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Thread: Wheelchairs and Snow How Do You Do It?

  1. #1

    Wheelchairs and Snow How Do You Do It?

    I was watching the weather report on TV today and New England was going to get 2 feet of snow! I was thinking to myself, "How do wheeler's deal with the snow?" I have lived in San Diego my whole life. I travel and get around and see other places. But the last place I would go to is New England or the Mid-West in the winter. I wonder how people who live in the snow parts of the country do it? Do you put snow tires on your chair? How do you keep the mud and snow from soaking your clothes? Are you trapped in the house all winter? Does the salt corrode your chair? Do your tires constantly get stuck in the snow? Do your fingers stick to the rim of your chair when its freezing? Why would you live in such a place? Just wondering.

  2. #2
    As a power chair user, it tends to be fairly easy and sometimes fun. Sidewalks and parking lots with a dusting of snow/ice are great for "wheelchair sledding" as I call it, spins, donuts, purposefully slipping around on it. Deeper snow, up to 1-3 inches is tolerable and can be motored through fairly easy with a solid surface underneath.

    Beyond that, I need to wait until a path has been cleared before I can get through. Chunks of ice and snow on sidewalks can be a hazard if not seen. I broke the frame of my chair last year hitting such a chunk. The salt can and does quickly aid to rusting components on my wheelchair and lift into my vehicle. That is just something to be watched, cleaned and given maintenance as needed.

    As to why live in such a place, for me, it's home. Watching the snow fall can be very beautiful and relaxing. It may be much cooler than your area of the country, but it can be lived with and tolerated just as any area of the country.
    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

  3. #3
    I change my tires once a year before winter hints, to have the best tread. I keep gloves with me and wear shoes more often. I pull my pants tight so they don't rub the wheel and get wet. No problems at all from salt. It takes quite a lot of snow to get stuck. Why do I live here? LOL why do you live there?

  4. #4
    I am stucked in the house if it is more than 3 cm snow. And with the salt it is even more difficult. I can maybe go 100 meters but then my hands are wet and cold and I don't have more power in my arms. And I am strong for a woman. I am talking hard snow here.
    TH 12, 43 years post

  5. #5
    Senior Member fishin'guy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Seattle area Wash state
    Well, we just finished up two weeks of snow here. I had no problems with the first 2-3" when they froze solid. but when it unloaded another 2, then 3, then 2 it just wasn't happen'in. my 2' wide front wheels just plowed, and rear tires just slipped. I've been at home and the entire family has been driving my all wheel drive Toyota big van around, running all errands.
    So I'm not sure how you pep's in the mid and north east do it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Washington State
    I live in Northwest Washington and I have learned that wrapping bunge cords around your tires really grip and help tread through the snow!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Them Bones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Tyngsborough, MA
    I live in western Mass, and yeah, snow is a pain in the ass. I just wear snow tires all winter. I use side guards to keep the clothes clean and dry.

    I do get grumpy with all the slush and stuff though...

  8. #8
    Senior Member KVP612's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    dead center
    We're a hardy bunch in New England, for the most part you just deal with it as best you can, but pushing through snow does suck in a manual chair. There is a flipside that the landscape can be abolutely gorgeous when everything is covered in snow.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
    Winston Churchill

  9. #9


    I discovered recently after our town got hit with two major snowstorms that my power chair doesn't do well in snow. After attempting to drive on the sidewalk, it led me to sliding off the sidewalk on the ice and landing sideways in the street. A car passing by slowed down, and the driver was able to get out and help me get my chair back up onto the sidewalk. He and the person he was with, lifted it up onto the sidewalk, and helped me get back into it after I had gotten out.

    I was surprised that it took two of them to do it since my power chair is extremely heavy. When my father-in-law was helping Dan and I move into our new house. It took him, me, my sister-in-law, and Dan to lift my power chair into the back of his truck. I have a wheelchair-accessible lowered floor minivan. But, we don't keep it at our house since neither Dan or I can drive. It stays at my mom's house since she, or my dad tends to drive us around in it a lot.

    After the sliding incident, I wound up being housebound until the snow finally melted. It's all gone now, and the weatherman said that our town was done with getting snow. It makes me feel happy because I'm anxious to get back out with my power chair again.


  10. #10
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    the sidewalks in cali are great. most places there are wheelable. here in Pennsylvania I noticed even before my accident there are not side walks except right through the main, and those are not negotiable by chair at all. the curbs are not for the novice wheeler. in Lansdale, Hatfield, North whales. the mall is about it. im lucky I have enough muscle to hoist my trike over most bad curbs, since I use the side walks. I could not get around on the same streets in my chair. I get stuck at the bad curbs. I have met wheelers along my way. often, they go as far as the walks will let them unless they know how to do wheelies, with a hop jiggle.

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