Friday, March 23, 2012

Southwest Gulch

(Our Backyard)
The west coast of Newfoundland offers some amazing terrain for backcountry riding in the winter. In fact it’s arguably the best terrain east of the Rockies. A few of our crew tagged along on a trip last month to a ski hut in beautiful Gros Morne National Park for three days of riding waist deep powder in one of the most beautiful regions this province has to offer.

The idea for the trip was conceived by our homegirl Marina, who took it upon herself to book the cabin and kick-start the planning phase. The cabin itself was located in an area known as Southwest Gulch, in the Tablelands region of Gros Morne. The final numbers were tallied at sixteen for the duration of the trip we would be staying at the cabin.

Our good friend Gossey is a key member to bring on any shred trip, not only because he is a hilarious and upbeat person, but also because he is a helicopter pilot by day and is able to use that connection to his advantage when possible. This being so, he flew in ahead of the crew with a chopper “loaded to the tits”, in his own words, with supplies.

(Helicopter view of the crew gathering at the trailhead)

(View of the Cabin from the helicopter)

On the morning of February 20th the rest of the motley crew traveled from home base in the Steady Brook/ Corner Brook area to the trailhead, roughly an hour and thirty minutes away in Birchy Head, Gros Morne. From there we made our way up into the Tablelands to our home for the next few days. Most of the group made their way to the cabin by skins or on snowshoes, but Dru, Yvan and myself brought along our sleds to make transporting bodies and supplies a little easier. Snowmobiling is frowned upon in the park, so the machines were mainly parked at the base of whatever face we chose to ride and we would hike from there.

The crew slowly arrived at the cabin after ascending the trail from Birchy Head. The hut has no running water or electricity, so preparations were made to auger a hole in a nearby pond to provide water for the trip. The first evening was spent exploring our immediate surroundings, setting up our sixteen bunks in one room, eating Gosse’s delicious homemade chili and having a few drinks around the woodstove with good friends.

the team

(The Motley Crew, DK Photo)

The days that followed would prove to be best winter trip I have ever experienced on the island. The sixteen of us would eat together in the morning and then separate into smaller groups to explore different zones in the region. This proved to be an efficient way to experience the area, as it allowed everyone to pair up with others who were interested in finding the same type of terrain. Our daily crew consisted of Dru, Karl, Paul, Josh, Yvan and myself, with the addition of many of the larger group as we encountered eachother throughout the day. We posted up for basically the whole trip on one long ridge that provided us with relatively easy access to amazing open tree runs. Once we created a boot pack up the ridge, it was just a matter of dropping in at different spots from the top to get fresh lines every time.

Here are a few more pictures from the trip to give you an idea of how beautiful the area is. I highly suggest considering a trip to Southwest Gulch if the opportunity ever arrises. Click HERE for a link to the Parks Canada website where you can get more information.

Video footage will show up on a project in the future…….

hiking up

(Yvan, Josh and Paul going for a hike, DK photo)

at the top

(Yvan, Josh and Dru about to be rewarded for reaching the top, DK photo)

methods for days

(Josh is Method Man, DK photo))


( Pow Wheelie, DK photo)


(I've been known to pop a pillow in my day, DK photo))


(and snag a turn or two, DK photo)

(Karl, Dane and Dru relaxing after a pow filled day)

(Marina, Piker, Natalie and Coady making it happen)

(Piker made sure that wood stove never went out, so I guess can we can blame him for nearly sweating to death every night)

(Coady, Gosse, Marina and Yvan enjoying the view)

(Nothing worse than soggy gear)

(Marina, Stokes and Beth checking the snow pack)

(Paul and Karl are world champion snowshoers)

(Mexican Dominoes is a good way to cap off an amazing day)

(Dru's komatik came in handy)


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