March 8, 2024 in

15 women in Jasper who inspire us

Sabrina Doyle
4 minute read
Written by Sabrina Doyle

Jasper has always been a place for trailblazers. In the early 20th century, explorer Mary Schäffer became the first European to visit Maligne Lake, and used her skills as a naturalist, illustrator, photographer, and writer to document the region. Métis homesteader Suzette Swift made elaborate beaded leatherworks and clothing, some of which can be seen at the Yellowhead Museum and Archives. Today, women continue to leave their mark and bring life to the national park.

The Jasperites in this story aren’t afraid to leave the beaten path and forge their own. Ranging from backcountry experts to business leaders to community activists, here’s a few ladies who inspire us daily.

sasha galitzki

Matricia Bauer

For the last two decades, Bauer has been sharing her Indigenous culture. Through her business Warrior Women, the talented and professionally trained musician offers performances, Fireside Chats, plant walks and beading workshops to those seeking a cultural experience in the national park. “We will be known forever by the tracks we leave,” she says. Watch her tell her story in the first episode of Venture Beyond: The Series.


Estelle Blanchette

A longtime afficionado of all things delicious and adventurous, Blanchette started Jasper’s first and only food tour company. Through Jasper Food Tours, this proficient rock climber gives visitors a culinary overview of our little mountain town, while also integrating local stories. Within a year of launching, Estelle had already won awards for her tourism business innovation and is now working on a book about backcountry cuisine.


Candace Broughton

Under the dictionary definition of bad ass, there could just be a photo of this Jasper business owner. A lover of fast motorcycles and funky shoes, Broughton started Jasper Motorcycle Tours, the only tour company that uses exclusively Harley-Davidson motorcycles and sidecars to guide within a national park. One of her favourite quotes comes from Angelina Jolie: “Cause a little trouble. It’s good for you.”

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Colleen Chalifoux

Tucked off the main road is Jasper's only full-service flower shop: Alpenflora. This small spot is big on personality (kind of like its plant-loving owner) and specializes in bespoke florals for weddings, special occasions, and gifts.

AplenFlora Jasper

Elissa Cummings

It’s a long way from Jasper to Mexico, but before Cummings started local mountain bike guiding company Jasper Bike Guides, she biked the distance. As a 24 year old in the male-dominated biking industry, Cummings is often surrounded by men twice her age. “I have to find the courage every day to tell myself that I belong here. Nothing should stop me from following my dreams, especially social norms. I hope I can inspire just one person to do the same.”


Lisa Darrah

As co-owner of Rockaboo Mountain Adventures, a local guiding company that does beginner friendly rock climbing, ice climbing, and glacier tours, as well as more advanced avalanche safety courses, Darrah plays a big part in Jasper’s outdoor culture. She also works with the local RCMP Victim Services unit to provide support to community and visitors in times of need.

Kirstie Eccleston

Grit. Grace. Gratitude. Three words that embody this badass helicopter pilot. "You can't fail if you refuse to give up. When she's not giving travellers a bird's eye view of the national park, or leading mountaintop yoga, or managing the base at Jasper-Hinton Air, she helps fight wildfires around the province. One of her favourite motto's: "You can't fail if you refuse to give up."

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Melody Gaboury

Business owner, volunteer, mother and more. Gaboury is the volunteer manager for the Jasper Food Recovery program, which aims to reduce food waste and redistributes groceries throughout the community. As a mom, she knows the value of good childcare—a service provided through My Jasper Nanny. Her motto is to follow the golden rule: "treat others the way you want to be treated."

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Sasha Galitzki

Founder and director of Cirque Aurora, Sasha can sometimes be spotted dangling from silks in unlikely places. This multi-disciplinary acrobat and business leader has rigged & performed aerial artistry over lakes, in blizzards, and even inside of a glacial ice cave! ​She believes strongly that the outdoors are for everyone, and hopes to inspire women and girls (and all underrepresented groups!) to more deeply experience the beauty of nature.

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Photo: Cirque Aurora

Karen Jacobs

Jacobs owns local clothing retailer Mountain Air, and her advice to other women is: "Trust your gut... Don’t be afraid to ask to help or to reach out and help another. This town is amazing for that and I have been blessed with the support of other women entrepreneurs in this town not to mention all the women who prop me up when I need it. Together we are strong and can accomplish anything.”


Jenna McGrath

A paragon of organized zen, McGrath runs Jasper Wellness, a peaceful venue for massage and yoga, and Fleur Cannabis Boutique, the first of its kind in any Canadian national park. She quotes American Cherokee activist Wilma Mankiller: “Women can help turn the world right side up....if we do not participate, then decisions will be made without us.”


Mireya Rubio

Two years ago, Mireya embarked on a new journey to make a positive impact in the communities we work, live and play in. As the operations initiatives manager for Pursuit Banff Jasper Collection, she improves sustainability practices and behaviors across all operations, works to engage the community, and launched a leadership development program too. While technically not a Jasper resident, she's frequently in town both for work and play. She passionately believes that you get what you give, and endeavors to live every day like its her last.

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Stephanie Sophocleous

Yogi, manager, endless optimist. Stephanie has had her share of challenges (watch her tell her story in the ninth episode of Venture Beyond: The Series) but still approaches everything she does with strength and a smile. From raising fifty thousands of dollars for arthritis research to leading one of Jasper's most amazing cabin properties, we are in awe.


Katrina Turcot

Being new to the Jasper business community, this lifelong local says she feels lucky to have so many amazing women in leadership positions to look up to! As a new owner of Jasper Raft Tours, she can be spotted organizing river logistics or roasting lakeside s'mores with her three young children.

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Silvie Walsh

The owner of local clothing retailers Bombshell and Ransom, Walsh says she feels “very fortunate to be surrounded by so many strong female entrepreneurs here in Jasper.” One of her favourite quotes reflects the sense of community that can lift and inspire us, and comes from Rupi Kaur: “we all move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are.”