The conditions are awesome! We just had two days of clear skies with temps just below zero and no wind. Saturday we broke a good portion of trails and the riding was just perfect. Lots of stucks while up on Hodges and a sore back today! Got some great pics too. We had 8 people out and we all had a ball. They will be back! Today I took Keith Small out from Destination Labrador to show him where we tour. He was very impressed to say the least. We saw lots caribou on 9 mile bog and Monica Bog as well as lot of tracks in Peace Valley. Fox and coyote were everywhere as well as a fresh set of lynx tracks. On Saturday a cross huge fox ran across right in front of me in Peace Valley and another was hanging around the chalets. The nice weather brings out the wildlife for sure! Hodges again tomorrow and the Gaff on Wednesday. I am having a ball! Lotsa great pics over the last two days. It was hard to pic a few to post!
Archive for the ‘Winter Trip Reports’ Category
Let it snow! After two recent storms we are in awesome shape! The backcountry is buried and you can go anywhere you want. The ride today was absolutely perfect! After a heavy snowfall last night followed by a small amount of freezing rain which knocked the powder down just right. It snowed off and on all day in the backcountry with a few flurries at the chalets. It is steadily accumulating with snow coming all week. And, to boot, the groomer is out!
The snow going into Hodges yesterday was deep and heavy….hard day for the machine. Lots of snow although not so much around Peace Valley. Seems like it was colder in there for the bulk of the storm and blew into drifts and the woods. Still plenty though. I got stuck twice getting over the hump by Peace Pond. If it were powder I would have blasted on though I am sure. The old ‘stick in the throttle’ trick got me through it though. After last nights cold and cold forecast the snow will improve immensely. Gotta big tour on Saturday and trails to break through the backcountry….should be fun!
We didn’t get the snow that seemed to fall around us but the roads and trails are, for the most part, excellent going. Hodges received a lot more snow that Grand Falls-Windsor but not nearly as much as Badger lake and the Gaff Topsails. We left the Chalets last evening for a night ride and were blasting through two feet of powder and huge drifts all the way around Badger Lake area! The closer we got to Hodges the snow was not as deep but still lots of powder and awesome riding. Here and there there are still signs of that very disappointing wind melt we had two weeks ago but easily avoided. The ridge road leading to the Hodges trailhead had excellent ditch banging all the way today….I had a a lot of fun diving deep into the powder and blasting out! All around any lakes or open areas there are plenty big drifts for play. The lakes and ponds are excellent too…get the right speed going and you hop across like a seadoo. We still need lots more to open up all the options and to be fully care free when banging around the ditches but I must say….today was an excellent ride! I should have taken more care in getting pictures as my sled saw great air many times today but I was having too much fun to stop for snaps. As for the Gaff I wasn’t up there since this last snow but it has to be awesome up there now.
I took a 1/2 an hour to dart in as far as Cornfield this afternoon and except for the trucks having the road rutted things are looking good. I wish I had the time to do the Ridge Road but I did not. I suspect that all the roads are in pretty good shape now except for parts of Ten Mile and the parts of the Eastern end of Ridge Road. These roads had a few bare spots from the warm wind we had a while back. Although they might be fine. All in all I think the roads and trails are in pretty good shape. I think I should upgrade to good…Jason will upgrade the site conditions tomorrow. After Saturday afternoon….up to 40cm….we will be in great shape! Sunday is going to be a great day!
I had a group of seven guys out for the past two days…we spent both days on the Gaff Topsails. Yesterday it rained all day after about 7 inches of wet snow the night before. I would have been satisfied to sit that one out but we did find lots of snow on the Gaff that we knew would be a lot of fun if it were not raining and cooler! Today we trucked up Millertown Junction Road about 20 km from here and off loaded the machines to avoid the track ride and spend more time playing. The road was perfect going and it only took us a few minutes to drive the 15km or so into the Junction. The tracks were really good going in places and in others we had to get off to the side. But for those of you who know the Gaff, this is normal where the track is high and exposed. But the tracks was not our destination. The areas along Mary March brook were and we had a ball! The brook is actually running after all the snow followed by rain although you could cross back and forth in many places. There is loads of snow in the woods and along the brook and the water is running off fast. I am heading back Friday with another group from Scotland….can’t wait. It was a very cold and windy day…difficult for pictures so I only have one. I would rate the areas we rode as good but not excellent as I know how much better it can be. As for Hodges, I will be checking out that area tomorrow and will post another update. For now since I don’t know, I have to leave Hodges as poor but likely has improved.
