Port au Choix house survives long winter covered in snow

A Port au Choix couple is returning home after their house was buried under snow all winter.
The home of Janice Gould and Rick Cooper in Port au Choix was buried in a mound of hard-packed snow, eight feet above the roof. (Janice Gould)

A Port au Choix couple is returning home after their house was buried under snow all winter.

Janice Gould and Rick Cooper returned home from Alberta on March 12 to find their house completely covered with snow. The town council had moved snow away from their house and driveway until there was nowhere left to put it. 

After almost a month living nearby with her sister, Gould is relieved to see her home uncovered at last, and to see that the house is still intact. 

"It makes me feel good," says Gould, who has returned to the home with Cooper. 

Friends and neighbours helped clear away tonnes of snow from Janice Gould and Rick Cooper's home. (Courtesy Janice Gould)
"I think about it — how we could have lost our home. I know there's worse things in life, but to know our house withstood all that snow, it feels good."

A massive community effort went in to digging out.

Along with Cooper and Gould, who worked on digging away snow each day, Gould says there were sometimes as many as 15 others who joined them in their effort.

"We'd never have been able to have done it with just shovels," she says.

One person brought in a backhoe for five hours to break the snow up. It had been so tightly packed, it looked like nothing Gould has ever seen in this province as the backhoe broke it apart.

"It looked like arctic ice," she says. "It was blue, almost like big boulders."

'Took up the whole field'

Another neighbour with a loader carried the snow to a field nearby, where everyone involved saw the scope of what they had been up against.

"It took up the whole field and it's piled as high as a two-storey house or higher," says Gould.

Even removing this much snow created just five or six feet of space around the house.

In the time the house was buried, the roof over the porch collapsed and some other damage was sustained, but the main roof withstood the pressure — something the couple had feared might not stand up.

"The floor in the porch and the roof is sagged down. We got a lot of broken shingles, but the house hasn't leaked so far," Gould said.

Further damage assessment remains necessary because the bottom level of the house is still buried.