Winter poses many challenges for newspaper carriers

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Jon Decker photo

Long-time Ranger-Review carrier Shae Snow delivers newspapers in the sub-zero temperatures Saturday morning.

A black sedan rolled down a blinding white road on Saturday. The cargo: freshly printed weekend editions of the Ranger-Review. The driver: Shae Snow, a six-year veteran newspaper carrier.

“I’m ready for it to be done,” Snow said of the frigid Montana winter. “Be spring.”

Although the sun was out in full force and the sky was blue, the air was bitter this particular Saturday, with the high temperature reaching only minus 3.

For delivery workers of all kinds, there are a lot of challenges that come with the winter weather: the cold, slipping and falling, and of course road conditions. Snow said her biggest challenge is trying not to get stuck. Fortunately this year, she’s managed to avoid it.

“You don’t go slow,” Snow said, “As much as you want to go slow you just can’t sometimes. You just gotta plow through.”

On warmer days, Snow walks her route. But on days like last Saturday, she drives from house to house and speed-walks her way to her client’s doors. Despite the bitter cold, slippery sidewalks, biting wind and blinding glare, Snow says she loves her work.

“It gets me out of the house, it’s fresh air. Doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer. It gets me out doing something,” Snow said.

Snow has been on the same route for her entire six-year career, delivery local news to 90 to 100 households. The time on her route has allowed Snow to establish a positive rapport with her customers.

“I love my customers,” Snow said, “I’ve had a few of ‘em tell me ‘if you get stuck or need help, I’ll pull you out.’”

Snow elaborated on the solid relationships she’s built with her customers, stating, “I’ve had family emergencies out of town and stuff and they’ve called me just to make sure I was ok.”

Over the years Snow has delivered her papers, things haven’t changed much. Not even the number of subscribers.

“For the most part it’s been going pretty steady the whole time,” Snow said, stating that the only people who stopped their subscriptions are the few who have moved out of town.

The role of newspaper carrier has become somewhat of a familial tradition with Snow. It all started with one of her sister’s friends who had delivered papers for a “long time.”

When she was done, Snow’s sister took over and did it for around five years before passing the baton to Shae.

“Eventually I might pass it on to my daughter. Get her a good starting job,” she said.

Snow’s daughter is 13 years old, but this would be far from an early age to start a delivery route, as the paper has long employed high school and middle school students in this role.

As for Snow, the best part of the work has been her customers, saying she’s gotten to know folks pretty well over the years, one customer, Tammy Hart even left her house to greet Snow on her way to the mailbox and give her a hug. The pair of Glendive natives exchanged some brief banter, talking about their dogs before parting ways.

Snow rushed her way back to her black sedan, fingers wrapped up in the sleeves of her neon orange Broncos hoodie. She hopped in and sped back off into the white to continue her route.

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