Today we went for a ride with the expectations of poor conditions. For the most part we were right although we rode a fair few KMs where the going was decent. Cornfield is a mess with the vehicles using it so we took the short cut to the Ridge Road. Most of it was not ice but hard snow. The open areas on the higher elevations had a lot of bare spots we had to go around. Jay and I had some fun climbing a couple hills where the trees were close and the snow was still soft and deep enough….1.5 to 2 feet and dense. The Ridge road was decent going and Hodges trail was OK. These two pictures were taken up Hodges Trail. Other than than the dead end side roads though we ran out of options pretty quick and headed back around 3:00. If you are coming out specifically for skidooing, its no good. If you are coming out and would be satisfied to put 40-50km on and not mind a few obstacles, well, it is OK for that. You won’t find a full days riding here though without backtracking so take your kettle and maybe an ice auger and fishing line…you will have a good day. As for the Gaff I don’t know but I suspect much the same. More snow please!
Well I finally go to the Gaff today and what a ball we had. Although there is not a lot of snow on some open country areas and lots more on others you could still point you skis and go! Now if you know where the play areas are its no sweat to find endless drifts like the ones we ripped up today. I can’t wait to get the Backcountry back there this weekend but I had no hesitation making the Expedition 1200 beast fly today! We had so much fun we hardly stopped for pictures. We took the long route up there but came back the Trans-C-Rail which to my surprise, were not too bad. Time to get the groomer on the go NLSF!! Seems like everyone is due for a warmer day on Thursday. I suspect and hope that this will be below 0 and snow up on the Gaff. We saw one lone moose and then three together.
While things have improved significantly I am still going to leave the conditions as good… just to be safe. All the roads and trails are in really good shape. The ditch banging has been steadily improving as well. I took a bunch of young guys into Hodges in search of powder play and found plenty. We spent about two hours of our run hill climbing between the trees last Saturday and had a ball. I pasted one of their testimonials below. Almost lost them though….once again due to people in Grand Falls – Windsor assuming there is no snow in the backcountry. It’s a constant battle with that! Anyhow I convinced then to stay and were very pleased to say the least. I posted a picture of a truck which went off the road just in from the chalets about 500 meters. That’s what happens when you drive on snowmobile trails LOL! I went in and hauled them out with the back hoe all the same.
“We arrived in Grandfalls January 21st, 2013 with high expectations of lots of snow , we booked the riverfront chalets and a snowmobile tour for 2 days . The conditions along the highway and in Grandfalls were very discouraging , Also we stopped into town to pick up supply’s for our stay,and the local residents were encouraging us to go more west to find the snow as they thought the snowmobiling conditions in Grandfalls were horrible because of the amount of Snow in town , well let me tell you that DO NOT go by the conditions close to the highway or in the town of Grandfalls because Paul and the rest of the gang from riverfront chalets will bring you to the snow and let you have the time of your life , myself and my buddies were very thankful that we stuck it out and gave Riverftont Chalets a chance and never ventured on further to the west coast !”
Well there are many people waiting for this update so I will get to the point. I have downgraded the conditions to GOOD a few days ago because I was suspicious of how much damage Sunday and Monday’s weather had on the backcountry. It was warm island wide with about 5 degrees here in Central. We lost a lot of snow on the windswept areas like open bogs and highpoints on roads. However, I was still able to drive 60 km and hour across most of 9 mile bog today. As you can see from the picture there is lots of grass in view but still pretty level and very few rocks exposed. Although it is pretty hard in places it is not ice and it is no trouble to be breaking through enough to keep most machines cool, with powder in places. I saw 7 or 8 caribou today….they are here for the winter now. As for the roads and trails…..for the most part pretty good going although a bit of powder would make them perfect. The main trails are packed hard now but it easy to find powder on the sides to cool machines. With regard to powder play there are lots of places where you can get off the main trails and pick around the woods in powder 2 feet or more. On the Hodges Road there is still some pretty deep snow for ditch banging. I was sad to see all the snow had fallen from the trees in the higher country, which I expected to be covered in snow until the end of the winter. It rarely gets warm that high even when it gets warm down here. It won’t be long before it looks like winter wonderland again though I am sure. So if your are looking for endless deep powder, I would suggest head to the west coast. I am going to keep the condition rated as good for now but even 6 inches or snow will upgrade to excellent again…hopefully Tuesday by the look of it.