On just about every block of just about every St. Paul neighborhood on Sunday, there appeared to be a car stuck, about to get stuck, or in the process of getting unstuck.
John Richardson found a way around that, skiing his way around the city, taking to side streets where there were few cars and more than a foot of snow on the ground by early evening.
"I did a seven-mile loop," Richardson said Sunday afternoon as he made his way home to the Selby-Dale area. "It's a good thing I was on skis, or I would have been asked for pushes or help shoveling."
As the snow piled up around the Twin Cities, hundreds of accidents were reported and even more vehicles were stuck or stranded on the sides of roadways and highways.
But all was not grim frustration. Around the cities, familiar winter patterns emerged -- kids playing while their parents shoveled and talked, friends pushing friends' cars out of snow drifts or out of intersections, homeowners on hands and knees checking on snow blowers that had conked out, and children sliding down small hills or driveways in between making snow angels. And everywhere, there was the beauty that comes with a heavy snowfall.
"Seize the day," Richardson said as he loped off down the road toward home.
He noted that the last time he had enough snow to ski along the streets was almost exactly two years ago, when about 16 inches fell on Dec. 11, 2010 -- also the day the Metrodome roof collapsed in Minneapolis.
That 2010 storm was also on the mind of Nick Stevens, a St. Paul homeowner who recalled that storm causing ice dams and eventual water damage to the kitchen of his home.
"Two years ago, we had that giant storm," Stevens said as he walked near Summit Avenue carrying a roof rake and a snow shovel he had just bought at his neighborhood hardware store. "I am actually trying to get ahead of it this time."
Like many others who were out and about, Stevens said he was surprised at how much snow was falling.
"I was expecting maybe 6 inches, but it just keeps coming," he said. "It's crazy."
So much snow fell that he decided to walk to the store instead of driving, even though it is a few blocks from his house near Summit and Dale.
"I walked to the hardware store instead of driving because I didn't want to get stuck," he said.
Regardless of how customers got there, Larry Frattalone was just happy that people were able to make it into his 18 hardware stores in the metro on Sunday.
"It's tough getting around, but people are coming in," he said at one of his two Grand Avenue stores in St. Paul. "But the people that are coming in are spending a lot."
The most popular items, not surprisingly, were shovels, snow blowers and ice melters. Frattalone said one businessman bought 300 pounds of the stuff to get ready for Monday.
"You've got to protect your customers," Frattalone said. "All those things don't sell unless you have the weather."
He said he expects business to be even better on Monday when the weather clears, as even more customers will be able to get to his stores.
Frattalone was not worried about supplies. He said stores are well stocked, maybe even overstocked because of last winter's mild weather. "We had a lot of stock from last year," he said.
Other businesses benefiting from the snow were the ski areas, which reported a decent business on Sunday.
"We're not packed, but it's been a steady day," said Don McClure, general manager at Buck Hill in Burnsville. "We'll take it."
He said the heavy snow covering is especially welcome because it might entice the casual skier onto the slopes.
"What you don't get with the brown ground is the casual skier," he said. "Winter is here, and we are off with a vengeance."
Heron Marquez • 952-746-3281