Spring Riding in the Lewis Hills
The Lewis Hills are one of my favourite spots to ride in the spring. Now don’t get me wrong, the place is an absolute dream on a deep powder day with bluebird skies, but guess what? Over the past ten years, I’ve found it near impossible to get that deep/bluebird day in there. Why? Well, I live eight hours from the Lewis Hills. Over the past ten years, I’ve come to realize that if I want to get the most out of my time in the Lewis Hills, I have to wait for spring corn snow. Next to deep powder, corn snow can be an absolute blast too.
Spring corn snow is that really loose pellet-like snow that can easily make for lots of fun. I find it fun for sidehilling, climbs and one of my spring riding favourites; doing elevators. I know right now, 50% of you out there are saying “what’s an elevator?” In a nutshell, an elevator is when you set your sled on its side, lean into the hill, apply the right amount of throttle and you can descend down the hill in a controlled fashion (most times). For some of you, you’re probably saying ‘why’…well, it’s fun even for a 42 year old kid. Spring snow can be forgiving too, but way wetter.
I recall one of my first spring time trips to the Lewis Hills. That particular trip saw us depart each morning from the Stephenville side and travel in Cold Brook Road. The 30 KM ride was like foreplay each day before we hit the fun. That particular trip, we stayed at the Stephenville Holiday Inn and we had a blast, even though we had lost two engines, our smiles were still wide. On the ride home from the trip, we collectively agreed that spring riding is pretty nice. You have longer days, warmer temperatures and the vastness of a place like the Lewis Hills, with spring conditions; you can actually see all of it. Unlike January or February, whiteout conditions are possible, but quite rare for spring riding in the Lewis Hills. We rode those three days and I don’t know if we crossed our tracks…there’s that much to explore in there. Even in April/May, you’ll find valleys with 20+ feet of snow. Note to your experienced riders…the Lewis Hills is a great destination in the spring to introduce someone to snowmobiling. The vistas are world-class. Every time I arrive at Rope Cove Canyon, I fall in love with the place. Allow these first-timers to get their picture taken on the “Roof of Newfoundland”. The highest peak in Newfoundland is located in the Lewis Hills. Funny enough, the peak is more of a flat plateau with a pile of rocks to allow you to be the absolute highest person in the province for a minute or two.
My last trip to the Lewis Hills was on May 5, 2014. Our riding group consisted of Mark Shave, Brad Priddle and I. We departed on this ideal bluebird day from the town of Gallants. Even though there wasn’t a piece of snow in Gallants, 50 feet up the trail we had tons…and I mean tons. We didn’t see gravel until we arrived back to the trucks.
Conditions were absolutely great. The snow was loosened up enough to allow for sidehilling and even the occasional drop or two…even us old fellows will do a drop or two. Once during the day, Mark had mentioned to me about all the sidehilling I was doing on the 2014 RMK 155. My response was pretty simple…”conditions are ideal and this sled loves to sidehill.” That’s possibly one of my favourite things about the new RMK sleds from Polaris. You set them into a sidehill and they’ll stay there all day.
We closed out the 2014 season with this trip. I can’t complain because the 2014 season was a seven month season. I’m sure well into June the Lewis Hills had snow, but reaching it becomes the challenge. Once Logger School Road and Cold Brook Road let out, most die-hards call it quits. This year, I’m looking to end off my 2015 season with a Lewis Hills trip. Why….because the place is awesome in spring and that’s why I visit the Lewis Hills in the spring.