If you've ignored all of the other signs of an impending winter - you know fall colors, cooler temperatures, the first signs of slushy snow - here's one that you can't look past:  The Minnesota Department of Transportation has scheduled their annual Snowplow Operator Training event.  While drivers went through the initial session back in September as part of the two-week training event, the final comes on Wednesday, October 23 at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minnesota.

From 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM that day, the snowplow operators will put their skills to the test - learning techniques and best practices that will serve them well in the coming winter season.  A variety of highway situations will be studied.

The annual Snowplow Operator Training (known as SPOT) is a chance for MNDOT to give the necessary training and evaluation to their staff in advance of the falling snow.  According to MNDOT's website, the state clears and maintains 30,585 miles of state highways and interstates.  On the crew is 840 plows, driven by more than 1,800 full and part-time operators.