Winter activities in Jasper
By Laura Gelder
Step into the real Narnia with a winter visit to Jasper National Park and the chance to embark on some of these snowy adventures.
Put yourself on ice
Equipped with special shoes, clients will be able to walk on top of the frozen Maligne River and into the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park, which is filled with ice caves and sculptures, as part of The Maligne Canyon ice walk. There’s also the chance to scale pale-blue frozen waterfalls on an ice climbing course, or rent some skates from Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and glide on rinks on Mildred or Pyramid Lake.
Spot some winter wildlife
In Jasper, many of the locals have four legs, thick fur and a big set of antlers, but some wildlife is more common than others so the best chance of spotting the more elusive moose, for instance, is by booking a wildlife tour with a guide. They can follow migration patterns, take you to common sighting locations, spot animals from afar and teach all about the moose, caribou, sheep, wolves and coyotes here.
Get ready to shred it
Hit the slopes at local ski resort Marmot Basin. Known as a powder haven, it has the highest base elevation of any ski area in Canada and nearly 100 runs which cater for every level plus a Terrain Park with boxes, rails and jumps. No time to learn to ski? Fat bikes have large, spongy tires that grip the snow and give year-round access to Jasper’s extensive trail network. Rent one from Pyramid Lake Resort and take it for a spin.
After a long day exploring, it’s always lovely to get inside, get warm and refuel with something tasty. The Wilderness Kitchen (found at the trailhead of Maligne Canyon) is a purveyor of comfort foods. Tuck into warming soups and meals crafted from slow-smoked meats, handmade preserves and fresh local veggies. Or check out the Jasper Brewing Co., where you can find craft beers and warm, buttered pretzels.
Gaze up at the stars
Jasper National Park is also a Dark Sky Preserve – the second largest in the world, actually. The sky really comes alive in the winter, so get cosy with some hot chocolate and enjoy the show. See if you can spot the Milky Way or, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights. Wrap up warm and take a Winter Dark Sky Astronomy Tour or stay indoors and visit the Jasper Planetarium at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for star-studded views.
Dog or bird’s eye views?
Glide through the winter wonderland using a classically Canadian method of transport – a dog-drawn sledge. Relax under a snug blanket while a team of strong dogs swishes you through the forest (with an expert guide, of course) in search of the most stunning winter scenery. Alternatively, take a helicopter tour for jaw-dropping views from above. You can book a heli-snowshoe tour and get dropped off on top of the world.