Suburban Business Turns Pesky Pile of Snow Into Contest

For nearly two decades, residents in Palatine have placed bets on how long a snow pile will stick around

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Flowers are blooming and grass is turning green on Colfax Street in suburban Palatine, but the signs of spring are overshadowed by a hard-to-miss winter remnant.

Jennifer Hayes works next to the suburban snow pile and refers to it as “The Palatine Glacier.”

“We always comment on it every time we come out here, mention something about the glacier,” said Hayes. “It’s there, right in front of you, can’t miss it.”

The snow stack is nearly ten feet high and still frozen solid.

“It was 80 plus degrees yesterday, and the pile never budged an inch,” said Jim Stepp, who co-owns Advanced Auto and Truck repairs across the street.

For years, he and partner, Rod Knesper, have turned the steadfast stack’s persistence into a contest, which remains open from Jan. 1 to April 15.

This year, there is no entry fee. Whoever guesses the closet melt date wins $100 cash and a $500 donation to their charity of choice, donated by the auto shop.

“My guess this year is July 14,” said Stepp.

The snow bank is the highest it’s ever been, according to the pair. It’s positioned next to a parking garage and shaded from the sun. In 2020, the snowbank stuck around until mid-June.

“The top of the parking garage is actually a parking deck. The only way to remove snow from top of deck is to use tractor or Bob Cat," said Knesper. "They literally take buckets of it and dump it off over the side of the building. That’s how the piles become so big."

Stepp and Knesper said the contest is a fun way to give back to their community. In January, they donated a car to a deserving family, hit hard by the pandemic.

“There are 70,000 people in Palatine, but it’s my small town,” said Stepp.

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