Winter supplies collecting dust this unexpectedly warm season

Local stores are moving winter stuff on out to storage as they prep for spring on the heels of what's barely felt like an Idaho winter.

What a difference a year makes. It's impossible to forget a winter like last year, dubbed "Snowmaggedon" and "Snowpocalypse."

To prepare for this winter, most of us stocked up on snow shovels and ice melt - some even snatched up snow blowers. On Thursday - early February - we hit above 60 degrees and there's clearly been no need for any of that.

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At this time last year we were enduring a brutal winter and the many of the stories local media outlets were covering were either about record snowfall and snow supply shortages or road conditions and the devastation the storms caused in many places. A year later: What a contrast.

"Today I'm walking the dog enjoying Camel's Back Park," Boise resident Kirk Luba said. "It's great. I mean, obviously, I'm a skier so that's not good. But yeah, spring day in February - look at the park, it's phenomenal."

Luba says he's a little concerned because we need the snow and the subsequent runoff.

"It's a reprieve from last year for sure. Everyone needed a little reprieve. But how about just a normal winter," Luba said. "I was hoping for a three-month winter, not a four- to five-month winter and that turned out. But still I like the seasons, I like winter and we need it."

When asked what they were doing at this time last year, folks we talked to said: shoveling snow.

"I was shoveling a lot of snow, not trying to slip on the slope driveway," Luba said.

"Every other day we were shoveling our driveway," another Boise resident, Reggie Etheridge, told KTVB. "Cooped up in the house, this one [my daughter] would be wrestling on the floor because we can't go outside. So it's nice to get out to a park, let her run, just come out and enjoy the weather."

Etheridge says he lived near an Albertsons and he'd run over there to pick up ice melt.

"And there's a couple times where I showed up and there was just nothing so I had to drive all the way across town to Home Depot and sometimes it'd be like one or two bags left I could snag and run home with."

Sound familiar to you, too?

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Those of us who endured last winter all remember the scramble and struggle at this time last year as we were getting inundated with storms and trying to get a grasp on the layers of snow and ice on the ground. A year ago, supplies like ice melt were pretty hard to come by.

"Especially when it was really bad last year we had a truckload, which is 22 tons off this stuff, would last less than an hour," D&B Supply store manager Evan Schafer told KTVB.

Pallets at stores like D&B Supply and Zamzows were empty as the stores scrambled to keep up with the demand. Right now, they're fully stocked and sales are low because there's not a need for it in the Treasure Valley.

"I probably have close to 30 tons of it just sitting around, waiting for something to happen that maybe it can go away for," Schafer added. "These two pallets have been out here probably since about the mid-part of January."

Rumor had it that this winter was going to be just as bad as - if not worse - than last year's.

"We stocked up on everything to try to take care of everybody and now we've got a lot of extra," Schafer said.

"This time last year that whole wall would have been snow shovels, all this was ice melt and probably two feet of snow sitting right there," Chinden Zamzows store manager Christopher Owings said.

Owings says their buyer had the orders placed but didn't send them.

"So he was just kind of waiting for that storm and it just never came," Owings added.

From snow shovels to ice melt, to snow blowers and roof rakes, people stocked up early - around October and November when people were preparing for snow.

"People thinking we're going to have another Snowpocalypse," Owings said.

"At the very beginning of the year sales were really good. We sold quite a bit of stuff, had it going through real well, we had special orders and that was nice. And then just nothing came and now they've really kind of stagnated for a while," Schafer said.

But this year, Zamzows and D&B Supply say they've still got plenty in stock, which is a sharp contrast.

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Now, stores are moving winter stuff on out to storage as they prep for spring on the heels of what's barely felt like an Idaho winter.

"We've got to find spaces for a lot more winter stuff," Schafer said.

For those of you that stocked up on ice melt early on this season and only really used it a few times, you can hang on to it. But experts say make sure you keep the bags covered and out of the sun. It will be just as effective next year - if we actually get more snow and ice, that is.