We have been cross-country skiing in Corner Brook since we moved here in 1981 and there have been some remarkable changes in that time.
When we first arrived, most of our cross-country skiing would take place on 12 Mile Dam Road and at the Blomidon Golf and Country Club. We even recall the club races in one of those early years being held on the Participark trails next to Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. But then the club began to look for a permanent home and in 1983 began development at its current location on Lundrigan Drive.
It was a fortunate choice since the higher elevation of this site has boosted our snowfall while trails at lower elevations have suffered in some recent low snow years.
The first building constructed was small (it is now being used for storage lockers) and there was no road up to the cabin from Lundrigan Drive. In those days we would take a large pack with extra clothes and food and ski the half or so kilometre up to the cabin. For our kids, this might be their main ski of the day since the trail was all uphill. The first trails that were built are still heavily used for the most part.
The 0.5-, one- and 2.5-kilometre trails are still used to access the club’s outer trails but the five-kilometre Tim Howard trail has not seen much use for many years. For skiers new to the ski club, this trail is still evident and it branches to the left off of the 2.5-kilometre Sleepy Hollow trail and it eventually leads to Francine’s Lookout.
First big event
The first big event to be held at the trails was the 1986 Newfoundland Winter Games and there have been many cross-country and biathlon events held there since then.
Some of the most memorable events include the 1997 Jeep Junior Nationals, 1999 Canada Winter Games and the 2010 Canadian Masters Championships.
Over that time the ski club has added more buildings for waxing and timing and a large extension was added to the main lodge. A road was extended off of Lundrigan Drive and a parking lot was constructed to make the ski trails and lodge much more accessible. The club has also improved its grooming equipment and added lights for night skiing.
Today the club typically has a membership of between 600-700 members and offers a host of programmes for kids and adults. The club has also developed snowshoe trails and that activity has grown tremendously in the last few years.
One of the don’t-miss experiences for anyone wanting to try the trails is to come on Saturday mornings for a ski trip to the Gazebo. There you can join the “Gazebo Crew” for a meal of toutons, beans, bologna and tea.
Then you can ski off your extra calories by skiing Achy Breaky or the Barry May trail back to the main lodge. Depending on which route you take the distance is around 8-10 kilometres and it makes for a fine way to spend a day in the outdoors. The route is wide and well marked and is usually set for classic and skate skiing.
Overall the club has 38 kilometres of trails and about 6.5 kilometres are lit for night skiing.
For more information about the Blow Me Down Trails cross-country ski club phone 639-2754 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit their web page at: http://www.blowmedown.ca/ or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/4833634027/.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at email@example.com.