Bucket List Worthy
When Lee and I told our friends that we planned to spend the winter travelling Newfoundland, we got nothing but blank stares and confused looks. Why would we travel to a notoriously stormy, snowy frozen rock during the coldest time of the year?
Despite how crazy it sounds, visiting Newfoundland in the winter is an incredible experience. Not only will you find cheaper rates on accommodation and fewer crowds, you will discover a chilly wonderland filled with magical snowy landscapes, amazing winter sports and wonderfully friendly people. Here are my top five reasons for visiting Newfoundland in the winter:
One of the entertaining things about being in Newfoundland over the winter was the chance to see the serious feats that Mother Nature is capable of. Winter here doesn’t reach the record low temperatures that the prairies experience, but the amount of snowfall and the severity of the storms is quite impressive.
We had a great time using the snowdrifts to climb up to our second story window, digging the snow out from around the front door and getting actually blown off our feet by powerful gusts of wind. This was especially mind blowing for Lee, who is from England and had never seen anything more than a wimpy dusting of snow.
As long as you are bundled up from head to toe and you have a warm and well insulated place to stay, it’s quite amazing to take a walk through snow (which up to your knees) and marvel at the crazy extremes that winter brings on this island.
Newfoundland and Labrador has some of the best skiing in Eastern Canada and here you will find exhilarating slopes covered in pristine fluffy powder. There is an average snowfall of 16 feet in some regions of the province, creating a skiing dreamscape on every mountain and hill.
Check out Marble Mountain, which is located near friendly Corner Brook and offers a 1,700 foot vertical drop as well as 37 different runs ranging from expert to novice. At this resort you can snowboard, downhill ski and telemark, then relax with live music and local food at the ski lodge.
Of course, skiing and snowboarding aren’t the only activities that you can enjoy in Newfoundland in the winter. Speed over the snowy terrain on a snowmobile, spend the day snowshoeing through the quiet and pristine forests, team up with some friendly furry huskies for a dog sled ride or glide over the snowdrifts on a pair of cross country skis. This island is a breathtakingly beautiful winter sports playground, so get out there and start exploring!
If you are tired from all of the winter sports, you can take a break and soak up some of the local culture. The Rooms is the Art Gallery, Museum and Provincial Archives of Newfoundland, overlooking the steep harbour of St. John’s with its brightly coloured houses. Head inside to escape the cold and you will find interesting exhibits and programs about the art, culture and history of Newfoundland. It also offers breath taking views of St. John’s and the harbour.
If you are travelling on a budget, there is free admission on Wednesday nights from 7 until 9pm.
Don’t assume that just because it’s freezing and storming outside, the locals will stop partying and having festivals. No amount of weather will stop a Newfoundlander from having a good “scoff and a scuff” (which means enjoying food and dance). There are many festivals that take place throughout the province in the winter, so join in the party!
Festivals that occur during the winter include the Mummers Festival in December and The Mount Pearl Frosty Festival, Snowdaze and Winterfest in February. Also, St. John’s celebrates the first New Year in North America with a spectacular fireworks display at Quidi Vidi Lake.
There might be a powerful blizzard outside, but when you are in the kitchen or living room of a friendly Newfoundlander nothing matters but good food, good conversation and plenty of beer. The people of this province are known for their down to earth welcoming hospitality and their sense of humour. Stay in one of the small family-run bed and breakfasts dotted around the island and you will get a chance to experience this friendly warmth for yourself.
Are you ready to pack your boots and a toque and book a winter trip to Newfoundland? Bundle up tight and have fun exploring what this frozen rock has to offer!