THE heavy snowfall divided the town into two camps yesterday – the workers and the players.
Residents of Huddersfield were split between those who had to brave the elements and struggle to work and those who got the day off and took to the hills with hiking boots and sledges.
Gritters worked throughout the night to keep the town’s main roads open, but by the morning peak period the continuous snow had made many of them treacherous again.
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One gritter driver who stopped to refuel at the petrol station at the aptly-named Alpine Bend near Honley said he had been out since 3.30am when there was already around five inches of snow on the roads.
His job was to grit the main roads between Holmfirth and Huddersfield town centre, but the constant snow was covering them almost as soon as he had gritted.
Many drivers were forced to abandon their cars at the side of the road.
Hills around the town centre proved difficult as wheels spun on the snow and cars ground to a halt.
Meanwhile, as workers battled in their cars and on foot, thousands of schoolchildren and their families made the most of the snow.
Almost all of Kirklees’ 192 schools were closed and only 18 remained open in Calderdale.
“It’s great weather, we love it,” said Julie Lucas, of Station Road, Golcar, who went sledging with her children Bethan, four, and Harriet, two, at Scapegoat Hill.
She added: “We think it’s brilliant, but we are getting a bit shivery now so we are going to head home.”
Julie’s view was echoed by retired engineer John Ramsden, 65, of Intake, Golcar.
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He set off in the morning and walked around Bolster Moor, Pole Moor and Meal Hill before returning home.
John, who wore hiking boots and high-tech outdoor clothing, said: “I’m out for pleasure. This seasonal weather is lovely.
“If you haven’t got to go to work you are all right. But if you have to get to work, it’s a different story.
“I’ve seen abandoned cars and saw one slide into a wall. I saw another, a 4X4, going too fast. He thought because he was in a 4X4, he was OK.
“But as he was going into Meal Hill (above Slaithwaite), he skidded and his back end went into the wall.
“Most people are driving for the conditions, they are driving cautiously.”
The Lockwood children, also from Golcar, were celebrating having the day off school by having a family snowball fight outside their house in Town End.
The story was the same in the Holme Valley with roads and fields dotted with hikers, dog walkers and sledders.
Most of those out and about were sensibly dressed in boots and heavy winter clothing as temperatures struggled to get above freezing.
Sledging was so popular that Kaye’s ironmongers in the centre of Holmfirth finally ran out of sledges after selling several dozen.
Shop manager Richard Thompson said: “We have been quite busy and business has been good considering the conditions.
“We have sold quite a few snow shovels this morning, and we’ve been selling lots of Wellington boots, although we still have plenty left.
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“We have completely sold out of sledges, but we will be getting some more in this afternoon.”
Another person who was enjoying the cold snap was Dave Trueman, who lives in Holme village. He was out walking his two Newfoundland dogs in Holmbridge.
The breed originates from an island off the east coast of Canada and the dogs have an extremely thick coat all year round.
Dave said: “They really love this cold weather.”
The snowy conditions and sub-zero temperatures are forecast to continue at least until Friday.