Newfoundland for Spring Break – Leanne Kopec

Hiking up to earn our turns – Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

This past week was spring break for GMC and I have known my plans for this break since spring break last year.  Last year, I signed up for a trip with GreenMAP.  For the week we traveled up to the Chic Choc Mountains in Quebec for a side/back -country skiing and snowboarding trip. It was a twelve hour drive, but once we got there we enjoyed six days of the best skiing I have ever experienced. So it was some time during this trip that I decided I was going to be going on the next GreenMAP spring break trip.  While the original plans were to go back up to the Chic Chocs, we were not able to book a cabin again so the director or GMAP, Bruce, began looking elsewhere.  He started reading up on the backcountry opportunities in Newfoundland, another maritime province of Canada and even traveled up there during winter break with two other professors to check out the area.  

So a group of eight other students, including a number of GMAP leaders, Bruce, and I left at two o’clock a.m. on Saturday morning.  We traveled up through Maine and across the boarder for seventeen hours until we boarded a rather comfy ferry from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland for about six hours and from there we had about another four hour drive to where were were staying.  Although it was a ridiculously long trip, it was beyond worth it when we finally got into the backcountry.  

The first day of skiing was mellow; we primarily practiced using our avalanche beacons and equipment.  The next day we toured the five kilometers into where our backcountry cabin was located at the foot of the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park.  This location was incredible, there was so much terrain for us to ski right outside; so close that we could even come back to the cabin for a warm lunch without losing any ski time.  We hiked and skied hard there for the next few days and I had some of my best tele-mark turns yet. However. On Thursday the winds picked up and we started experiencing some gusts that we estimated to be about seventy-miles an hour or more.  Skiing was tough in this weather, especially when we were on top of a mountain, I was pretty sure I was going to get blown off.  Unfortunately all this wind brought with it some warm weather and we got a bunch of rain just in time for the tour out.  With the lack of good snow on Saturday, we did some sight seeing and hiked to Western Brook Gorge, which was an incredible sight. And before we new it, we were packed in the van again ready for the thirty-five hours of travel ahead.

I knew that this trip was going to go by quickly, but I still can’t believe it’s over and I am back to the real world.  I am sure that I will remember this trip for the rest of my life; I made some new friends, enjoyed some fantastic backcountry cooking, saw some amazing vistas, worked hard, and earned some great turns.  GreenMAP provides students with some spectacular opportunities and I am so thankful that I have been able to participate in so many of them.


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