Jasper is best known as a summer destination, for those coming from all over the world to experience the beauty of the mountains, plentiful hiking opportunities, excellent white water rafting and more. But guess what? The secret to visiting this bustling little ski town is to actually visit in the winter. The population is only about 5,000, restaurants and hotels are open and welcoming and the hospitality cannot be beaten. Here are five reasons to visit this epic town in the wintertime.
Maligne Canyon is INCREDIBLE!
If you thought this canyon was impressive in the summertime ,wait until you see it in the winter. Not only do you get to walk along the top of it and look down into the canyon but you actually get to go down into it. The ice walk is a fabulous experience, amongst huge frozen waterfalls and deep chasm canyon walls. Spikes or crampons are a must when you are doing this activity. We suggest teaming up with Maligne Adventures for a guided tour where crampons and transportation are provided.
Skiing at Marmot Basin
Tired of lining up for lifts at popular ski hills such as Lake Louise, Sunshine or Whistler? Do you ever wish you could have the hill to yourself? Welcome to Marmot Basin where fresh powder and empty hills await visitors. For some reason this hill has snuck under the radar and is an absolute paradise. Offering 85 runs with a 30% Novice, 30% Intermediate, 20% Advanced, 20% Expert split, there is something for everyone here. The mid mountain lodge is a well-kept secret among locals and make sure to make a pit stop there for lunch. With an average of 160 inches of snow a year and outstanding views, this ski hill is well worth the visit.
Is there anything more Canadian than walking down the main street and seeing a herd of elk hanging out in front of the visitors centre? That’s what you get in Jasper. Or perhaps they are hanging out on the train tracks. Either way, we promise you will see elk in Jasper in winter. What else you can see depends on how lucky you are. The elusive caribou lives here and its truly a once in a lifetime opportunity if you get the chance to see them. Lynx also calls this home and the surrounding area home, as do wolves, coyotes, cougars and moose.
Snowshoeing at its Best
Jasper is the perfect place to strap on your snowshoes and explore the outdoors. Loaded with beginner and intermediate trails, you don’t have to be an expert to explore here. A few of the favorite trails include the Mary Schaeffer Loop at Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake and Athabasca Glacier Forefield. If you are not quite ready to tackle snowshoeing on your own, make sure to book with Walks and Talks Jasper. Paula is the women behind this snowshoe adventure and includes includes snowshoes, poles, transportation to the snowshoe location and Paula’s guidance and knowledge of the area.
The Icefields Parkway
To travel this parkway is to experience one of Canada’s national treasures and driving in the winter is both exciting and beautiful. Snow capped peaks, frozen turquoise lakes and the stunning Columbia Icefield will literally blow your mind. Frozen waterfalls, empty roads and plenty of place to stop and take photos, this journey is unlike any other in the winter. To drive it, snow tires are a must and allow yourself enough times for the numerous stops you will want to make along the way.
Special thanks to Travel Alberta, Jasper Tourism, Jasper Brewing Company and The Crimson Inn hotel for such an awesome experience!