We are driving home from Jasper, taking in the scenery with sun-kissed (burnt) cheeks and tired legs. We survived our first trip with a puppy and our second trip to Marmot Basin https://www.skimarmot.com/ this season. It is wonderful living in Edmonton, so close to the mountains. I missed the outdoors when I lived in NYC. I spent a lot of time in Central Park and was grateful to have that sanctuary so close to escape the craziness of the city. The north end of the park was peaceful, but even in the middle of winter I was sharing the park with other runners, bikers, strollers, and tourists. In my last couple years I ventured upstate NY and did some beautiful hikes in Rhinebeck, Mt. Beacon, and Bear Mountain. But, I always missed home, the coastline of Vancouver Island and the Rocky Mountains, which are some of the most majestic and beautiful places I have ever been.
Growing up I was fortunate enough to go on family ski trips, mostly to Mt. Washington Alpine Resort-https://www.mountwashington.ca/. As a teenager and in my early 20’s I continued to ski and snowboard with friends and family. For the past twelve years the focus of my life has been school and work and I gave up a lot of my hobbies. Living in Ottawa, Toronto, and NYC, I didn’t have a ski hill in my backyard and did not have the time and/or resources to go on ski trips. One of my current goals is to figure out what my interests and hobbies are now. I feel like a lost some of myself over the past few years, and with more time to enjoy life I want to figure out what it is that I enjoy.
With ski hills so close, I thought I would try skiing again, but was not sure if it was something that I would still enjoy. Bradley is a skier and was enthusiastic about planning some trips. For Christmas he got us Sunshine Super Cards. The Card is $100 and grants you a free full-day lift ticket on the 1st, 4th, and 7th day that you ski and $15-$25 off every other day at Sunshine Village, Marmot Basin, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Castle Mountain Resort.
I have been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Jasper, Banff, and Lake Louise over the years and always look forward to my next trip. We went to Marmot for the first time in January and skied for two days. It was cold, -15 degrees Celsius, but aside from cold hands I picked skiing back up pretty quickly and we had a good time. Marmot is a good hill for testing out your abilities and interest again, the mountain offers a range of runs from easy and groomed to double black diamonds, including the new Tres Hombres face, that are steep and mogully. Jasper is a 30-minute drive from Marmot base and a charming, albeit expensive, little mountain town to stay in for a ski weekend.
WHERE TO STAY:
Jasper has around 10 hotels/motels in town that are similarly priced (usually starting approximately $150/night during ski season), and similarly equipped. These are typical no-fuss ski motels. They are clean and comfortable enough, but are a bit run down, and do not have many extra comforts. We have stayed at the Tonquin Inn http://decorehotels.com/tonquininn/ and Marmot Lodge https://mpljasper.com/. Both have pet friendly options. The other option is the Jasper Park Lodge (JPL) https://www.fairmont.com/jasper/. As with most Fairmont Hotels, JPL is a beautiful resort with all the amenities you need. However, it is expensive, starting at $300/night. When you are already spending so much on travel, food, lift tickets, gear, etc, and will be on the hill all day, it is hard to justify spending that amount of money on a place to sleep. If you want to splurge, this is the place to go.
WHERE TO EAT:
We like to pop into the Jasper Brewing Co – https://jasperbrewingco.ca/ when we get into town for a casual and reasonably priced late dinner and a pint of their locally brewed beer. I am a fan of their 6060 Stout and Fire Engine Red Ale. Although, I was slightly disappointed with my burger on this trip, it appeared to be some sort of pre-made/frozen burger patty and not homemade like last time. We always go to CoCo’s Café http://cocoscafe.ca/. This is our go-to place when we are driving through Jasper en route somewhere else and it is also where we like to go when we are staying in town for a good cup of coffee and a snack. CoCo’s is small and busy so can be slow.
Head to Evil Dave’s for an après ski dinner – https://evildavesgrill.com/. We had multiple appetizers; the Chinese lettuce wraps were delicious! Three of us had the beef tenderloin ordered medium rare. Two were cooked perfectly, one was overdone, but they were nice cuts of meat. We shared the dessert trio, a small sample of all three desserts, it was great way to try a bit of everything. The quality food is coupled with good service and a nice atmosphere. If you are looking for a more upscale place to have dinner I would recommend heading here.
We will definitely go back to Jasper to ski Marmot next year, but also hope to try out some other hills in the area. It is important to take time to do things you love with people you love and I am grateful that I am having these opportunities 🙂