Column: The Big Snow

The huge snow fall in Kitimat/Terrace areas recently reminded me of the Big Snow here in January 1962.

The huge snow fall in Kitimat/Terrace areas recently reminded me of the Big Snow here in January 1962.

There hadn’t been anything quite like it before, nor since.

Big goose feathery flakes began falling Saturday morning, Jan. 6, and by Sunday night the entire Cariboo was buried.

Oldtimers were amazed. Road crews did their best but with telephone lines down there was no way to communicate, and a couple of machine operators were “lost” for days.

My husband was one of them. He and his swamper (who drove the truck which carried fuel and towed their small travel trailer) were at Kleene Kleene and when the snow began, they headed home to Alexis Creek.

It took them four days steady going.

They were afraid to stop for long in case they couldn’t get moving again.

People couldn’t get to work, ranchers had issues fighting through the snow to feed cattle — it was a big mess. Our four small boys and I were snowed in for only four days. Many were longer.

It really wasn’t a big deal for me. Back then most people in the hinterland had woodstoves and pantries full of food. I did run out of matches and didn’t dare let the fires go out.

Road crews were exhausted.

Even with every available private bulldozer working it took days to dig out the main roads, never mind the side roads.

Highways Public Works had one unexpected issue. Many of the crew worked over 24 hours straight for several days and there was no precedent for calculating the overtime.

I wonder how we’d cope if we got a repeat of that one. Communication systems and machinery are so much better now, but losing hydro power would be worrisome.

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The Sunday night reunion of Saturday Night Live was fun to watch but  I  wish they  had  focused more on  clips  of past shows and less on past stars reminiscing.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.