Winter Destination: Jasper, Alberta

It’s obvious that you’d go to Jasper in the winter because of the skiing, but, what if you’re not a skier? Or an outdoors person, or, what if you don’t like winter? Believe it or not, Jasper, is perfect for people like that, too.

First of all, the area is beautiful, so even if you’re not in to that sporty stuff, the scenery in and around this mountain park will take your breath away. Pack your camera, take extra batteries and get ready to blow up Instagram.  You’ll be snapping photos before you even get to the townsite.

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Take a hike — even in winter, yes. In fact, the Maligne Canyon Icewalk is incredible, but go with a guide because it can also be dangerous. Chris, from, Maligne Adventures guided us on a two and a half hour hike through Maligne Canyon all the while educating us on trees, wildlife, water, ice, rock formations, and mountains. He also guided us over tricky crossings and kept us safe from soft spots in the ice.

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Go skiing — even if it’s been a few years, or a few decades. You can arrange for private instruction to get you on your feet and up the hill.  My instructor, Dave Campbell, worked a miracle in keeping me upright (and alive!) and even got me to the top of the hill and down a blue run. That’s a testament to him, not me.

If you’re looking to take your ski experience to another level, Marmot Basin offers the Mid-Mountain’s Eagle Chalet dinner experience.  Dinner is served at the Chalet at 5 p.m. and finishes around 7.  You then strap your skis back on and are escorted down the mountain by the ski patrol.

Eagle Chalet

Jasper is a year round destination, but for 17 days in January, you can take part in the Jasper in January event: Fat biking, snowshoeing, brewery tours, live music, Food-A-Palooza, dogsledding, Dark Sky stories, pond hockey, fireworks, the list goes on. Check the website for details, but don’t wait for January 2018. Go now. Go anytime.

Eat and drink.  Jasper has a few hidden gems that shouldn’t be missed; Coco’s Café is one of them. Coco’s specializes in vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food, but take it from an omnivore like me: this is some of the best comfort food in town.

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Chai Tea Latté and a pumpkin blueberry muffin.
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Lemon, chicken, quinoa soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

We struggled with some items on the menu at the Jasper Brewing Company, but my sweet tooth craving was totally satisfied with their malted wort beignets and the full-bodied stout satisfied my beer craving. All that physical stuff made me very thirsty.

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Maple wort beignets with Frangelico hazelnut whipped cream.

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Evil Daves offers an interesting baked Brie with one of the wildest sauce designs I’ve come across in ages. It reminds me of a wallpaper pattern from the 70s.

Almond and panko crusted deep fried brie.
Almond and panko-crusted, deep-fried brie with chilled pear purée, red currant jelly, and balsamic reduction.

Of course, no trip to Jasper is complete without a stop at the beautiful, historic Jasper Park Lodge—and no trip to the JPL is complete without a stop at the lounge for a Smoked Maple Old Fashioned.

JPL O Fashioned

So, if you don’t ski? No problem.  Jasper’s beauty and laid back vibe is balm for a weary soul, and yet, there’s plenty of things to keep you occupied if you’re looking for adventure.

Want more info on this Alberta playground? Read my Matador Network article on Edmonton and Jasper here and check out Jasper Travel to help plan your itinerary.

My thanks to Tourism Jasper for hosting me for four wonderful days. I’m already looking forward to a return visit.