© Keith Nicol
The Blow-Me-Down Mountains offer some easily accessible backcountry skiing and snowshoeing routes.
The Blow-Me-Down Mountains sit on Corner Brook’s doorstep and offer the interested backcountry skier or snowshoer a range of options.
Just a word of warning at the outset, this mountain range has the name Blow-Me-Down for a reason. Winds, especially in the winter, can be very strong and anyone planning a trip into the hills should get an updated weather forecast before heading out.
The photo that accompanies this article shows just one part of the Blow-Me-Down Mountains and was taken from McIvers on the north shore of the Bay of Islands. It also shows why this area is so scenic.
The flanks of the Blow-Me-Down Mountains rise steeply and just offshore are islands and headlands. The combination of 600-metre ridge lines next to the ocean is not something that is common in Newfoundland, or Eastern Canada for that matter and makes for a stunning ski tour or snowshoe trip.
Depending on your interest, you can venture toward the base of the bowl at the far left hand edge of the photo, marked A.
The starting point for this trip is the Blow-Me-Down Nature Trail parking lot which is located roughly at B along the south shore highway.
The route to A is about three kilometres one way and depending on your interest you could snowshoe, cross-country ski or use metal-edged backcountry skis on this trip. If you have the latter you could also ascend up into the bowl to make some turns if the snow conditions were suitable and the avalanche hazard was low.
Another option is to head straight up from the Nature Trail parking lot to the ridge crest at C by either using skins or carrying your skis and walking.
This route starts off gently and then gets very steep near the top.
There is a classic ski tour from C along the ridge crest to D and views are amazing.
It is one of our favourites since you have such a good view of Humber Arm and numerous offshore islands.
Tricky to ascend and descend
Our latest ski trip to this area was last spring with John Moores and we had interesting time since the snow near the top was crusty in places making it tricky to ascend and descend.
But the views were outstanding and we had a great trip. On other trips we have skied across the top and descended into the bowl at A and then skied out along the base of the mountains back to the parking lot.
This requires bringing avalanche gear since the drop into the bowl is very steep and is a prime location for avalanches when conditions are right.
A final destination is to head for the top of Blow-Me-Down Mountain (marked E).
We start the trip from the Nature Trail parking lot and then head to the ridge (C) and finally to the summit.
The views from the top of Blow Me-Down-Mountains are some of the best in Atlantic Canada in our opinion and in the winter you get the bonus of being able to make turns on the way down.
This trip requires good snow and would be best done on metal-edged skis.
Most people head into the Blow-Me-Downs once there is a solid-snow pack and our trips have generally been in February, March and early April.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org