A SKIING WEEKEND IN JASPER, ALBERTA

Winter has just arrived in Canada, so ski and snowboard enthusiasts are heading to Western Canada’s ski resorts, to enjoy awesome skiing/boarding. One of my favourites is Marmot Basin Ski Resort near Jasper, Alberta.

The small town of Jasper is inside Jasper National Park, which, at 11,228 sq km (4,335 sq miles), is the largest national park inside the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This place sits on traditional lands of the Beaver, Cree, Ojibway, Shuswap, Stoney, and Métis Nations, and is one of the 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada.

5,000 people live here year-round, but up to 12,000 workers live here seasonally each year. Last year, Jasper was placed #7 in Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards for the “Top Destination for Skiers”!

Marmot Basin Ski Resort

This ski resort is a 25-minute drive south of Jasper. According to its website, it has the “highest base elevation of any major Canadian ski area”, at 1,698 meters (5,570 ft), and the summit is at 2,612 meters (8,570 ft)! That’s why it’s open longer than other ski resorts, from mid-November until early May.

On average, more than 440 cm (14.4 ft) of fresh snow falls every year.

This area covers 1,720 acres, and skiers/snowboarders can choose from seven lifts and 91 runs for all abilities.

The terrain consists of groomed runs, tree runs, moguls, powder runs, alpine bowls and chutes. If you’re into even more excitement, check out their two terrain parks, with jumps, rails, boxes, and jibs!

I’m a beginner, so I prefer to ski the green (novice) and some blue runs, which have helped me improve my skills a lot! I like to take the Canadian Rockies Express Lift all the way to the top, then ski back down until the base (bottom), ready to do it all over again!

Finally arrived at the top of the Canadian Rockies Express Lift 😁

View from the Canadian Rockies Express Lift, and a map of ski runs at Marmot Basin.

If your legs need some rest, stop at one of the food and beverage facilities. You can just leave your skis or board at one of the racks outside next to these spots, which is very convenient!

We’re having lunch or a snack at the Cariboo Chalet at the base of the mountain, which has a bar and grill, and café area, and the Paradise Chalet at mid-mountain. There’s a nice outdoor sitting area, so you can watch these magnificent mountains during your break!

But as in many places popular with tourists, the prices can be quite high, so if you’re on a budget, bring your own food and drinks instead. You can find more details about these facilities here.

But of course, Marmot Basin Ski Resort offers more than just skiing/boarding and eating, lol! You can also buy tons of gear at the Outdoor Limits Retail Store and rent equipment at the rental shop, which are both at the base of the mountain.

Besides, this is a great spot for families, as there’s the School House Chair and Learning Area, and lessons can be booked for kids and adults. The Little Rascals Nursery is open for the 2022/23 season as well (for kids from 19 months to six years).

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This season, Marmot Basin Ski Resort hosts Jasper in January (Jan 14-29, 2023), which is “Jasper’s signature winter festival”, as per Marmot Basin’s website.

Marmot Basin also participated in the Jasper Pride & Ski Festival last April. Please find more info about upcoming events here.

Pride festivities at Marmot Basin Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of Marmot Basin Ski Resort.

Here are the full day lift ticket prices during the 2022/23 season:

Adult (18-64 years): C$ 125.00

Senior (65-79 years): C$ 102.00

Youth (13-17 years) and students from 18-24 years (with ID): C$ 102.00

Adaptive ski pass: C$ 102.00

Junior (6-12 years): C$ 44.00

Children under 6 years and “Super Seniors” (80+) ski/board for free!

Visitors have been encouraged to buy lift tickets online, to minimize contact with staff, and keep everyone safe.

In 2021, Marmot Basin made the move to RFID ski passes and tickets, so visitors get a card during their first visit of the season. You’re supposed to put it into the left sleeve pocket of your jacket, and it will be scanned automatically before entering the lift. This card can be used all season long, and just needs to be reloaded online before your next visit.

You can also purchase lift tickets at the Marmot Sales Centre in downtown Jasper (611 Patricia Street), or at the Guest Services Office at the base of mountain.

Photo credit: @Celinparadise

Marmot Basin can get very busy on weekends, especially if there’s a special event going on. So if you’d like to escape the crowds, it’s best to visit on a weekday.

