New Found LAND
Where is the first place that comes to mind when you think of incredible snowmobiling that spans 7-8 months of the year, and the majority of those months are filled with deep, untracked powder? British Columbia, right? Well, it’s NEWFOUNDLAND. British Columbia boasts mile high peaks, and has an annual snowfall that is enough to make you cry. It is indeed, a sledder’s dream. However, I’ve been to B.C and Alberta, and had the time of my life, but when the trip was over and I returned to Newfoundland, the most enjoyable days were right here, in the place that I call home, THE ROCK.
There are many reasons why I think Newfoundland is a top contender for a snowmobile ride destination. I may be biased in my opinion, as this is where I ride 90% of the time, but every time I weigh the pros and cons, NL always comes out on top. Does it have the deepest snow? Does it have the longest trail systems? Does it have the Highest Mountains? No, but there is SO much more to snowmobiling in my mind, and I believe that most of you will agree.
For me, because of my insatiable hunger for DEEP powder, number one on the list of what makes Newfoundland so amazing is simply put like this. The statement, the early bird gets the worm, doesn’t really apply here, and for good reason. The sheer amount of ridable, mountainous terrain, accompanied by a relatively small amount of snowmobilers, boils down to miles and miles of untracked snow. No matter what time you drag yourself out of bed, you know there will be powder fields waiting. I have yet to ride a tracked out zone, even when it hadn’t snowed in a week or two, and that’s not stretching the truth. Major snowmobile destinations like Revelstoke, or Whistler can get tracked out in a hurry. It is not uncommon in Newfoundland for our group to ride an entire day, and not encounter another soul.
Part two is the incredible opportunity we have right here in our own backyard. That is, Gros Morne National Park, a World Heritage Site and the second largest National Park in Atlantic Canada, the first being in Northern Labrador. The big kicker here is that we can ride our snowmobiles in the Park, with some minor restrictions of course. You simply have to purchase a park pass and obtain a free operator’s pass. This access allows you to ride the deepest snow in Newfoundland, and take in some of the most spectacular views our province has to offer. The number one attraction being Western Brook Gorge, an impressive fjord that juts up from the ocean and has rock faces nearly 2000ft high. If I am not mistaken, it is the only National Park in Canada, if not North America, that allows snowmobile access to the public. Thank your lucky stars and please abide by the rules/regulations that they have in place, so we can all enjoy this area for many years to come.
Number three is huge bonus for most of us. I can literally suit-up, open the garage door, and ride. Being located in Deer Lake, the snowmobiling hub of Newfoundland, provides me the ability to ride North, South, East or West, and access all of the major riding areas on the West Coast of the island. Growing up here, I rode snowmobiles to school for as long as I can recall, and I am not alone on that one. Snowmobiling in NL is a way of life for many, and not just a recreational sport to enjoy on the weekends.
The fourth is for those who like to partake in trail riding, which is directly correlated to number three as most can do so right from their front step. Trail riding in Newfoundland and Labrador offers riders coastal views, with beautiful ocean scenery and exotic treks through mature, untouched forests. Newfoundland has an extensive trail network, with over 5,000 km of maintained trails that will suit everyone from a beginner to the high mileage guru. All of this, plus groomed access to our mountainous terrain, can be enjoyed for as little as 80 dollars, with the purchase of a seasonal trail pass. For those visiting the island, as well as local riders, please help support the Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobile Federation and purchase a trail pass at https://nlsfpermits.com.
Last, but not least, is something that is very unique to Newfoundland and Labrador, and that would be our rugged and often remote villages and towns. Many of these are snowmobile accessible during the winter months, and offer visitors a look back in time. One major attraction for an extended trip into the backcountry is a ride to Great Harbour Deep. You can make the trek from Jackson’s Arm or Deer Lake, to this resettled community. There is even a much-needed place to stay when you arrive, as I do not suggest you attempt to make this a day trip. The Danny Corcoran Lodge caters to snowmobilers during the winter months; plan your trip in advance because they book up fast.
There are many opportunities and adventures waiting around every corner. As a local that has been exploring this country for much of my life, I have yet to scratch the surface. Oh, and one last side note, we ride from sea level to our highest peak at 2, 671 ft. That equals more horsepower than at elevation, and who doesn’t like a few more ponies? I know I sure do!