Ski Touring to Blow Me Down Ridge
On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 John Moores and I headed up to check out the snow stability and snow depths along the flank of Blow me down Mountain near Corner Brook. This area has a great setting for exploring in all seasons but it is particularly scenic in the winter when the white snow contrasts with the deep blue water of the Bay of Islands. Add to this the progressively steeper snow slopes mean that you have terrain that can be adapted to your skills and equipment. By staying low, people on light touring ski gear or snowshoes can have a great day or if you have metal edged ski touring gear with stiffer boots you can venture higher. Since our goal was to ski along the ridge top we brought along wide ski touring skis with skins to grip the slope on the ascent.
John Moores enjoys the view of the Bay of Islands
We were interested in checking out the snow depths for general ski touring and also how well the snow from weekend’s spring blizzard was bonding to the crust below. Initially we were surprised how little snow there was at the Nature Trail Parking lot (UTM 21 0410043E 5434993N). But by walking uphill about 200 meters we reached pretty much continuous snow which we could see went right to the summit ridge at an elevation of 1500 feet. We had spectacular views of the Bay of Islands as we climbed and we found anywhere from 80 cm to 140 cm of snow in the gullies that we were following. The new snow came with temperatures close to freezing and it seemed to have bonded quite well to the crust As we climbed higher we found up to 25 cm of new wind packed snow, sitting on a very compact base of snow. Since this slope faces east it has cornices ringing the top section but we found a gap at UTM 21 0409216E 5433721N which allowed us to reach the ridge top. From there we skied along the ridge and had amazing views of offshore islands, Humber Arm and we could see all the way to Corner Brook. The skiing on the way down was tricky, especially at the top since the wind packed snow was not particularly user friendly. But as we got lower the snow was much more consistent and we linked many turns through the trees on the way down. Winter hasn’t let up on the west coast of the province and there should be a few weeks of good skiing left this year.
The view from the ridge is amazing in all directions