If you’re a local, who comes to Marmot Basin a lot during the season, you should look into buying the Marmot Escape Card, which enables you to ski for half price, all season long! Another great deal is that you get to ski/board for free on your birthday!

More details on current deals and promotions at Marmot Basin Ski Resort can be found here.

You can get from Jasper to Marmot Basin and back is by car, the Marmot Ski Shuttle bus (at C$ 18 roundtrip), or a local taxi company (Cariboo Cabs or Mountain Express Taxi & Limousine). If you’re driving, you can just park at one of the four parking lots inside the resort, which are right next to some runs! So all you need to do is put on your skis/board, and get crackin’!

Marmot Basin just opened its doors on November 10, 2022, and is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, and the resort facilities close at 5 pm (both MST). If you’re interested in current snow and weather conditions at the resort, please find their Weather Forecast and Snow Report here.

Sunrise by Mt. Kerkeslin and Mt. Hardisty inside Marmot Basin Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of Marmot Basin Ski Resort.

Where to Stay in Jasper

If you have the time, I highly recommend staying in Jasper for a night or two (or more!). This small town has a great selection of accommodations, including hotels, hostels, and Bed & Breakfasts. Here are my two favourite places to stay in Jasper:

The Astoria Hotel. This is the place to stay in town if you like historic accommodations (404 Connaught Drive), that are also close to shops and restaurants. First opened in 1925, it’s been family-owned ever since. It’s hard to miss from the outside, because of its unique building style. But don’t worry, while this boutique hotel has an antique vibe (especially the telephone in our room), it’s not outdated at all. Guests can book queen, twin, king, or mountain view rooms. We stay in a king room, which is rather small, but it has everything we need (fridge, smart TV, en-suite bathroom, and free wifi), and it is very clean.

The Astoria Hotel from the outside.

Partial King bed room, and the antique room phone (it still works!) 😆

Jasper Downtown Hostel. This hostel is perfect for budget-minded travelers of all ages, but also families, who like a great value accommodation that’s clean and cozy (400 Patricia Street). This place has both dorm (mixed and female only) for 7-8 guests, and private rooms, with private or shared bathrooms. I stayed in a female dorm and private room before, and I love that it has a fireplace! The private rooms can accommodate 2-5 guests, and they have bunks, queen, twins, and queen/bunk bed combinations to choose from. Like other hostels, the Jasper Downtown Hostel has a full kitchen, lounge, lockers, and laundry facilities for guests to use.

Here’s a great overview of what this hostel offers, video courtesy of Jasper Downtown Hostel:

Where to Eat & Drink

Same as other touristy places, Jasper has tons of cafés and restaurants to offer. Here are some places we checked out during our visits:

Lou Lou’s Breakfast & Pizzeria (407 Patricia Street). While this restaurant is smaller and a bit more budget-friendly than others in Jasper, the food is very tasty! We’re having pizza for dinner, and it’s perfect! There’s a great selection on the menu, the pizza isn’t too doughy, just as it should be! Sean has the Meatlovers’ Pizza and I order a 2-topping pizza (pineapple and mushrooms). Gluten-free pizza is available as well, but unfortunately, I didn’t see any vegan pizza options. They also have salads, poutine, pasta dishes, burgers, and wings on their menu.

The De’d Dog Bar & Grill (404 Connaught Drive). This cozy restaurant and bar is right next to the Astoria Hotel! You can choose between many comfort food options, like Shepherd’s Pie, chicken wings, burgers (including a vegan one!), sandwiches, but also salads and a Buddha Bowl. I’m having the latter, which is perfect for a healthy pick-me-up after a long day of skiing/boarding! After dinner, grab a drink and challenge your friends to a pool tournament! They also have live music quite often, and the De’d Dog is a popular spot with both locals and visitors.

One Sushi Japanese Restaurant (622 Patricia Street). This restaurant opened in January 2021, and is a perfect spot if you love sushi and other Japanese and Korean food! For Korean food, you can order Yangnyeom Crispy Chicken, Chibab, Dak-Gangjeong, and more! But we feel like Japanese food tonight, so we try the Crazy Girl Special Roll (avocado, tuna, cream cheese with unagi sauce, and mayo), Veggie Teriyaki with tofu and rice, and Avocado Roll. Everything is to die for, and the calm vibe of the restaurant, and super friendly staff are just another bonus!

