Monday, 6 May 2013

Spring skiing in the Tablelands Bowl in Gros Morne National Park

by Keith and Heather Nicol
      With the forecast for sun and warm temperatures, we decided to head to the Tablelands to ski into the Bowl for some turns on what we hoped to be great corn snow. Our group consisted of 3 skiers and 2 snowboarders. I also wanted to test out my new G3 Alpinist High Traction ( skins in warm spring snow conditions. On our last visit we could ski from the Tablelands parking lot but in the intervening 10 days or so we had very warm temperatures and loads of rain so we were pleasantly surprised to see that by walking up the Tablelands hiking trail and then following the brook for about 200 meters we could be on snow virtually to the top of the Bowl. The Tablelands are very windy and this has a silver lining in that the stream bed fills in with wind blown snow so that late in the season you can still follow this ribbon of snow into the Bowl. 
Colin carves a turn in the soft spring snow

Note the glide cracks in the foreground

   Once in the bowl we skied most of our runs on the western side since this had been warmed most by the sun. We made several runs up this side and I was very impressed with how my skins were working, especially on some of the steeper sections. Although the avalanche hazard is now generally low unless we get some very warm temperatures, be aware of the glide cracks that are forming along the stream bed and along the top of the bowl. Some of these have a thin covering of snow and one of the dogs we had along on the trip fell in one and one skier went up to his waist in another. Some of the cracks are 3-4 meters deep so watch where you are stepping. There is still a large amount of snow in the Bowl itself and the skiing is great so if you don’t mind walking abit to start there are still likely 1 – 2 weeks left for the keeners out there.For details on how to get to the Tablelands Bowl see our previous posts.  
Chris riding in the upper part of the Bowl.

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