Marmot Basin, Jasper, Canada
Marmot Basin relies mostly on natural snow—and Mother Nature is generous in her bounty of powder. The resort has great terrain and awesome views, guaranteeing a memorable vacation for all visitors.
Far into the northland and separated from the busy bustle of Banff by a three-hour drive, Jasper is far enough north and far enough from a major airport (Edmonton: four hours) that people aren’t here by mistake or on a whim. People come to Jasper National Park for the scenery, the remoteness, the wonder of a herd of elk outside their hotel and the call of Canadian geese swooping over Lac Beauvert in the spring while the ski area still has winter snow.
The largest of the Canadian Rockies National Parks, Jasper has 4,200 square miles studded with lakes, dotted with wildlife, threaded by cross-country trails and embroidered with spectacular drives such as the Icefields Parkway. Overloaded with tourists in the summer, it’s delightfully uncrowded in the winter. It’s an understatement to say you won’t want to forget your camera for this vacation.
The town of Jasper sprang up from a tent city in 1911 when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was laying steel up the Athabasca River Valley toward Yellowhead Pass. Its growth was rather helter-skelter. Hugging the Athabasca River up against the train station, the town is relatively simple and charming, consisting of clapboard cottages, local shops, a steepled Lutheran church, stone houses and lodgings with a varied architectural scheme. Here you’ll find a friendly, relaxed and homey atmosphere.
Marmot Basin’s base lodge, Caribou Chalet, is a beautiful 32,000-square-foot building that blends in with its surroundings. Skiers and boarders of different levels can ride the same lifts which makes Marmot great for family and group vacations. The terrain is fairly evenly divided among ability levels so everyone can enjoy the mountain. If you’re looking to improve your skills, Marmot is a perfect choice.
Marmot continues to introduce new innovations. In June 2006, a snowmaking system was installed using run-off on-hill water for the lower slopes. Marmot has also recently opened new terrain including Outer Limits off the Paradise Chair, Marmot Peak off the Knob Chair, Cornice Run, off Marmot Peak and a Magic Carpet at the base. Eagle Ridge, previously accessed only by hiking is now serviced by a quad chair. Eagle Ridge has two faces: Eagle East and Chalet Slope. The 22 runs off the ridge include expert, advanced and intermediate terrain as well as one novice trail that winds its way down the mountain. Eagle East provides a wilderness experience with the convenience and safety of staying within the boundaries of the ski area. In addition to the prime tree skiing in Eagle East, take an adventure into two huge bowls of adjacent advanced and expert terrain.
Many visitors also can make the three-hour drive south to the three Banff Region resorts of Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Norquay.