Friday, 2 March 2012

Sampling Ski Touring in the Blow Me Down Mountains

By Keith Nicol
          The Blow me down Mountains are on Corner Brook's door step and are a fine place to explore on a cool, sunny winter day. On a recent trip on Friday, March 2 I saw a couple of snowshoers and but it is also an ideal place for ski touring. I wanted to test some equipment-new Intuition liners for my telemark boots and a new Backcountry Access Avalanche Probe (I was interested in determining the snow depth along the way) so this was a perfect excuse to head into the backcountry. With the spectacular Bay of Islands in the background I followed a broad bench above Blow Me Down Brook through the open forest of pine and fir. It took me just over an hour to ski (I used skins to grip the snow) and get across the brook draining a huge alpine bowl and then after a quick lunch I headed up the slope.
The Bay of Islands are a brilliant backdrop as you ski tour into the mountains

         After ascending for another 20 minutes uphill it was time to rip off the skins and make some telemark turns in the soft powder snow. The snow was easy to turn in and I could hardly believe this amazing setting.  Views were great is all directions, there was good snow and not a soul to be seen. I  put on my skins at the bottom and decided to head higher this time. However, the further up the slope I went the snow was more wind swept and crusty so after taking some pictures I worked my way down to more skiable snow. Snow depths were variable on the slope I skied on - from 80 cm to bare rock in the exposed areas. This area is ideal for exploring on skis or snowshoes and I fully recommend spending some time here on sunny, winter day. Here are the UTM coordinates for anyone wanting to do this trip: park your car at 21 0410023 E 5434985 N (on the South Shore Highway just past the bridge which crosses Blow Me Down Brook) and my highest descent started at 21 0410840 E 5431942 N. There is lots of terrain here to explore and I  plan to be back again before the winter is out.
The bowl behind would offer some great steep skiing when snow stability is good

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