Ski Virgin Slopes in Newfoundland

1. Where to Stay

From left, the Humber Valley resort and Marble Villa.Photo: Courtesy of Humber Valley, Marble Villa

Spread out with friends in one of the huge log chalets (some situated on their own full acre) at the new Humber Valley resort (from $50 per person) in the mountains of western Newfoundland. The digs are posh—they come loaded with commercial-style kitchens, hot tubs, saunas, and even theater rooms—but also dirt cheap. A two-night escape package goes from just $175 per person during the low season, which includes most weekends in February and March.

If you want ski-in, ski-out convenience, the best choice is Marble Villa (from $149), located at the base of the area’s major resort, Marble Mountain. The slopes attract a mix of locals, second-home owners, and hard-core adventurers who cram into modern but basic studios and one- and two-bedroom condos.

A bit more opulent are the brand-new luxury suites at nearby Marble Inn (two-night packages with two-day lift tickets from $219 per person), which offer LCD televisions, new appliances, and gas fireplaces. The inn is an easy walk from the slopes and base village of Marble Mountain and just ten minutes away from the city of Corner Brook.

2. Where to Eat

Gitano'sPhoto: Courtesy of Gitano's

Newfoundland’s traditional grub is something called a “boil up,” a fishy, brothy clambake of sorts that is best served over an open flame in the woods. But if you prefer to eat indoors when it’s below freezing, try Gitano’s (Millbrook Mall, Corner Brook; 709-634-5000). This odd place gets its name from the Spanish word for “gypsies,” but it’s actually a forties-style New York supper club, complete with live jazz and a piano bar. Canadian musical phenom Allison Crowe moved to Corner Brook last year and recorded part of her album right here.

Also in Corner Brook, casual Sorrento’s (18 Park St.; 709-639-3555) features real homemade pastas and surprisingly good pizzas topped with fresh mozzarella, all with an Eastern European influence.

The Glynmill Inn (1B Cob Ln., Corner Brook; 709-634-5181) houses two restaurants and a pub, making it a hot spot by local standards. The seafood-heavy Carriage Room offers true local specialties like crispy fried cod’s tongue. And the bar, King Henry’s Pub, is a cozy après-ski spot with happy-hour deals every day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (and with ice-cold Molson on draft, of course).

3. What to Do

Photo: Courtesy of Blomidon Cat Skiing

Cat-skiing, in which modified Sno-Cats bus skiers to the tops of uncharted, out-of-bounds peaks, is the quickest, least painful way to bag backcountry runs. For advanced skiers, it beats the pants off marked trails, offering run after run of unbroken freshies. Operating on the wild backside of Marble Mountain, Blomidon Cat Skiing offers daylong guided trips ($240 per person) consisting of five morning runs, a simple picnic lunch, and then five more. All told, skiers get to traverse 12,000 to 14,000 vertical feet spread out over 7,000 acres (bigger than Vail!) a day.

4. Insider’s Tip

Since the main airport in the province, St. John’s, is nearly 400 miles away, Marble Mountain is a real pain to get to—unless you live in New York. In December, Maxxim Vacations launched packages ($949 per person) with charter flights into Dear Lake airport, just ten minutes from the slopes. You can also book your own flights via St. John’s (Continental flies from Newark) with regional connecting flights into nearby Deer Lake. The easiest combo is Air Canada connecting to Jazz, its regional affiliate.

5. An Oddball Day

Photo: Courtesy of My Newfoundland Adventure

Get up in the morning, strap on your skis or snowboard (or grab your toboggan), and bypass the mountain—you’re headed for the lake. My Newfoundland Adventure gives adrenalin junkies the chance to try out the burgeoning, bruising sport of snow kiting. After a brief lesson on how to control and steer the parasail-like kite, you’re speeding across the ice on your chosen vehicle—no experience needed. Lunch is served after the morning session, fueling you up for a guided visit to Gros Morne National Park. Here you can snowshoe on the Tablelands, a plantless moonscape of rock that was thrust up from the earth’s mantle 300 million years ago.

6. Related Links

Get all the details on the longest-running annual winter festival in North America, the Corner Brook Winter Carnival, taking place February 16 through 25.

Browse the lodging listings—and some jaw-dropping photography—on the area’s general tourism site, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Explore Newfoundland is one of the area’s best adventure outfits, offering guided caving expeditions, ice-climbing trips, and the like.

Ski Virgin Slopes in Newfoundland