Coalmont resident Michelle Cole'e granddaughter

Coalmont resident Michelle Cole'e granddaughter

Coalmont driver dodges rockslide

Trip along the Coalmont Road turns dicey for truck heading home from Princeton.

Three people are lucky to survive an avalanche that engulfed a section of the Coalmont Road as they drove home on March 5.

Rocks tore down the mountainside where the road turns into a single lane, around 10 kilometres from Princeton.

Michelle Cole, her granddaughter and another women were driving from Princeton to Coalmont during a snow storm that evening when their truck was hit by rocks and a huge cloud of dust.

“It was the most terrifying moment of my life. I thought we were going to fly off the side off the cliff,” Cole said.

“I couldn’t see anything, I just gunned through.”

At first Cole thought the loud noise was a large truck behind her, but quickly realized she was in the middle of a rockslide when the boulders started pounding her truck.

ICBC has declared her truck a write-off because it’s so badly damaged, Cole said.

Coalmont residents are used to navigating through smaller rocks on the windy road, especially in the winter when the ice melts, causing the rocks to break away from the cliff.

The rockslide happened right where the narrow road becomes one lane, making it impossible to avoid for Coalmont resident Anne Passey.

“The rocks are right on the curve, so by the time we got there, we were right on it,” she said.

The rocks ripped off her car’s spoiler and dented the trailer hitch.

Passey said she is used to avoiding rocks on the Coalmont Road, but was upset crews didn’t clean it up that night.

The crews later moved the larger rocks and pushed smaller ones to the side, but the rocks could were still dangerous because of the narrow width of the road, she said.

“If you’re driving at night, you need to go 40 kilometres and hour, not 60, because you could come around the corner and there could be a big rock in the middle of the road.”

The rocks on the road don’t affect summer tourism, but the village has been seeing more winter tourists lately.

“We’re used to the rocks, but tourists have to know to slow down,” Passey said.