Jasper, Alberta is home to roughly 4,000 people – and amongst this group of locals live many unique individuals who have come to know the crevices, peaks, trails, and waters that make up our backyard – one of Canada’s largest National Parks.
Jasperites have a deep appreciation for all that they’ve explored, and want visitors to enjoy their expansive playground the way they do - with an authentic, off-the-beaten-path experience.In order to help you take full advantage of all that Jasper has to offer, we’re tapping into our local resources to shed light on what makes Jasper so great - the people that live here! Every other week, we’ll share some insight from locals in our ongoing Jasper Insider Series. Be sure to stay tuned for some fascinating Jasper tips and stories.
First up in our series is someone who constantly seeks new ways to venture beyond: Tourism Jasper’s own Travel Trade Manager, Estelle Stewart. Estelle likes to push herself to new limits and fully embraces the mountain-town lifestyle on a daily basis.
Estelle Stewart’s Story: Estelle was a broke student from Quebec City with a strong desire to explore the world. She hitchhiked to Jasper in 1998, and never caught a ride back. She’s been a Jasper resident ever since - enjoying the outdoors every minute she gets. If she’s not off jet-setting to an international trade show to share her passion for Jasper, you’ll find her either climbing an ice waterfall, standing on a high peak, trekking in the backcountry, or running the trails with her furry canine pal, Johnny Cash. Read the interview below to check out Estelle’s favourite finds in Jasper!
What’s your favourite Jasper store?
Gravity Gear started off as more of a display case in the local bike shop nearby, over time morphing into a full on climbing/outdoor shop. They pride themselves on being packed with “the best stuff, best staff, and most fun.” They are strong supporters of the local community.
Where’s the best place to find the unusual or unexpected?
I always see all sorts of wildlife, people, and evidence of a good time the night before during my 6 am daily run on the Discovery Trail.
Where’s the best coffee shop?
Coco’s Cafe – for their breakfast wrap and smoothies. BUT, the Bears Paw and Snowdome have the best coffee.
*Read more on the Jasper Java scene here .
Where’s your favourite place to relax and unwind?
Anywhere in the backcountry - One of my favorite places in the world is the Fryatt Hut.
Where is your favourite place to ‘Venture Beyond’ outside of the town of Jasper?
Any peaks! I have no favourites. There are just so many…I try to not do the same one twice.
What’s the best ‘Jasper’ story that you can think of?
Call me creepy, but I love the stories of dead bodies popping out of glaciers decades after they went missing. Any of those kinds of tales - I find them fascinating.
What’s the most amazing experience you’ve had over the years while living in Jasper?
Again, it’s tough to pick just one. I’ve lived here for 17 years and can recall many times where I’ve caught myself saying, “This is the best day of my life”. If I narrow it down to within the last month, camping at Coronet Creek on Maligne Lake for the summer solstice would be the highlight. We woke up at 4 am to go for a paddle and catch the sunrise lighting up the Queen Elizabeth range. Then we carried on to Spirit Island and watched the sunrise light it up over breakfast. We had the place to ourselves - It was unreal.
What’s your favourite time of year in Jasper?
Spring - April/May to be more specific. You can ski/ride, rock or ice climb, trail run, bike, you name it - All in the same day.
What’s your favourite Jasper event that you look forward to?
I love live music, so the Jasper Folk Fest is my personal favourite.
Who comes to mind as the quirkiest and/or most famous local in Jasper ?
We have a lot of exceptional people in town. I admire great athletes, and people who dedicate their lives to a cause or to helping others. Our fire chief, Greg Van Tighem, fits that profile. He bikes all over to raise funds for MS and is a firefighter, of course.
If you had a day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Thanks to Estelle for lending her time to us for the Jasper Local series. Check back in two weeks for more insider info!