe's footprint-packed ice packs, and also any remaining snow off the edge of the brick. This as well took only a minute or two.
[picture 8: 60 more feet of sidewalk]
Snowplow time! All I did here was plow the snow. Every four or five feet, I would need to take the shovel and actually lift the snow out of the way, but this entire length took less than two minutes, and hardly raised my heart rate at all, no more than climbing a couple flights of stairs.
[picture 9: our yard critters]
The sleet, freezing rain and snow toppled our yard decorations. The fans to keep them inflated are still on, and I suppose I should go back out to set them back upright, but let me finish writing this first. (Gabe came out and took care of this, minutes later.)
[picture 10: use of the broom]
Starting over at the staircase end of the walk, I cleared the walk with the broom a little better. This was the most strenuous part of the work, and also took the longest. What I was doing here was knocking down the deep snow alongside the walk, so I could move the broom vigorously across the entire width of brick. What's left at this point is almost bare, dry walk.
[picture 11: finished walkway]
Finishing the above to the end of the walkway, by the mailbox and street, took a full five minutes. What I was trying to accomplish here was to remove, as fully as possible, any H2O in whatever form: snow, sleet, packed snow. Fortunately there was no ice directly on the bricks, so this is about as close to just after an August rain as you're going to get. It is not at all slick, unless your shoes are slick. Pro tip: If you're going to be walking after a snowfall, wear good shoes. You wouldn't drive a car in the rain with slick tires, right? What are you expecting, every sidewalk to have heating elements embedded in them?
[picture 12: aftermath]
During the 20 or so minutes I was outside, it continued to snow lightly. You can see there is a trace of snow on the bricks, which had been swept clean in picture #4, above. Once this snow ceases entirely, I should be able to go out and sweep, or blow, this clean again with little difficulty.
What else I should do is get out the square spade and clear off the remaining crusty ice and snow off the back steps. Update: This happened about an hour later.
But in none of the above do I need to use salt. In my opinion, far too much salt is thrown on sidewalks, far too often. The point of shoveling is to remove moisture before it freezes or is compressed into a condition that makes it unwalkable. Get rid of the snow while it's still fresh. Get rid of any frozen water of any sort before it melts and re-freezes to make it unwalkable. Get rid of all upstream snow that would blow or melt onto the walk. If there isn't any ice that can't be scraped off easily, and there isn't any snow left that will become packed into ice, and there isn't any source of snowmelt that will flow back onto the walk, then there is no need for salt. Stop using salt. Clear your walks fully first.