Winter at Marmot Basin
Spend a day swooshing through the powder at Marmot Basin on skis or a snowboard. With over 3,000 vertical feet of terrain and 84 trails, Marmot Basin fulfills every skier or snowboarder’s dream. Start your day by taking a lesson to perfect your downhill skills and then explore the 1,675 acres of slopes and runs. Take time to stop for lunch or snack at the Caribou Chalet or Charlie’s Lounge at Marmot’s Mid-mountain. On a clear day you can take in the view and see the mountain ranges that line the Icefield’s Parkway and town site of Jasper. For convenience The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge also offers a shuttle to and from Marmot Basin.
Maligne Valley & Boat Cruise
Discover the history, geology and beauty of the Maligne valley. There are many “must see” attractions along the way. The top three are certainly Maligne Canyon, Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake. Throughout your drive up the Maligne Valley Road be sure to have your camera ready. This area is rich with wildlife and scenery.
Start your trip up the valley by stopping off at Maligne Canyon. 10,000 years of erosion have created a 165-foot deep gorge, which is the deepest in Jasper National Park. Set off on a short walk through a series of bridges to marvel at the Maligne River as it winds its way through this fascinating canyon in a series of waterfalls.
Further up the Maligne Valley road take a few moments to check out the “disappearing” Medicine Lake. From Medicine Lake, the Maligne River flows underground through caves for 30km and into Maligne Canyon and Lac Beauvert. This natural underground drainage system is believed to be the largest in Canada.
At the end of Maligne Valley road you will find Maligne Lake, the second largest glacially fed lake in the world. At the lake you can rent a canoe, go fishing, hike in the alpine meadows or take a boat cruise to the world-famous Spirit Island. Appropriately named because it truly catches the essence and spirit on the Canadian Rockies.
Back at the Maligne Lake Chalet, enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the spectacular views. Here you will also find the perfect souvenir to remember your extraordinary day.
Columbia Ice Fields
Journey down the Icefields Parkway and take advantage of one of the most scenic drives in the world. Within an hours drive you will reach the Columbia Ice Field, the largest sub-polar body of ice in North America. Discovered in 1898, the Columbia Ice Field is a massive sea of moving ice that covers an area of nearly 325 square kilometres. With an annual snowfall of 23 feet, it feeds eight major glaciers including the Athabasca, Dome, and Stutfield Glaciers, all visible from the Icefields Parkway. Melt waters from the Icefield flow into the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
Take a tour onto the icy slopes of the Athabasca Glacier with Brewster’s Ice Age Adventure. Here you will ride in a specially designed Brewster Ice Explorer to the middle of the glacier. Your driver and guide will explain how the glaciers were formed and also point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort inside the vehicle. You will have the option of stepping out onto glacier ice, which was formed from snow falling as long as 400 years ago. Tip: Bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the glacier. The freshest, purest water in the world drains from the Columbia Icefield.
Back at the Columbia Icefields Centre check out the interpretive centre, dining room and gift shop.
On your way back to Jasper be sure to stop along the way to check out these must see attractions:
From its rather tame origin at the Athabasca Glacier, the Sunwapta River abruptly changes course at the falls, going from northwest to southwest before plunging 75 feet into a deep gorge, and eventually flowing into the Athabasca River. Sunwapta Resort is rumored to have its own ghost – an elderly phantom hitchhiker.
You won’t want to miss the full force of the Athabasca River thundering 70 feet over a quartzite cliff. Enjoy a series of trails, platforms and footbridges to view this roaring spectacle.
White Water Rafting
White Water Rafting with Rocky Mountain River Guides on the Sunwapta River. By far our most popular trip and definitely the best whitewater in Jasper, the Sunwapta lives up to it's Stony Indian name of "turbulent water". The Sunwapta river emerges from the Columbia Icefields and we raft very close to the headwaters of this silt-laden river. This half day round trip offers an exciting combination of fast rapids, incredible scenery and abundant wildlife. There are no age restrictions, however minors must weigh a minimum of 40 kilos (90lbs). Rocky Mountain River Guides focuses on customer satisfaction we excel at providing the ultimate experience from pick up to drop off, guest experience is paramount.
Rocky Mountain River Guides: www.jasperrafting.com
Jasper Rafting Adventures: www.jasperraftingadventures.com
Whitewater Rafting: www.whitewaterraftingjasper.com