Snowmageddon 2017

Creston Museum News & Articles Leave a Comment


We are but 5 1/2 weeks into the year of 2017, and amongst the crazy political turmoil that is sucking the life out of your news feed and seriously interrupting your cat video supply, we over here in southern BC are busy breaking weather records already.

In case you have tuned out your news sources,  here is a recap of what mother nature has been entertaining herself with in our neck of the woods. This weekend southern BC and parts of the North West (in the states) have been shattering February and Winter snowfall and accumulation records left right and center. Here in the Kootenays, we have seen between 40-70+ cm of snowfall in about 2 days. That is a minimum of 1′ 4″ all the way to 2′ 4″ (plus), and that is not putting into account the WIND that, at least here in Creston, we got quite a hit of, causing drifts on some parts of downtown sidewalks close to 5′ in height, and a few against houses and buildings even higher than that.

Now, if you are on the prairies or in certain parts of Eastern Canada, you are probably scoffing, because that is just a normal snow fall to you! Which, let me just commend you for being so casual with, because here in South Western Canada, especially in our extremely sheltered little valley, this is kind of a big deal, in fact it is just plain nuts. But I think we on this side cope fairly well compared to the lower mainland, where anything over a 2cm (3/4″) appears to cause mass craziness (in all fairness, this time they did receive quite a dump; by all standards).

Here in the Kootenays, this enormous amount of snow accumulation has some pretty serious consequences, such as avalanches in several high traffic areas, not just back country recreational areas but also highways. The Salmo-Creston or Kootenay Pass, at 5,823ft, (one of the highest summit passes this side of Canada), is a MAJOR through way, so this risk is taken extremely seriously. Especially since the drop offs are, well, a little steep. So a lot of time is spent identifying slide risk areas, controlled triggers, and clean up to ensure the safety of travelers.  Over towards Fernie (East Kootenays), there were several slides on the highways, actually trapping commuters, so it turned into an amazing community effort, opening up the community center for those stranded. Like, a real old school pull together!

Speaking of old school, I decided to look into some of the records for Creston snowfall records and events. It appears November 18 is a bit of a consistent day for us 😐

Here are some clips from our “On this Day” online exhibit:

Nov 18 1893 Courtesy of Mrs. J.W. Dow:  “Oldtime settlers of Creston Valley have comments and statistics of blizzards in the past, and it is reported that on November 18, 1893, the valley was hit by a blizzard of furious proportions.  Navigation on the Kootenay River came to a standstill as the river froze, the steamboat en route to Bonners Ferry had to turn back at Porthill.  Mrs. Dow reported that her husband was on the steamboat and was let off on the bank of the Goat River, and lost his way on the flats en route home at about 10 PM.


Nov 18 1946 What started in as a snowfall early Sunday morning, ended in a blizzard which hit with fury around 3 PM Monday afternoon, forcing vehicular traffic to stop movement and schools let out early in order that students could reach home safely.

All car and truck traffic was at a standstill from Monday afternoon with pedestrians taking to the roads in order to reach town. The westbound CPR train which should arrive around 9:30 AM on Tuesday morning pulled into Creston around supper time.  While some narrow escapes of school children being overcome by exhaustion was reported following their being sent home Monday, no casualties from the blizzard have been reported.

Monday morning, due to the weight of snow, many buildings were groaning, and the planing mill roof of the Creston Builders Supply caved in, but at the moment no damage to machinery was noted.

In general cars Tuesday morning were parked any and everywhere, victims of heavy snow drifts and icy roads.  Drifts on the main street of Creston measured as high as five feet, and many had to dig passageways from their homes to the main street.

1946 Snowstorm 1 1946 Snowstorm 2 1946 Snowstorm 3 (1)

Jan 14 1951 Heavy Snowfall in Creston Sunday night.  Sunday night (Jan 14) brought one of the year’s heaviest snowfalls, Monday morning was a busy one for garages and tricky driving for the majority of Creston motorists.  During the week-end heavy snowfall was noted east of Creston with blizzard conditions through the Crows Nest Pass.


That’s all the January 18 paper had to say about the matter, but the following week had this:


“Eight inches Snow fell Sunday night.  Last Sunday (Jan 21) Creston Valley had its heaviest snow of 1950 and 1951 to date with 8 inches falling from Saturday night to 2:30 pm Sunday.  On January 2nd the valley had six inches, the same amount also falling on the 14th.  Snow ploughs and other snow equipment was out immediately and kept arterial highways open.”


In another article on Jan 25:


“All main roads and school bus routes were plowed out on Sunday following the heavy fall of snow that ranged up to nearly a foot in Creston district.  Provincial Public Works officals said that all available plows, including a grader, two trucks, and a caterpillar, were dispatched Sunday afternoon.  Opening of the side roads continued Monday and Tuesday.  A second grader, just returned from the repair shop in Nelson, was expected to go into action later in the week as soon as it could be fitted for plowing.”

Nov 27 1961 Heavy snow causes traffic slow-up


A heavy snow which began early Monday morning caused considerable traffic difficulty on the highways and in Creston.


To date the snowfall has equalled any other year and if it continues, will set a new record before Christmas.


Orchardists are happy about the snow as covering against frost.


Farmers generally are happy about the precipitation. However, it could be dangerous unless orderly spring run-offs take place.



In fact, according to, that Nov 18 1946 blizzard was one of the highest single day snowfalls in recent history, at 45.7cm, with December 30 1996 being one of the highest snow depths in recent history, at 82cm. That is quite a bit of snow.


Those are just the property, you should check out some of downtown! Here is one of our local photographers albums!

We want to see your crazy snow pictures! Share them with us at with #Snowmageddon2017