“The East Coast is great because we’re all a bunch of kooks. There’s no scene here; we’re just a bunch of sailors trying to get through the winter, and the ski hill is where we go to commiserate. And it just so happens that the little ski hills we have, have taught us to like our shitty little winters. It might not be the best riding in the world, but the local resorts certainly have the character and staff to make each and every skier and snowboarder feel a part of a community. And in the end, be it Whistler or Martock, it’s the friends and community we’ve built that keep us coming back. #AMIRIGHT?” —ALEX DUCKWORTH, PRO SNOWBOARDER
LOCATION: The skiable regions of Atlantic Canada consist of three of the most beautiful provinces in Canada: Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This area boasts some of the friendliest (and most entertaining) people, freshest seafood and a Celtic-inspired culture that all Canadians should experience.
TERRAIN: Rolling, low-lying hills with tight trees are the norm here, although Newfoundland boasts some more high-alpine terrain than its neighbours. Expect cold temperatures, a healthy amount of wind and a heaping helping of snow, as storms cascading north and east from across the Atlantic Ocean tend to converge over these provinces.
VIBE: Atlantic Canadians are as affable as it gets. They’re vivid storytellers, exceptional drinkers, and their patriotism for their provinces (and country) runs deep. Expect to make a few new lifelong friends anytime you visit.
GETTING THERE: While New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can be reached by land, it’s a decent haul from Quebec (seven hours from Quebec City to St. John’s and another four-and-a-half to Halifax), so if you’re not in the mood for a road trip, flying is the best bet, with regular service from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. For Newfoundland, unless you’re a sailor at heart, or possess the skin of a seal, other than a ferry from Nova Scotia, flying to Deer Lake (which is a rock’s throw from Marble Mountain) or St. John’s is your only option.
SLEEP: LOW-END, HOSTEL, DELUXE, SLOPESIDE
PARTY FACTOR: 3/5
OVERALL COST: 2/5
Marble Mountain, which lies near the west coast of Newfoundland, is a true gem in every sense of the world. The terrain boasts a wide variety of narrow cruisers with picturesque views, and a series of tantalizing, pow-filled glades that will tickle the fancy of any die-hard tree skier, whether intermediate or expert. And as the snowiest mountain east of the Rockies (with an annual accumulation of close to five metres), they get a lot of white gold, which, on most days, you can have all to yourself, as lift lines range from slim to none.
Latest: Marble’s renovated base lodge is a thing of beauty, with delicious food, high windows and ceilings and an atmosphere that’s not to be missed. And year after year, their snowmaking system (when needed) never disappoints.
Must-hit: After a big dump, aim for Ugly Stick and Chicken’s Way Out and the glades that surround them, along with opening it up on Autobahn.
Steady Brook, Nfld. / 1-888-462-7253 / skimarble.com / Runs: 39 / Vertical drop: 1,700 ft / Rideable terrain: 230 acres / Lifts: 4 / Average snowfall: 500 cm / Open/close: Dec. to Apr. / Freestyle: 1 Terrain Park / Terrain: 19% beg./36% int./45% adv.
Mack Jones, Marble Mountain, Nlfd. Barkerfoto.com
SLEEP: LOW-END, HOSTEL, DELUXE
PARTY FACTOR: 4/5
OVERALL COST: 2/5
A hop, skip and a jump from Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital city, is Martock. With one of, if not the best terrain park in Atlantic Canada, and night skiing/riding to boot, Martock is a quick and enjoyable fix for those looking to slay the park during the day or evening. For those too timid to try their luck in the air and on the rails, don’t fret, as Martock is home to a handful of green and blue cruisers, so there’s fun for everyone.
Latest: A new lunch area, ski patrol clinic and washrooms, along with an enhanced Burton Riglet Park are in store for Martock’s 50th season.
Must-hit: Take a rip through the stunt ditch in Atlantic Canada’s only Superpipe.
Windsor, N.S. / (902) 798-9501 / martock.com / Runs: 9 / Vertical drop: 600 ft / Rideable terrain: 50 acres / Lifts: 3 / Average snowfall: 150 cm / Open/close: Dec. to Mar. / Freestyle: 1 Terrain Park, Superpipe / Terrain: 30% beg./70% int.
Photo courtesy of Martock
CRABBE MOUNTAIN & SKI WENTWORTH
SLEEP: LOW-END, HOSTEL, DELUXE
PARTY FACTOR: 2/5
OVERALL COST: 2/5
Ski Wentworth, under two hours from Halifax in Western Nova Scotia, is one of the oldest ski areas in the region (and Canada as a whole), having roots since the 1930s. Its sister resort, Crabbe Mountain in New Brunswick (an hour west of Fredericton), was purchased by Wentworth in 1991, and since then, despite being four hours apart, it’s been a match made in heaven. The two mountains are fairly different from each other, with over a third of Crabbe’s terrain designated as advanced, while Wentworth caters a bit more to the beginner and intermediate side of things. There’s something for everyone at both though, with Wentworth fielding some of the freshest glades in the business and Crabbe playing host to three separate terrain parks. Do yourself a favour and check out both of them this winter.
Latest: A fleet of brand new snowmaking guns at Wentworth.
Must-hit: Hit up Dave Jib’s Park at Crabbe for a feature-filled good time.
Central Hainesville, N.B. / (506) 463-8311 / crabbemountain.com / Runs: 26 / Vertical drop: 853 ft / Rideable terrain: 140 acres / Lifts: 3 / Average snowfall: 300 cm / Open/close: Dec. to Apr. / Freestyle: 3 Terrain Parks / Terrain: 12% beg./56% int./32% adv.
Wentworth, N.S. / (902) 548-2089 / skiwentworth.ca / Runs: 20 / Vertical drop: 815 ft / Rideable terrain: 150 acres / Lifts: 3 / Average snowfall: 380 cm / Open/close: Dec. to Apr. / Freestyle: 3 Terrain Parks / Terrain: 40% beg./40% int./20% adv.
Photo courtesy of Ski Wentworth, N.S. Burke photo.
Breakfast: In Halifax, start your day off right at The Good Food Emporium before making the trek to Martock.
Lunch: Hit up Marble Mountain’s base lodge for some log cabin-style relaxation between runs.
Dinner: In St. John’s, Nfld., go to Blue On Water for the best calamari you’ll eat outside of the Greek Islands.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to tip some tankards with the locals at The Split Crow near Wentworth and McHugh’s Bar down the road from Marble. Just know that you’ll be taking advantage of the snooze button the morning after.