Head over heels in Newfoundland
By Julia Pelish
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STEADY BROOK, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR — The perception most of us have of Newfoundland is of a scenic wonder filled with rocky cliffs, green terrain and quaint seaside villages. It is not known as a haven for winter activity, but a visit to Western Newfoundland will obliterate any notion that Newfoundlanders are not just as much fun in the cold as in the sun. Even the province’s jewel, Gros Morne National Park, offers visitors spectacular beauty when the temperature falls below freezing.
During the annual Snow West Fest celebration, the communities within vicinity of Gros Morne showcase the region’s adventurous spirit. I attended the festival’s first weekend, which overcame unexpected rain and wind to deliver an entertaining series of events and activities that would please any hard-core winter lover.
Being from Toronto, by way of New York and Vancouver, and a bit of a citidiot myself, I thought I would have difficulty with the rigorous winter activities, some of which were foreign to me. From snowmobiling and snowshoeing to (gulp) downhill skiing, I managed them all, giving me confidence I could actually get out and participate in these adventurous sports without breaking my neck.
Snow West Fest also featured activities that were more familiar to me: Fine dining and wine sipping. Events such as Wine on the Waterfront at the cozy Ocean View Hotel in Rocky Harbour, at the edge of Gros Morne, and the kitchen party that followed featured Newfoundland’s famous hospitality. Chef Steve Watson was a busy man, helping to prepare dinner at Blow Me Down Trails and Neddies Harbour Inn while also performing hour-long ice-sculpting demonstrations for Snow West Fest attendees.
And, of course, the best part of Newfoundland for any photographer is the heart-racing, jaw-gaping, scream-inducing scenery that makes you feel so happy to be alive when you come upon it. From the magical peaks within Gros Morne to the back-country beauty on the province’s unspoiled snowmobile trails, Western Newfoundland is a grand showcase of Canadian landscapes.
oin in on the final weekend of Snow West Fest, which begins Friday. Your cheeks will turn rosy from the excercise, laughter, fresh air, and superb food and wine offered at many festival events, and the views in this special part of Canada will linger in your heart.