Guessing game: Palatine business turns fate of last pile of snow into a yearly contest

  • A large pile of winter snow remains near the parking garage on Colfax Street in Palatine. Across the street, Advanced Automotive has made a game out of guessing when it will melt.

    A large pile of winter snow remains near the parking garage on Colfax Street in Palatine. Across the street, Advanced Automotive has made a game out of guessing when it will melt. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Despite Tuesday's high temperatures, a large pile of winter snow is holding strong outside the Palatine parking garage on Colfax Street. Across the street, Advanced Automotive has made a game out of guessing when it will melt.

    Despite Tuesday's high temperatures, a large pile of winter snow is holding strong outside the Palatine parking garage on Colfax Street. Across the street, Advanced Automotive has made a game out of guessing when it will melt. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Workers and customers at Advanced Automotive in Palatine have a yearly contest to see who can guess when a large pile of snow outside the parking garage on Colfax Street will finally melt.

    Workers and customers at Advanced Automotive in Palatine have a yearly contest to see who can guess when a large pile of snow outside the parking garage on Colfax Street will finally melt. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/27/2021 5:01 PM

The temperature reached well into the 80s Tuesday, but those hoping to win a $100 prize by estimating when a pile of snow in Palatine will melt will have to wait longer.

The snow comes from the top of a public parking deck off Colfax Street in Palatine, which is cleared by village crews, and sits untouched until it melts.

 

For at least a decade, Advanced Auto and Truck Repair, across the street, has made a game of it, asking employees and customers to guess the date the snow pile will melt and be gone.

That day typically comes in June, and warm days don't make much of a difference because the pile is always in the shade, Advanced Automotive co-owner Jim Stepp said. This year's pile is likely the highest it's ever been, he said.

"The highest point is about 10 feet, and it's still 20 feet long. I can see it from my window."

The auto shop took entries from Feb. 1 to April 15 from about 100 participants.

In past years, entries cost $10, but this year the auto shop noticed people weren't willing to pay, so it will donate the $100 prize, Stepp said. And if more than one person guesses correctly, each person will get $100, Stepp said.

"When the pile gets small enough so I can't see it from my window, I go out there," he said. "One time there was a snowball that was there for four days. So I went there every morning for four days."

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