A Braveskimom.com interview with Newfoundland ski mum Lili, and her 10-year old son, PH.
Why Marble Mountain?
Snow. We had 23-feet of snow last winter, between Christmas and April 15th.
Also, proximity. We live only 8 minutes from Marble Mountain. The next closest ski hill is White Hills Resort in Clarenville, NL, a 500-km (310-mile) drive.
Plus, Marble Mountain has a 519 m (1700-ft) of vertical drop, making it a big mountain for the East Coast.
What makes family skiing special at Marble Mountain?
Marble Mountain is very much like Newfoundland – spectacular scenery combined with friendly people. The facilities are not fancy. The attitude is all about skiing.
There are the usual split of runs with 19% beginner, 36% intermediate, 32% advanced and 13% expert. This gives families a wide variety of options.
About a third of the skiers come from away and we get many British families because of the terrain, the short… really short…lift lines, and the cheap prices when compared to European resorts.
In March 2015, Marble Mountain opened North America’s newest high-speed quad chair lift.
There are three kids programs: Kids Camp, a terrific daycare and learn-to-ski program for the five-and-under crowd; Krunchers, a learn-to-ski program for skiers and snowboarders; and Snow Stars, for kids who want to race.
The two divisions of Ski Patrol – one Pro-Patrol and the other volunteers – ensure that there is full coverage of the hill. All of the staff is fully accredited and well-trained.
From PH: Everyone is really nice and I like to ski with friends and do jumps and go through the woods. I can do black diamond runs but not the double black diamonds or the moguls.
What makes Marble Mountain unique?
Marble Mountain does not have the glitz and glamour of a big resort. This is a great hill designed to get people on the slopes as quickly as possible and for them to have a good time while they ski and snowboard.
The staff is all local. You see them in the off hours at the supermarket and at the post office. You meet their kids and see them skiing with their spouses.
Both the staff and other skiers make it a fun and enjoyable place to be and that’s one of the main reasons we keep going back.
Any “secrets” you’re willing to share?
Chatty and friendly will go a long way. Introduce yourself and your kids. Talk with the local families. Their kids will most likely grab your kids and take them out. You won’t see them again until lunch time.
Non-skiing parents hang out at the lodge. If that is you, bring your laptop or a book and come have a chat.
If you get invited to a “boil up,” then go! It’s the Newfie term for a campfire/BBQ on the mountain. They are a great time!
The hill is not happy about having kids under ten skiing on their own. This is an issue both on the lifts and on the runs, so as safe as it is, please keep an eye on your kids.
Aside from “boil ups,” where do you like to eat?
There are two restaurants on the hill itself, a bar and a cafeteria-style restaurant, and they share the same kitchen.
Servings are large, so letting your small ones share is a good plan.
Fries are superb, especially if you ask for them to be double dipped, and the poutine is delicious. Many people pack their own food and supplement from the large selection.
For the best dining in Corner Brook, I recommend Madison’s at the Marble Mountain Inn Resort. My favorite dish there is the charcuterie. When I was last there they had an in-house bear sausage and finely sliced moose. Locally caught fish and meats are very popular.
There is a Tim Horton’s at George’s Mountain Village. Going at least once will explain a lot about Canadian culture. It revolves around a double-double and a donut in a coffee shop named after a hockey player. This kind of says it all.
How about lodging?
Next door is George’s Mountain Village with cabins and near the snowmobile trails.
About 10 minutes east along the highway is the Humber Valley Resort and the Beth MacNeil Luxury Chalets. These are ideal for large groups and the prices are really reasonable if you are splitting the cost.
The Glynmill Inn and The Comfort Inn are probably the best in Corner Brook.
How do you get to Marble Mountain?
Deer Lake International Airport has direct flights by West Jet and Air Canada from cities in Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia. While finding a flight is not a problem, rental cars are both necessary and scarce. So, book your car first and then your flights.
If you drive take the Atlantic Marine ferry from North Sydney on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia to Port-aux-Basque, Newfoundland. From there it is a 3-hour drive to Corner Brook (studded tires highly recommended).
Technically, you can get off the ferry at 6:30 a.m. and be at the hill as it opens at 10:00 a.m.
Do keep in mind that pack ice fills the Labrador Sea and the Gulf of the St. Lawrence in the winter and that the ferry schedules are subject to the shifting ice pack. If you have to stay in Port-aux-Basque, we recommend St. Christopher’s Hotel and in North Sydney, the Clansman.
What is your favorite memory of Marble Mountain?
The kindness of the instructors and ski patrol. They all signed a t-shirt for PH as a birthday gift – a birthday that occurs out of season – and several called on the day to see how he had liked it. The Pro Ski Patrol also regularly took him out on mountain sweeps and gave him a staff shirt.
From PH: All the extra time the instructors spent with me. And linking my favorite runs: Tower 16 to Caribou Road to Cruiser, then down to the Lightning Express (it replaced a lift that was struck by lightning).
It was pretty cool to watch all the guys from Leitner-Poma build the lift through a Newfoundland winter.
The Ski Patrol also let me act as their patient during training exercises.
Any tips for other parents?
No matter where you ski, if you come somewhere new put your kids in for a half-day lesson that will take them all over the mountain. Then let them loose on the hill. Marble Mountain is a great place for families with multiple skill levels of skiers.
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…
I love learning about new areas and new resorts and this interview certainly filled the bill, as I knew nothing about skiing in Newfoundland.
Marble Mountain is the largest ski area in Atlantic Canada, with 1700 vertical feet, 39 runs and 230 skiable acres. The resort is sometimes called eastern Canada’s “mini-Whistler.”
And while it takes a bit of effort to get to Newfoundland, the island is strikingly beautiful, the resort receives mountains of snow (last year they got 23 feet), and there are never lift lines.
Thank you so much, Lili, for being an ambassador for Marble Mountain. I hope to get there someday soon.
Lili started skiing with PH as a way for him to gain muscle strength. PH has a rare chromosomal deletion that results in low muscle tone and poor muscle memory. According to Lili, Marble Mountain has been fantastic in accommodating his special needs.
PH loves skiing and in his second year skied 3-4 full days a week. Skiing has become so important to this family that Lili now homeschools PH between April and December, so that he can take the winter off, ski 5-6 days a week and compete in the Snow Stars program.
More Skiing In Eastern Canada:
- Quebec City: My Kind of Ski Town, December 10, 2014.
- At Quebec’s Le Massif, We Can All Be Lugers, February 4, 2014.
- Six “Don’t Miss” Canadian Ski Resorts, February 23, 2015.
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