No snow? No problem. Toro's betting money that your snowblower won't go to waste this winter.

The king of lawn mowers and other yard equipment has a new "S'No Risk Guarantee" that promises customers 100 percent of their money back if this winter's snowfall is less than 10 percent of the average for their region. If it snows less than 50 percent, Toro promises a 10 percent refund. In both cases, Toro will let the customer keep their machine.

Marketers at the Bloomington-based company are billing the offer as "taking the risk out of buying a snowblower." The refund offer is good for purchases made between Aug. 1 and Nov. 15 and applies to any model of Toro snowthrower. Toro will use official snowfall averages tallied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Before consumers get too comfy over the offer, data presented by the Climatology Working Group at the University of Minnesota shows that Toro's not risking much by making its offer. With traditional snowfall pattens, consumers are unlikely to see refunds. In the Twin Cities, for example, the climatology data shows the Twin Cities annual average snowfall is near 54 inches.

For full refunds to become a reality, the metro area would have get less than 5.4 inches of snow for the year. Examining records dating to 1891, the lowest snowfall on record was 14 inches. The chances for a 10 percent refund under Toro's offer are not much better. According to the National Weather Service, the Twin Cities hasn't averaged snowfall levels less than 27 inches (50 percent of 54 inches) in more than a decade.

So go ahead buy a snowblower. Just prepare to use it. □