As a year-round playground for outdoorsy types, Jasper is a natural choice for a mountain fix in any season. Miranda Post, contributor for the Lululemon Athletica blog, goes in depth with Lululemon’s run ambassador, Kendall Barber, about some of Jasper’s best spots to chill, sweat and eat.
Kendall grew up visiting Jasper. Now as an adult, and one half of Edmonton-based, wildly popular made-to-measure footwear company Poppy Barley, Kendall escapes to Jasper a few times a year for much needed mountain time.
Though Kendall used to camp at the national park’s Whistler’s Campground or Snaring River Campground, these days the busy bespoke maven prefers to chill with her husband at the historic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s cedar log cabins. “There’s just so much to do right when you walk out the door,” she says. The old-timey looking lodge hugs pristine Lac Beauvert, its large windows blinking out towards Whistler’s Mountain (not to be confused with Whistler Mountain, the famous ski hill in BC).
To Kendall, Jasper Park Lodge represents the perfect mix of luxuriousness and mountain living. “It’s fun after a super hard day of hiking or skiing to be a little luxurious at the lodge, whether it’s soaking in their outdoor pools or sitting in their amazing grand lobby and having a glass of wine. I’m totally happy to go outside and play and get dirty, and then I’m really happy to come back, shower and get dressed and go enjoy a bit of luxury.”
After breakfast, Kendall always starts her day with a trail run on one of Jasper’s extensive, year-round paths. A dedicated runner, she kits up and heads out for eight or 10km each morning and then embarks on a day hike. Her favourite trails for views and vigour include: the four hour Sulphur Skyline with its gorgeous panoramas or Tangle Pass, a trek that overlooks Beauty Lakes and follows the crest of Tangle Ridge, offering 360 vistas of ice, wilderness and mountain peaks.
For marathoners, the Banff to Jasper Marathon Relay happens each June. Though she’s never run the race herself, a large part of why she became a runner was watching her parents prepare for the 258 kilometre, 15-person-per-team relay. Dubbed ‘the most beautiful relay in the world,’ Kendall still proudly wears her dad’s 1986 race T-shirt.
While Jasper is predominantly an outdoor playground for Kendall, there are options inside for stretching out tight muscles. The River Stone Yoga studio features a selection of yoga practices with one to two classes daily, while the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge hosts yoga classes Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Kendall’s Jasper dining style in two words: fuel and flavour. To start, she grabs a slice of banana bread and “the ‘best cup of coffee in town” from Snowdome Coffee Bar inside the Coin Clean Laundry room. After, she’s off to Jasper institution Bear’s Paw Bakery to snag a sandwich to take on the trail. Sandwiches at the Bear’s Paw, are actually supporting role to the lead actors in Kendall’s Jasper eating reel: their delicious fresh, baked goods. “I actually think we go there for sandwiches to justify stocking up on delicious treats – trail cookies (for me) and carrot cake or apple pie (for my husband).
After a day in the mountains, she often stops at Jasper Brewing Co. for après, indulging in a locally made beer like the Blueberry Vanilla Ale. Later, after a good shower—maybe even an early evening drink at the Jasper Park Lodge’s Emerald Lounge—Barber and her husband head back to town for dinner at The Raven Bistro. After a day of playing in the bush, Barber loves going for a healthy but refined dinner. Her Raven recommendations: super green, super protein Down the Nile Salad packed with grilled mahi mahi, spinach and sunflower seeds, or the Burma salad with sweet potato noodles, kimchi in a green onion ginger dressing. With wine, of course.
As a favorite place to rejuvenate and connect with the outdoors, Jasper definitely provides a relaxing escape from city life. Whether you are planning on heading to Jasper for an intense hiking adventure or a relaxing yoga weekend, there are so many exciting activities to explore and enjoy during your stay.
What are you waiting for? Schedule some mountain time into your busy calendar! You won’t regret it.