Many people make the foolish assumption that snowboarding and skiing is done only out west in the Rockies. While the quality of the snow, the size of the mountain, and the complexity of the runs out in British Columbia and Alberta may be a tad bit higher on the awesome scale, there’s still plenty of smaller ski & snowboard resorts in Canada worth checking out. Last week I was invited by a few friends to road trip out to the beautiful province of New Brunswick to spend the start of Spring Break tearing it up on Crabbe Mountain.
Any Canadian roadtrip that includes 5 guys, a large truck, and winter gear is typically accompanied by beer. Lots of it. Due to our strong cultural ties with Canada we felt it was necessary to abide by this “tradition”. Needless to say the first stop in New Brunswick was the NB Alcool where we filled any remaining space in the truck with beer, gin, and my favourite road trip bubbly, Baby Duck Sparkling Wine; the epitomy of refinement.
Our first night was spent in the Ramada on the North Side of Fredericton. The north side of Fredericton is known primarily for its view of the south side, the “apparent” cooler side of Fredericton, which is also home to the downtown core. We took in the view, remarked on its similarities between Halifax and Charlottetown, and then promptly got acquainted with our new carbonated friends.
The Journey to Crabbe Mountain, New Brunswick
The drive to Crabbe Mountain from Fredericton takes approximately 30 minutes, a whopping 40 minutes less than any GPS will tell you. Either satellites are stupid or we were slightly speeding, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was the latter. It’s been my experience that most ski & snowboard trips are accompanied by nausea inducing hangovers. I’d love to tell you about the drive up to Crabbe Mountain, but being true to tradition, I was more concentrated on not ruining the inside of my friends truck than what was going on outside of it. All I can say is there were trees, and snow.
Breathe it in boys!
We made it to the mountain in one piece and breathed in the cool New Brunswick air. Blue skies surrounded us and the weather was perfect for a day on the slopes. My snowboard gear is still calling Saskatchewan home, so I was forced to rent. Thankfully the folks at Crabbe Mountain kept things moving fast, and I was fully outfitted with board, boots, and bindings in under 5-10 minutes ($30 full day rental). The rest of the guys happily donated extra winter apparel to keep me from freezing “mes fesses” off. For those who weren’t aware, New Brunswick is a bilingual province, so including French out of the blue is kind of the norm, and also fun.
Crabbe Mountain Chairlift
For the next 8 hours, the five of us hosers enjoyed the Crabbe Mountain slopes. The liftees were friendly, the chairlift speed was fast, and we couldn’t have picked a better weekend. There had been a recent snowfall before our arrival which meant we had some great snow and freshly groomed trails greeting as at every bend. During the entire two day ski & snowboard trip I didn’t see a single snow machine at work.
The Terrain Parks
The terrain parks had some technical boxes, tables, and rails along with the death-inducing jumps one would expect to find in a terrain park. Having not been on a snowboard in a couple years, and because I’m one of those “too cool to wear helmet” types, I stuck to simple boxes, wimpy jumps, and the occasional run through the glades. That is whenever I could sneak by without being caught, apparently out east it’s the norm to not let people into the terrain parks without helmets. Regardless, I vowed to myself to make it back in one piece. Thankfully my hangovers kept me from doing anything I would have regretted… and they say alcohol is bad for you? Ha!
Who’s ready for Lunch!?
A friend of mine who’s been living in Fredericton set my hopes up high for lunchtime at Crabbe Mountain. He was going on and on about their poutine and how supposedly incredible it was. A smile grew across my face and shiny cheese curd shaped stars shone in my eyes at the thought of a gravy infused New Brunswick Apres-Ski. He went on to tell me it was a french-canadian poutine so awesome it would melt your face off at the sight of it. Gravy filled every crevice, and fries so perfect people would have plastic fork fights in the lunch area just to get a taste. My mouth oozed in the best possible way. It was scary.
Lunch-time rolled around on Day 1 and my hangover was reaching that “feed me or I’ll punch you out” stage. I’m not one to argue with my hangovers. I kind of let them captain the ship and just roll with whatever they need. As I recalled what I heard about the poutine my heart fluttered. My hangovers tight grip on my intestines eased. I was about to be fed a miracle.
Then I overheard the worst possible convorsation a hungover snowboarder could hear. The customer in front of me asked,
“Does your poutine use cheese curds or grated cheese?”.
A silence spread within the line as clearly this customer and I weren’t the only ones curious.
“Grated cheddar”replied the lady behind the counter.
The line erupted in a sobbing chorus, “Ohwwwwwww…”. Then I saw the fries.I did not want to engage in all out plastic-fork warfare with anybody. They looked like store bought shoestring fries…yawn. My soul died after that. I no longer wanted to eat. I no longer wanted to snowboard. I wanted to cry, and hurt, and rage against the machine, and inflict pain upon my lying friend. I imagined myself yelling at the cook, then my friend…
“CHEDDAR?! Grated cheddar!? Are you out of your mind!? There are strict rules in the poutine recipe, and nowhere does it say grated cheddar!!!! And really…shoestring fries!? Common!!!”
Breathe Corbin, it’s just Poutine
I breathed in deeply, using all of my will to settle down and just be happy with where I was. Good snow, good times, good friends. Then my hangover began punching me. It was time to feed the monster, poutine or not. I ordered a burger. Crushed it. I don’t remember it. The whole time I was eating the “silver prize” I was picturing myself devouring a Miracle Poutine. It was the saddest moment of the trip, but kind of funny none the less. I don’t like insulting people or businesses for no reason, but Crabbe Mountain, if you ever read this…please for the love of Gretzy, fix this poutine faux-pas.
Regardless, I plan on coming back to snowboard again
The skiing and snowboarding continued for hours, and needless to say by the end of Day 2 my body was turning on me. Muscles ached, bruises formed, and being in “Guys Night Out” mode for 3 evenings was beginning to beat the crap out of me. The fresh air was clean. The weather was great. Blue skies greeted us each morning, and the slopes were surprisingly long despite not being in the Rockies. Crabbe Mountain, you are A-OK by me! I would even go so far as using the ‘L’ word if you work on that poutine of yours. All in all, Crabbe Mountain is definitely worth a stop if you’re the snowboarding/skiing type hanging out in Atlantic Canada. Just whatever you do, ask before you order the poutine.
More Photos from Crabbe Mountain