As the president of the Ayles Natural Landscaping, Brent Ayles, CLT, says he has always had a passion for the outdoors. The company, which is headquartered in New Brunswick, Canada, was founded in 1996 and has grown to be one of the largest employers in the city. With more than 30 full-time employees, Ayles says the company is largely focused on design/build and landscape management work in Atlantic Canada. That includes quite a bit of snow.
The “white season,” as Ayles calls it, begins in early December and runs through mid-April, dropping an average of 26 to 30 feet of snow in that time. Ayles says his snow business service mix is almost an exact mirror opposite to their green business with 80 percent commercial clients and 20 percent residential. We recently caught up with Ayles to find out more about what he does when he has time to “chill out,” as well as what keeps him going during those busy snow events.
Even though it’s old school, our fleet is still equipped with repeater radios. This way, everyone on the team can listen to each other’s progress and also provide assistance. I believe that constant communication is key to keeping attitudes positive.
Oranges and water are the best mix I have found plowing and remaining alert. Also, a towel as the window needs to be down 2/3, most often, to keep windows clear. That fresh air keeps you alert as well!
The thing I like most about snow and ice management is the consistency. Once things get into a rhythm after three to four events, it all goes pretty well. The most challenging issues tend to arise when we get snowfall of more than 2 feet in a two to three-day period. That requires long hours with minimal rest.
We try to get adequate rest in the two to three days leading up to a big snow event. After that, you know you won’t be sleeping much.
When I get the chance to chill out, I like to snowmobile and ski. Generally, a snow event means fresh powder, so we tend to hit the back country once the event is all cleaned up. We like to go to the Rockies on the West Coast of Canada a couple times a season and enjoy snow for what it’s really about. The big hills are epic.
A word of advice? Mix some enjoyment in with the stress! It helps keep the “white season” in perspective. There’s no question it can get stressful. Generally, when there is a snow event, things run quickly. We may only have a six-hour window to have everything opened and cleared for pedestrians and traffic to move. But learn to enjoy the snow season when you can!
Our craziest snow season was the winter of 2015. We had more than 12 feet of snow within a two-week period. It was chaos. There were people stuck in their homes for a week or more and the city basically worked around the clock to unbury.