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Jasper Experience

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm venturing to Jasper in 5 Days (Saturday 11th March) all the way from England. I was just wondering if anyone knows what it's like and can give me any hints/tips for the skiing, eating, drinking etc. I don't know what it's like from people who've had first-hand experience and would really like to hear from some of you and get your thoughts on the place.

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 10
I have never skied there but have visited on several occasions in the summer to camp, bike and rock climb.

Town site itself is very quaint and way nicer than Banff. Not a lot of shmultzy glitz. More small town and less Whistleresque (if that means anything to you...)

My experiences in the summer are nothing but great ones.

Negatives

A friend of mine who lived in Edmonton commented that often early season conditions can be a little light on snow in places and often the hill is to be avoided from Nov-Jan. That said the snow pack looks good to go right now.

Positives

Light and dry snow. Cool town. Friendly locals. All the ammenities you would want. North American service model.
post #3 of 10
Alberta just went through a short cold snap where most of the province got at least 20 cm of new snow over the past 9 days, and that's on the prairies. Marmot Basin (Jasper) got well over 30 cm, so you'll be good to go.

Marmot isn't a huge mountain, but it does have pretty well everything that much larger resorts have, from groomed cruisers to gladed bowls, to thigh burning mogul runs to some juicy little out of the way bits worth hiking to for some first tracks, and more. The absolutely BEST thing about Marmot, though, is that it is rarely crowded, so on occasions during the week you can get that feeling of having the mountain all to yourself.

As far as the town goes, few mountain towns are as beautiful or as charming as Jasper. While there are a lot of Hotels and Motels in Jasper, most of them are well below capacity in the winter, as Marmot just doesn't draw as many skiers as do the resorts in and around Banff. On the other hand, if nightlife is what you crave, it can be a little hit and miss, depending on the date and day of week.

You don't say how long you'll be staying, so I can't really help you as far as activities go, but even if you don't ski everyday, there's stuff to do. The winter hike through Maligne Canyon is especially popular, because you get to walk over a frozen river between steep cliffs where water usually rages.
I'm sure some of the Jasper locals will eventually pipe up and help me out here...
post #4 of 10
Maligne Canyon is almost a must. What a cool place. Take the time and go there for sure. Bring a snack, good footwear and go down the trail a bit. Pretend you are going to Jasper park lodge. Instead of going right to the lodge go left about 10 - 20 minutes up the road is Maligne Canyon.

Near Jasper Park Lodge is Edith lake and ???? (carvelle?) Lake. Both are nice and again good light hiking trails. Jasper Park lodge is right there and worth a look. Some trails here to wander on as well. Possibly skating on the lake there too.

Find the aquatic center. there is a road that goes up a big hill. Take that road it leads to another great lake and some great scenery.

Aquatic center is okay. New boilers, steamer and mechanical have turned this place around. Tub is usually pretty warm. Steam room is nice. Pool is basic and water slides for kids.

There is a Gondola but I do not beleive it runs in the winter.

If the roads are good, fill your tank and head down the Banff Jasper Hwy for an hour or so. Or drive right to the Columbia Ice feilds. there is a huge lodge etc there for lunch. Further on is Saskatchewan crossing (GET GAS) with a hotel and restaurants etc... about 2.5 hrs from Jasper to Sask Crossing on good roads. Don't forget gas ! Did I mention gas ? Don't ask.

As you take the road to Marmot you will come to a intersection that you would go right to go to Marmot. There is a road that goes straight. IF you have a 4 X 4 or if the roads are good take that road for 1/2 hr or so (It might be closed during the winter, if so I would stay off it's pretty remote back in there), very nice out of the way drive. If you stay on that road about 1hr you end up right at Athabasca Falls. I have only seen it in the summer but I would think winter is equally fantastic.

Almost all the way up to Marmot is a parking lot that alot of people go X coutry sking here. There is a ice fall canyon in there somewhere as well, but I have never been. I think there are tours you can take. Supposed to be pretty nice probably worth the effort.

Drinking. THe "Atha B" (Athabasca Hotel) Whistle Stop Pub (right across the street)

The high street is pretty cool but hit it early afternoon as Jasper closes up most shops early in the winter. Don't count on alot being open late.

on the main street right by the train station is a bistro. They make the best damn foccia sandwich in there and lots of good home made food. I can never remember the name.

L & W Restaurant is a good economical meal and good value.

Lots of pubs and coffee shops and candy shops.

Used to be a place called OOPS and SCOOPS for ice cream sundeas etc....

As said by others Jasper is a quiet little mountain town with a nice ski hill. I hope it never changes.

Banff is nice but those crowds I can do without.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
Don't forget gas ! Did I mention gas ? Don't ask.
That's funny...I live here and I spaced on gas once on this stretch of road. Had visitors with me to make an embarassing moment even better.

It's a gorgeous road.
post #6 of 10
Funny how the car just doesn't seem to work so well when that little light comes on that says "Fuel Low".:

Some people just don't know how remote this area is and that there isn't a Jiffy Mart every 10 miles. Jasper, Sask Crossing and Lake Louise thats it.

Is there Fuel at Columbia Ice Feilds? I have never gone into the Gong Show Parking lot. Sometimes on the bike I get pretty sketchy for fuel from Sask Crossing to Jasper. Funny how that works when I am going fast, I seem to burn more fuel. Very strange :
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks

Thanks for everyone's info on Jasper to date. The snow seems to be staying about 100 in the higher and 80 in the lower at the moment and no snow for a week. Only 3 days to go now though so let's hope it picks up. I won't be hiring a car to do any driving though thanks for those hints and tips. Also hiking's not quite what i do for kicks either i'm all aobut the snow and the skiing.

It sounds a little quiet and out of the way but i'll relish the non-existant ski queues. I just hope i can find someone there to ski with or i'll be bored as hell on those blacks on my own. Still can't wait to get there though. Maybe i'll see some of you out there, maybe i won't.

For the guy who didn't know how long i'll be visiting for to inform me on activities. I'm there for 2 weeks. It's gonna be great i'm sure.

Cheers,

Ski Machine :
post #8 of 10
If you are there for two weeks and don't have lift tickets all paid for already.

Search for a day trip shuttle to Kicking Horse and Lake Louise Sunshine.

You already came a long way, what a couple of hours on a bus each way to ski some other top notch area's.

Also keep you ears open, many locals make the trip to the other resorts and I am sure for some gas money or a free lunch they would be happy to have a tag a long. Can always just stand up in the bar and plainly ask "anyone going to Banff or Golden tommorow!"
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marmot mb
If you are there for two weeks and don't have lift tickets all paid for already.

Search for a day trip shuttle to Kicking Horse and Lake Louise Sunshine.

You already came a long way, what a couple of hours on a bus each way to ski some other top notch area's.
I absolutely agree! If you can spare a bit of extra time and cash, take the opportunity to go from Jasper to Lake Louise , because the trip is only 233km (2.5hours)on one of the most beautiful mountain drives through pristine national park wilderness in the world. Golden (Kicking Horse) is approx. another 90 km from Lake Louise (340km or 3.5 hours from Jasper).The town of Banff is another 55km from Lake Louise. While distances in Canada may seem great, keep in mind most Brits and Europeans are impressed by how fast travel is possible on our excellent roads, since they are relatively straight, wide, and free of urban development and traffic. Should you want to stay overnight anywhere, vacancy rates are usually pretty good all winter long, and there are hostels in Lake Louise, Golden, and Banff.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm outta here...

Thanks for all your help guys! I'm off to experience it for myself now!!

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