48 hours in Jasper
January 2020 | 3 minute read
When snow comes to stay, Jasperites say, ‘time to play!’. Winter in the mountains in UNESCO World Heritage site Jasper National Park is nothing short of magical. With so many amazing, unique activities it’s not hard to see why our chilliest season often delivers the warmest memories. Find a lovable mountain town at its most authentic. Here’s why...
DAY 1 - Ice ice baby
Morning: Jasper’s beloved local ski spot, Marmot Basin, boasts some of the best powder around. Untouched, pristine and secluded, Marmot offers a completely unique skiing experience with abundant wildlife, beautiful landscapes, high alpine bowls, deep chutes, and wide-open groomers.
Located just 20 minutes from the town of Jasper, the ski season runs from the middle of November until end of April. Advanced skiers should take note of Tres Hombres, the newly opened section that boasts the mountain’s longest, uninterrupted fall-line.
Afternoon: See one of Jasper National Park’s most iconic natural attractions - Maligne Canyon - by walking on the frozen riverbed at the bottom!
Trade summer’s crowds for spectacular frozen waterfalls that stretch more than 30 meters up the canyon walls. Gaze at the limestone walls that tower beside you as a guide from Maligne Adventures leads you safely through the maze of fascinating ice sculptures, explaining cave systems, fossils and fauna along the way (they will also provide helmets, warm winter boots and ice cleats for safety and comfort). Tours are three hours and depart daily at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., 6 p.m.
Get a new perspective on the park and explore areas inaccessible to most visitors with an ice climbing experience. Rockaboo Mountain Adventures makes the experience extra fun and extra safe; they provide all technical equipment (boots, crampons, harnesses, axes, helmet), training, and transportation from town to the climbing site and back. There are three main spots they frequent for their six-hour Experience Ice Climbing Adventure: Maligne Canyon, The Edge of the World area and Tangle Falls. To ensure an amazing climbing experience, guides choose the best place for the day according to current ice conditions.
Evening: Try Canada’s favourite past time – curling, at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a 700 acre mountain resort. Drop by the Winter Rental Shop or the Boathouse for rental equipment. Or enjoy the groomed skating rink before cosying up round the fire with a hot chocolate.
Then enjoy a full evening of cosmic exploration in the world's largest dark sky preserve with an Evening Dark Sky experience and stargazing with The Jasper Planetarium.
First, take-part in a fun, funny, inspiring 'audience-participation' guided tour of Jasper Dark Sky Preserve in the 50-seat domed theatre LIVE with astronomy experts. Then, come outside to explore planets, stars, distant galaxies, the aurora, and more under the darkest skies in the Rockies.
DAY 2 - Sleigh bells ring
Morning: At an elevation of 2,263 meters, the upper station of the Jasper Skytram is the perfect place to start your snowshoeing adventure. With the recent addition of snowshoeing in the spring, visitors can experience Whistlers Mountain in a whole new way. Though temperatures will soon start getting warmer in the Jasper townsite, Whistlers Mountain will remain blanketed in deep snow into the late spring.
Late morning: Travel in style with a 40 minute sleigh ride along the sunny shore of Pyramid Lake. Complete with horses, tuned bells, sleighs with comfortable seats and warm throw blankets, the journey makes for a classic winter experience.
Afternoon: Meeting daily at 2:30pm at the Visitor Information Centre lawn, the 3-hour Downtown Foodie tour will take you to four local joints, visiting points of interest and taking in some of Jasper’s tastiest tales along the way. At each restaurant, guests will try a top dish and a perfectly paired boozy drink to experience the real taste of Jasper’s food scene.
Evening: Enjoy dinner and beer tasting at Jasper Brewing Co., Canada's first national park-based brewery. Book a tour of the facilities and then order a sampler of six miniature brews like old-timer The 6060 Stout and local favourite Blackeye Blueberry Vanilla Ale. Peckish? Try the Millionaire Steak or the Cast Iron Pan Nachos.
For something a little more indulgent, head to Evil Dave's for a memorable meal. Locally owned and wickedly delicious, this funky family restaurant offers a globally inspired menu bursting with fresh ingredients and creative flare. Start by warming your bones with a Magic Elixir (Northern Lights cocktail) and share a Sinful Starter (the Cowboy Sushi is a perennial favourite) before diving into an Evil Entrée (signature dishes include the Malicious Salmon, Diabolical Tenderloin, or Hell's Chicken).