Friday, 11 April 2014

Ski Touring into Blow Me Down Bowl

by Keith and Heather Nicol
   On Friday, April 11 we did a ski tour into Blow Me Down Bowl with telemarker Mark Coady to check out the snow situation in this part of the Blow Me Down Mountains. It was our first trip in here this year and with all of the snow we thought there might be more snow at the start. But is a windy spot and and although we could easily ski into the bowl area, we could see that some bogs were bare in spots. We measured snow depths in a few places and the snow was anywhere from 20 cm- 50 cm in those areas along the trail. This route can be done on a variety of ski gear or even snowshoes but you will want AT or Telemark gear if you decide to ski some of the steeper slopes. We started at the Blow Me Down Brook Nature Trail (21 0410052 E 5484278 N) parking lot on the South Shore Highway and followed the valley in for about 3 km to the stream that drains the bowl. The route is through open forest and so it is easy to pick your own trail. There are also old signs and some flagging tape in places to mark the route.Although we had nice sunny weather for the start of our trip the wind was very strong and at times we had trouble skiing into the wind. They call it Blow Me Down for a reason. Once we skied up into the bowl we could see evidence of 7 small natural avalanches which likely involved the new snow that fell on Sunday April 6. These were all on either east or north facing slopes which were likely the main areas of wind deposited snow. We also found avalanche debris well down in the bottom of the bowl from some larger older avalanches. The bowl is ringed with large cornices so use care if you are here on warm days since they may collapse with little warning. We had planned on skiing some of the steeper slopes but the strong gusty wind and the start of some steady rain forced us to ski quickly back to the car. This area will have good skiing for the next while but don't leave it too long since the lower areas will start to melt out. But be aware of steep slopes especially if they have new snow on them.
Mark Coady looks up at the centre of the bowl with older avalanche debris in front of him

Mark telemarking down the valley

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