Ahhh, winter in the Canadian Rockies: With snow-covered mountain peaks and wood-burning fires, Jasper National Park has a certain je ne sais quoi this time of year. To make the most of it, here are five things you must do in Jasper this winter.
What’s ice walking? It’s using special footwear to walk on a frozen surface. And Jasper National Park offers the most stunningly beautiful form of ice walking you might ever see. The Maligne Canyon Icewalk Tour guides you down the frozen Maligne River at the bottom of the beautiful smoothed-walled namesake canyon – the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park – where you will walk by a series of frozen waterfalls, ice caves and ice formations. It’s an unforgettable experience.
If you’re feeling more adventurous after walking on a frozen river, why not try climbing a frozen waterfall? Rockaboo Mountain Adventures’ introduction to ice-climbing course will have you going from newbie to conquering a frozen waterfall within a couple of hours. Using crampons on your feet, an axe in your hand and a secure rope system to prevent falls, you’ll quickly realize this sport is not so scary after all.
In Jasper, many of the locals have four legs, fur and a big set of antlers. It might be more common in some areas to see elk, a moose or even a mountain goat than a real-life human local. Even during the winter months, book a wildlife tour and you may get lucky.
You can’t come to the heart of the Canadian Rockies and not hit the slopes. You just can’t! Jasper’s Marmot Basin is a powder haven, and when you find out it has the highest base elevation of any ski area in Canada you’ll understand why. With close to 100 runs, almost equally divided between novice, intermediate, advanced and expert level, there’s something for everyone.
After a long day outdoors, it’s time to refuel with some not-so-basic essentials. The Wilderness Kitchen (found at the trailhead of Maligne Canyon) has all the comfort foods you’ll be craving. Think slow-smoked meats, handmade preserves and fresh local veggies. Looking to quench your thirst? Hit up the local Jasper Brewing Co., where you can find a wide range of craft beers and snacks. The warm buttered soft pretzel comes highly recommended.