Winter in the mountains is nothing short of magical. With so many amazing and unique activities – not to mention oodles of deals that your wallet will love – it’s not hard to see why our chilliest season often delivers the warmest memories. Make the most of your time in the mountains with this two-day guide.
There are few joys in life more equally exhilarating and peaceful than gliding down a sparkling slope of fresh morning snow. And Jasper’s beloved local ski spot, Marmot Basin, boasts some of the best pow around. Untouched, pristine and secluded, Marmot offers a completely unique skiing experience with abundant wildlife, beautiful landscapes, high alpine bowls, deep chutes, and wide open groomers. Located just 20 minutes from the town of Jasper, the ski season runs from the middle of November until end of April. Advanced skiers should take note of Tres Hombres, the newly opened section that boasts the mountain’s longest, uninterrupted fall-line.
See one of Jasper National Park’s most iconic natural attractions from a whole new perspective... by walking on the frozen riverbed at the bottom! Gaze at Maligne Canyon's limestone walls that tower beside you as a local guide leads you safely through the maze of fascinating ice sculptures, explaining cave systems, fossils and fauna along the way (these outfitters will also provide helmets, warm winter boots and ice cleats for safety and comfort). Trade summer’s crowds for spectacular frozen waterfalls that stretch more than 30 meters up the canyon walls.
Cap off the evening with a memorable meal (you’ve certainly earned it!) at Evil Dave’s Grill. Locally owned and wickedly delicious, this funky family restaurant offers a globally inspired menu bursting with fresh ingredients and creative flare. Start by warming your bones with a Magic Elixir (much like its namesake, the Northern Lights cocktail is a beauty), and share a Sinful Starter (the Cowboy Sushi is a perennial favourite) before diving into an Evil Entrée (signature dishes include the Malicious Salmon, Diabolical Tenderloin, or Hell's Chicken). Don't forget to save room for a Deadly Dessert!
Start the day right with a caffeine hit from Coco’s Cafe. This cherished local favourite prides itself on its daily fresh-baked artisanal bread and coffee that’s been ordered, roasted, delivered and served all in the same week. All baristas go through extensive training, and easily cater to dietary sensitivities with tons of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options made in-house with locally sourced and organic ingredients (don’t worry carnivores - there’s plenty of meaty options for you too). Make your order ‘to stay’ and enjoy the intimate, colourful vibe, made all the more unique thanks to featured creations from local artists.
Photo Credit: Celina Frisson
Did you know Jasper National Park is a mecca for ice climbing? Get a new perspective on the park and explore areas inaccessible to most visitors with this fun, safe, thrilling sport. Rockaboo Mountain Adventures makes the experience extra fun and extra safe; they provide all technical equipment (boots, crampons, harnesses, axes, helmet), training, and transportation from town to the climbing site and back. There are three main spots they frequent for their six-hour Experience Ice Climbing Adventure: Maligne Canyon, The Edge of the World area, Tangle Falls. To ensure an amazing climbing experience, guides choose the best place for the day according to current ice conditions.
Photo Credit: Celina Frisson
Grab a celebratory beer and maybe catch some live music at The Stand Easy (also known simply as The Legion). Recognized as one of the best small music venues in North America, this unique service club moonlights as a casual watering hole with free pool, foosball tables, darts, delicious pub-style food, big screen TVs and Jasper’s largest selection of craft beers on tap. Check the calendar for upcoming local events and concerts. Feel good knowing that you’re contributing funds for the Veterans Adventures Jasper program, which helps veterans and their families to access equipment and opportunities within the national park.
Photo Credit: Brian Van Tighem