A small town in the heart of a National Park, Jasper offers a friendly, low-key ski experience set amongst stunning natural scenery abundant with wildlife. Driving from Calgary takes around five hours and is unforgettable. The breathtaking ancient glaciers, frozen waterfalls and towering peaks along the Icefields Parkway are the perfect prelude to your skiing holiday in Jasper. Skiing here is based at Marmot Basin, around half an hour away, and offers an excellent variety of terrain. Snow reliability is good, temperatures can fall as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, and Marmot remains amongst the least crowded of North American ski areas. With 10,800 square kilometres of Jasper National Park surrounding the town, there is so much more on offer than just skiing.
Jasper is a good choice for beginners. Each of Marmot's lifts provides access to at least one beginner (green) piste, allowing skiers of all abilities to get to the higher altitudes, better snow and beautiful views. Tranquilizer and Sleepy Hollow are two of many great runs for novices.
There are some very enjoyable runs for the intermediate skier in Marmot. Every lift has a way down the mountain for intermediates, just as there is for beginners. Worth particular mention is the Knob Traverse below Marmot Peak, where you will be high up the mountain, affording magnificent views. All lifts and trails are open to snowboarders and runs such as Eagle Ridge provide exhilarating free riding.
Skiing is good for experts in Marmot although, much like intermediates, expert skiers may exhaust groomed trails rather quickly. Instead, the fine powder of the Dupres Bowl and the steep declines of Wendy's Choice provide a stiffer challenge. Snowcat trips offer the intrepid expert access to untracked powder on testing bowls. Freestyle snowboarders will love the tabletops, jumps and rails at Marmot Terrain Park.
Jasper is a nice option for a family ski holiday as amenities are very good. For children aged 4 and over, Marmot Basin Ski & Snowboard School runs Tiny Tots lessons between 9 am to 4 pm. Group sizes are no larger than eight and supervised lunches are available. There is also a nursery available for children between 19 months and 7 years old.
Jasper has modest snowfall by North American standards but the quality of snow is very good. Marmot's high elevation and natural bowl-shaped terrain create the conditions for wonderful dry powder.
Marmot's Caribou Lounge sits at the foot of the mountain, offering several bars from which to start your evening. Jasper itself is a small town but still has a good range of après ski options. Eating out is good here, with a range of restaurants concentrated on Connaught Drive and Patricia Street. There are plenty of bars in town and two nightclubs, AthaB and Pete's Bar. Some of Jasper's pubs also play host to live music - a great way to spend an evening after a long day skiing.