Though the days are shorter during the winter months, there are still plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in Jasper National Park. Fewer people visit during the colder weather, which means that you can sometimes spend the entire day exploring without seeing another human. However, winter is also the only opportunity to experience some of the most unique activities Jasper has to offer.
The Maligne Canyon Ice Walk is a unique opportunity, offering guests the chance to walk through icy sculptures created by nature. On the floor of the deepest canyon of the park, guests can tread on a frozen landscape of ice fossils and frozen waterfalls that, during the summertime, is overflowing with the churning water of the Maligne River. Adventurous souls can try their hand at ice climbing; more cautious visitors can don anti-slip cleats for an ice-walking adventure through the frozen canyon.
As snow blankets the landscape, there are many opportunities for cold-weather sports. Downhill skiing and snowboarding is available at Marmot Basin, which has the highest base elevation of all Canadian ski areas. With spectacular views, a laid-back vibe and 1,675 acres, 86 runs and 3,000 vertical feet of varied terrain, Marmot Basin is the only ski resort located in Jasper National Park and a wonderful destination for beginner and advanced skiers alike.
Snowshoeing is becoming a popular winter pastime and the areas near Pyramid Bench and Maligne Lake offer excellent snowshoeing conditions. Cross-country skiing and touring is another widespread activity and Jasper National Park has options for shorter, gentler slopes as well as longer, more challenging loops. Overnight ski touring is available for experienced guests with options for backcountry day tours or multi-day tours with overnights spent in an Alpine Club hut.
If you’d rather be pulled along the snow, consider a dog-sledding tour, Canada’s oldest form of winter transport. Cozily ensconced on a sled behind a team of Alaskan huskies, you’ll not only be able to enjoy the view as a passenger, but will also learn to drive the team. Tours range from three to seven hours, depending on the route and type of tour.
There’s no more picturesque pastime than ice-skating on a frozen lake and there are many opportunities in Jasper National Park. From Pyramid Lake to Lac Beauvert, the winter months freeze the water into a smooth expanse. Ice conditions are not monitored; make sure that the ice is at least six inches thick before skating.
Though there are far fewer visitors in the winter months, the wildlife is still active. Winter tours are available for guests to spot mammals like moose, elk, bear, mountain sheep and wolves and large birds like loons, eagles and osprey.
Winter in Jasper National Park offers a whole new world for exploring, so bundle up and strike out into the great ‘white’ open.