In Search of Labrador Pow – Goose Bay Bound.
By Dwight Ings
So how did this idea to travel to Labrdor all come about?
It’s funny actually I’ve been talking about it for well over a month now trying to find someone who would travel 2600 KM return trip, so I had a customer/friend message me on February 4th asking me if I had any 2-Stroke AmsOil in stock, so I went up to meet him at the Town hall in Summerford (NL) and he told me they were going to labrador and asked if I wanted to join them, and well me being me, loving sled season, I could not pass up the opportunity! I instantly messaged my buddy Jordan Watkins and asked him if he wanted to join the Labrador trip and he didn’t hesitate either.
Pre-trip; what kind of planning was involved?
Well it was a last minute trip so there wasn’t much planning just head down packing and making sure I had enough tools and spare parts and extra fuel for the truck in case anything went south.
It was around 9 PM on February 4th when I pulled out of my driveway with the sled on the sled deck, box full of parts, tools and fuel. On the way I stop into Lewisprote to pick up Jordan, his sled and his gear, we head up to the Lewisporte Mall to meet up with the crew; Cole, Jason, Johnny and Chris. Now it’s time to hit the road. We knew we had a long night ahead of us. It took roughly 8 hours to get to the Saint Barbe Ferry. It was all night time travel so we didn’t make many stops, just strictly for fuel and snacks, then back on the road again. Upon arriving at the Ferry, we had a bit of a wait so we decided to get a couple hours nap in. Now it’s loading time; windy ol day couldn’t ask for much worse… lol. I am not one for the sea so I could feel the sickness coming on the entire ride, mind you it’s only a 1.5 hr boat run but she took some big hits on the way. Now we’re finally on the Quebec/Labrador side (Blanc-Sablon) Hammer down for pow town! Red Bay was our first stop into Labrador, we topped up on fuel and called family to let them know we won’t have service for 2-3 hours depending on weather. We got to the Red Bay gates, they were open, roads were nothing but ice, weather was a bit bad, we had some drifts out into the highway and the plow banks were higher than the truck in some places, it was unreal and you could not wipe the smiles off of our faces regardless! So we made it pass the second gate near Port Hope Simpson where we stopped to fuel up and get food again for the next dead zone, 0 service this time for almost 6 hours… 400+km of dead highway, we may have passed 6 vehicles total on this stretch, it was almost eerie on that highway… now we’re crossing the bridge and pulling into Goosebay headed straight for the Hotel (Emma’s Suites) amazing service from the staff there, anything we needed they were ready to help.
Here’s a breakdown of the days…
Alarm clock buzzing and a fresh layer of powder on the ground, it’s time for breakfast, then hit the snow! We met up with a group of friends on the North side of town and road right from their house to Grand Lake Road. Right off the get go we had some issues/injuries, our guide/friend rolled his snowmobile and unfortunately took a crack to the face from the roll and busted his face open, which he ended up getting 6 stitches. Slow start to our day.. Well, we go about another 1 KM into Grand Lake Road and another rider had overheating issues on his sled, so he decided to turn around and go back home so he wouldn’t hold our day up. We continued to find some fun places to play right off the trail! Unlimited powder, re-entries, hill climbs and stuck fest all day! Come near days end it started to snow and the wind came on really fast. Luckily for us, we were close to the trail so we decided to leave the hills and head back to town. Back at the hotel we unloaded the gear, hung it up to dry, turn on the tv and relaxed while waiting for pizza delivery….even though we had a few mishaps, some equipment problems, it was still a good day 1.
Waking up was a little rough as we were all sore from the previous day but that did not stop us. We met up at another friends place (Blair Crane) in town, our plan was to hit up a pole line in the country and that’s exactly what we did. On our way in, a friend called some of the locals to join us and those boys were badass, they loved taking that throttle to the handle and going! No fear, all fun and the friendliest group of guys I’ve ever rode with! I’ve never seen snow this deep or a pole line this steep, it was point and shoot whenever you want. We broke into one area that had not been touched all season (400+ CM of snow) Yahoo… I’m a bit excited, the guys were wanting to get videos but I couldn’t wait. I just went for it! Up I go over the top then it turns into a slip, so I plant the 850 Khaos on its side and dangle the entire way up. Again all smiles! This area was pretty nice would be an understatement.. We could poke off the trail and play anywhere it was unlimited powder. Day 2 was a good day in my books.
We didn’t hit the snow until a little later that day because the rest of the group were waiting on parts for the sled that was overheating but this was my last day there so my buddy and I headed south about 100 KM and picked through a zone that we eyeballed on the way into town. This was where the real fun came in. We backed the truck up into the snow bank right on the highway and unloaded right from the deck! 100 foot trees that I couldn’t even wrap my arms around, bottomless powder and untouched tree zone. My favourites! We were playing here for quite some time until I planted myself next to a tree and did we ever work, well over an hour to get out of that jam… safe to say we were soaked and ready to hit the road back for home. Even with this labour at the end of the day, this was the end of our riding and the end to an awesome trip into this new area of the province.
This Labrador trip definitely showed me that the backcountry can be unforgiving and with endless powder, man I need a bigger sled lol. It was well worth the trip and I will definitely do it again. Hopefully, this will be a yearly trip from here on out. So Labrador, Happy Valley Goose Bay ranks high in my books.