In summer, Jasper's landscape is polka dotted with the blue and green of its many lakes. In winter, these natural jewels transform into exquisite frozen plains tucked within the national park's choppy sea of snowy peaks. They become the perfect sites for adventures big and small, sweaty and serene. Try one (or all!) of the following activities — you won't regret it.
Once the lakes freeze over, they provide the perfect surface for easy, scenic cross-country skiing. Choose between short, flat loops or longer, more challenging routes. There are more than 100 kilometers of groomed trails within one hour of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, and the hotel's Winter Activity Centre has cross-country ski rentals from about December to April. In downtown Jasper, Edge Control also offers rentals.
Jasper’s lakes have plenty of room for this increasingly popular winter activity. If conditions are right, snowshoeing grants access to terrain that even cross-country skiers have trouble reaching. Walks and Talks provides snowshoes, transportation and guidance along trails that are selected to take advantage of the best snow conditions of the day.
Take part in a classic winter pastime and feel yourself glide over a frozen Rocky Mountain lake. Popular locales for skating include Lake Mildred and Pyramid Lake. The former has a groomed skating rink offering a round-the-lake oval and hockey rinks for pick-up games; skate rentals are available at the Fairmont’s nearby winter rental shop.
Experience Jasper’s awe-inspiring winter cycling terrain by fat biking along frozen paths and ice-covered lakes. With tires that are almost twice the size the size of regular mountain biking tires, this fast-growing sport allows cyclists to stay on top of the snow rather than fighting against it. Ride along the marked trail towards Lake Annette, returning by way of Trefoil Lake, to see the different forests and mountains along the way. Don't have your own? Try out this addictive sport by renting a fat bike from The Bench Bike Shop. Also, don't miss the Frosty's Fat Bike Race Series on Jan. 10-12.
Make some horse friends with Jasper Park Riding Stables! On Pyramid Lake, their matched teams of horses pull old-fashioned Western sleighs decked out with bells and outfitted with comfortable seats and warm throw blankets, making for a fun and family-friendly winter experience. The rides last at least a half an hour, and are available on weekends throughout the winter.
Climb aboard one of Canada’s oldest forms of winter transportation: a dog sled. As you glide over the snow, sit back and relax, or take a turn driving your team of friendly Alaskan huskies. Don’t miss the Jasper in January festival (Jan 10-27), when local outfitter Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding offers runs on Pyramid Lake.
Climb aboard with Rockies Heli Canada for a full day helicopter tour of an incredible, uniquely Canadian natural phenomenon on Abraham Lake, where methane gas bubbles from plant life freeze at various depths under the lake surface. This photo safari is like no other, and is offered mid-December to mid-April.