At the top of the mountain, overlooking the majestic hills of Newfoundland, your soul lifts to a new place. Up here, in the dead of winter, the cold air hits your lungs and awakens you to an adventure like no other.
As I stand at the top of the hill looking out over the land I am reminded that this place is pristine, it is free of pollutants, it is the promise of fun and adventure, and it is the playground for those who love the outdoors.
Only an hour from my home in Blaketown, Newfoundland, Ski White Hills Resort, is a perfect winter getaway. With 55 acres of ski and snowboarding terrain, the resort offers an exciting range of downhill trails for beginners all the way up to experts. As well, at Ski White Hills you can avail of 40 kilometres of immaculately groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Wow!
The morning we arrived it was -6, and the sun was blaring across the land. Blinded by the snow reflected light, my yellow goggles offered a yellow-cast protection that saved the day.
Not such an attractive sight, I had a big blue snowsuit on that made me look like a big blueberry coming down the snow hill. But hey, who’s watching giant blueberries anyway?
We’d had a lot of rain, but that didn’t matter. The machines at Ski White Hills Resort had not only made snow but turned any ice that had accumulated into a well-groomed pathway that any skier would love.
Starting out, my 14-year old twins who had never skied before, got lessons from an amazing teacher who took them step by step through the basics of pizza stops, using the edged of your ski to manoeuvre and mastering their equipment in the snow. Thank God for ski teachers!
While twins, Angelina and Ben were getting lessons, myself and my eldest daughter Meaghan and her boyfriend Tristen went straight up to the top of the ski hill.
Up there everything looks surreal. You are the king of the land and the passive observer all at the same time. As you look out over the endless trees, frozen waters and the skyline, you realise just how special this place is. It grounds you like an anchor and a boat. It whispers, “Enjoy it, and feed your adventurous spirit.”
We began the downhill ski runs on a green downhill run called Easy Street. Easy Street is a wide downhill ski trail that allows you to get your footing, gain your confidence and it is the foundation for more challenging runs to come.
Open and inviting Easy Street beacons you downward for a thrill to start the day. As your senses wake up, you become sharp and reactive to the hill. You remember those quads and how they support your hill turns. Your centre of gravity adjusts to the terrain. Your heart beats faster; your blood starts pumping, and you have never felt more here and now or alive.
Once you’ve mastered the green runs, then it’s onto blues and blacks. Will it be the Newfie Bullet? The Rattler? or maybe try a jump? If tricks are your thing, you can spend your time on groomed hits or avail of the four 20-foot rails in the Terrain Park. You can also get time in the air in the newly dug half-pipe.
Downhill was my choice for the day, but my Fiancé Tony is a cross-country enthusiast. So next time we might just head out to the White Hill’s Nordic ski trails where you can circle through marked and interconnected pathways, go around Dark Hole Pond, and take in the tall evergreens and incredible wildlife.
For those who love to snowshoe, the resort could not be more welcoming. You can explore and enjoy the wilderness of Newfoundland and Labrador in all its grandeur. You will see local birds, rabbits, and if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a moose or even a fox. They won’t harm you, just keep your distance and don’t chase them. You are welcome to be the observer of these incredible animals in their natural environment.
We chose to ski downhill on our special day out at Ski White Hills Resort. A family pass that includes equipment and lift passes is very reasonable. A family of four could easily do the day for $200 – and that may include your lunch at the beautiful chalet overlooking the hill.
The chalet includes a restaurant and bar and the beautiful wood lodge is always warm and inviting. It is a perfect place to strip off all that gear and enjoy a halftime lunch as you recuperate and get ready for the second half of the ski day.
It is without a doubt, a valuable family adventure.
White Hills Ski Resort is located one kilometer west of the town of Clarenville and is a two-hour drive from the capital city of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Leave early and get there by opening time at 9 am to get a full day on the slopes or in the woods. It’s a perfect Valentines day gift, an Easter retreat, a special occasion or a weekend getaway. And for those lucky enough not to be working during the week, well what can I say, the mountains are yours.
Winters here are harsh and long. They can either take you down or take your breath away. I’d prefer to embrace them and squeeze every bit of adventure and fun out of the Newfoundland winter months. I’d also prefer to stay fit, healthy and happy.
How about you?
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