Never too early to think about U.P. snow, when you're clearing a 6,500' runway

HOUGHTON — Winters in the Copper Country bring a lot of snow, and just clearing a driveway can be a challenge. But, what if your driveway was 6500 feet like the runway at the Houghton County Memorial Airport?

“If the snow is real heavy and wet, and we can’t move it as far to the side, you might have to take the snow blower out there maybe every 15 or 20 minutes to clear the bank you’ve created. If it’s nice and light and you can push it further and you can get it to the side quicker and cast it out there farther, then you might have to take the snow blower maybe once every hour or something like that.”

Fortunately, a $580,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration will allow the airport to purchase a new Oshkosh snow blower.

Since they often have to blow snow for 20 hours a day during the winter, that equipment suffers a lot of wear and tear…and it was time to replace the current 2004 model.

Hext said, “And it’s a very critical piece of equipment because it’ll blow the snow about a hundred feet off the runway, which we have to have so that the wings and stuff don’t hit the snow on the sides of the runway. So it’s getting old and it’s getting past its prime, so we’re going to replace it with a new one because we wouldn’t want that to go down in the middle of winter, in the middle of a big snowstorm or something like that, because then things would get really bad around here.”

The new snow blower is expected to be ready by April of next year.