Coco’s Café (608 Patricia Street). If you’re vegan, gluten-free, or have other dietary preferences or allergies, this cute café is the place to go in Jasper! I love the unique design and vibe, such as the “backwards” moving clock above the cozy seating area, and cool drawings in the bathroom. It’s clear that the staff have put in plenty of love and effort to bring this café to life! Their menu consists of wraps, sourdough sandwiches, bagels, overnight oats, soups, salads, and smoothies to get the day started! I’m having their Vegan BLT Sourdough sandwich for breakfast, but unfortunately, it’s a bit oily for my taste… 😔 Still, I’d give Coco’s Café another chance, not just because of the unique vibe, but also because they support the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Poster advertising Coco’s Cafe, cozy sitting area, and awesome drawings in the bathroom!

Directions to Jasper

If you’re driving, there are three different ways to get to Jasper:

From Calgary, take Highway #1 towards Banff, then travel north, until you reach the Icefields Parkway (Highway #93). Then just keep going straight ahead, and it’s about a 5-hour drive.

From Edmonton, keep following Highway #16 westbound, which takes about four hours in total.

From Kamloops, take Highway #5 North, then turn right at Highway #16 (eastbound) at Tête Jaune Cache. It’s about a 5-hour drive to Jasper.

The closest international airport is Edmonton (YEG).

If you don’t have a car, you can book a bus ticket with Thompson Valley Charters from Kamloops (Mondays and Thursdays) or Edmonton (Tuesdays and Fridays). It stops at the Via Rail Station in downtown Jasper.

SunDog Tours also offers daily bus service from Edmonton to Jasper and back. They also provide transportation from/to Calgary from October 2022 to April 2023.

Lastly, Via Rail Canada also goes to Jasper, so if you have the time, hop on “The Canadian” from Vancouver to Toronto (or vice-versa). It goes either way once a week at this time, and there’s also a train from/to Prince George and Prince Rupert once a week.

A quiet morning in Jasper.

So hopefully, I’ve inspired you to ski/board at Marmot Basin Ski Resort, and hang out in Jasper for a few days 🙂

If you’re visiting Calgary on your trip to Alberta and love cats, check out this blog post:

Pawsome Times at the Regal Cat Café.

This post was last updated January 15, 2023.

Disclosure: I only recommend products that I’ve used in the past, and all opinions expressed in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of the links throughout the page to buy something, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks.

7 thoughts on “A SKIING WEEKEND IN JASPER, ALBERTA

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  1. While I’m not into skiing, I am into Jasper. Such a great place to visit, I love the scenery so I can only imagine the extra special views you’ll get higher up while skiing. So happy to see you mention the Bear’s Paw bakery – what a great little place

    1. Yeah, Jasper is a great place to visit, regardless if you’re into skiing or not 🙂 There’s lots of other things for non-skiers to do as well, like hiking, snow shoeing, ice-skating, etc. 🙂

  2. I love Jasper. Truly one of my favorite places to go, hike, play, be spoiled, enjoy nature. Much less busy than Banff, it’s quieter and makes for a lovely time away. One one trip, we took via rail on a trip from Edmonton to Jasper, and it was spectacular with the domed ceiling to see the landscape as you get closer and closer to Jasper! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Glad you liked your visit to Jasper 🙂 Yeah, it’s quite a spectacular train trip, so much to see on the way! I also prefer Jasper over Banff, as it’s less crowded and locals are really friendly 🙂

  3. I LOVED skiing at Marmot Basin! We visited at the end of the season in April (but somehow managed to arrive the day after fresh powder.) It is SUCH a gorgeous area to explore on skis. Jasper is one of my favourite areas of the Canadian Rockies <3

    1. Glad you enjoyed your time at Marmot Basin 😃 Yeah, it’s always fun to visit, whether you go early, mid season, or towards the end of the season ❄️ Are you planning to visit again this winter?

      Thanks for reading my post 😄

      1. I am not sure. We would like to explore more of the ski resorts in the Rockies. If I can find an excuse to go as far as Jasper again, I’d love to!!

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