Jasper ski resort
There's an air of unspoilt charm about Jasper and its local ski area, Marmot Basin, with its fabulous skiing and stunning mountain vistas. Many visitors will have arrived via the spectacular Icefields Parkway road through protected national parks from Calgary, one of the most scenically beautiful drives on earth; and this great ski area and the town of Jasper is certainly the icing on the cake.
Marmot Basin itself is an excellent mid-sized ski area that has grown organically over the past 50 years, gradually upgrading lifts and expanding its terrain. The area is famed for its open powder slopes that are suited to all ability levels, and also for 'elbow room' – being one of the most uncrowded ski areas on the planet.
Guests stay in or near the atmospheric town of Jasper, 20 minutes away. As well as a good range of shopping and dining, it has the same strong community spirit evident on the slopes that differentiates the area from many of the more corporate resorts of North America.
Jasper National Park, at 11,000 sq km (4,250 sq miles), is the largest of the parks in the UNESCO Canadian Rockies World Heritage Site.
Marmot Basin is located in the Canadian Rockies of western Alberta. The ski area is surrounded by spectacular, mountain scenery within Jasper National Park; and is 19km (12 miles) south of Jasper.
JasperResort Elevation: 1062m
Top Elevation: 2612m
Base Elevation: 1698m
On the slopes
Marmot Basin's northerly latitude and the highest base elevation of any major Canadian ski area means the snow falls earlier and lasts longer, with the area claiming one of the longest ski seasons in the country – from mid- November through to early May each year.
Marmot Basin's terrain extends over four mountain faces and has a reputation for its less-crowded slopes, allowing visitors to spend more time skiing and less time queuing to ride back up.
Ongoing investment in increasing the number of high-speed lifts means skiers don't spend long on the lifts either; although with spectacular scenery all around it pays to stop and take it all in at least once in a while.
All ability levels are catered for with a run to suit each off every lift, meaning different ability groups can ride the same lifts then ski down separate trails and meet at the bottom.
A third of the terrain is graded intermediate, with runs up to 5.6km (3.5 miles) in length, whilst experts have 40% of the mountain to call their own, with lots of double black diamond terrain in the Eagle East area accessed by the Eagle Ridge quad chairlift. The dry Canadian Rocky Mountain powder beckons advanced skiers and snowboarders to try the high alpine bowls, steep chutes and gladed tree runs.
For freestylers, the Rogers Terrain Park and Mini Rail Park are both located in the lower area of the mountain.
Marmot Basin's main ski services, including rentals, ski school, nursery and a ski shop, can be found in the Caribou Chalet complex at the base of the slopes.