Newfoundland, Canada

Alex Zipperer, who at the time was a Never Summer team rider, joined me (Sean) on an expedition to Newfoundland, Canada in 2012. As a child, my parents had shown me old slides of when they lived in Goose Bay, Labrador and spoke of their daily activities in the winter – like learning to ice sculpt and curling. I imagined it was a place where there was really nothing much more to do other than ice-centered activities… winters so bone chilling cold that they had icicles in parts of their housing.

My father also spent some time in Greenland for work; hearing his stories, I’ve wanted to explore the regions he did when he was a young adult. And since Labrador lacks the mountains (aside from the remote Torngat mountains in the far north), I decided Newfoundland would be a nice alternative to explore Atlantic Canada. Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the second largest National Park in Atlantic Canada. Beautiful freshwater fjords, sheer cliffs, bogs, stunning shorlines and forests dot the landscape of Gros Morne. Quaint tiny seaside villages surround the park and serve as a good supply route for adventures into the park.

What attracted me most to this region was the Tablelands – where the theory of plate tectonics was proven. There, two continents came together and pushed up the Earth’s innards (the mantle) over billions of years. The idea of climbing and snowboarding the “top of the bottom” of the Earth sounded like a good game plan.

Upon arrival, Alex and I hired a local snowmobiler to help us access part of the park. Somehow, it worked out. I say somehow, because the dialect of a “Newfie” is incredibly hard to understand. We managed to get dropped off at our drop off point and miraculously picked up, despite our uncertainty of our Newfie friend’s thick accent. 

Honestly, our turns in Newfoundland were not ideal. We found tons of potential and it is a place that I will return to with Mollie somday. It had rained a few days prior to our arrival. Some big avalanches had made their way down various faces and then an arctic blast came in with some light snow, high winds, and frigid temperatures. Thus, we rode some textbook dust on crust during this trip, while we explored a sample of what Gros Morne had to offer. We were accompanied each day with large populations of moose or caribou.