Feb. 4, 2016
By Afton Aikens & John Strugnell
Jasper National Park with its vast wilderness is a winter enthusiast’s paradise.
1. Explore by Snowshoe
Five Jasper trails are newly designated for snowshoeing and fat tire biking. “Snowshoeing is an affordable sport that allows trail users of all abilities to connect to the park,” says Joseph Zebrowski of Parks Canada. Find maps at the Information Centre; rental shops and tours are listed in our activities directory.
2. Overnight Dog Sled Tour
Cold Fire Creek Dogsledding offers excursions as short as an hour. But for a unique overnight experience, book the 36-km Our Little Bit of Heaven tour, suggests Cold Fire owner Amanda Sinclair. Travel by dog sled up BC’s Robson Valley to a cozy log cabin, where you can snowshoe to frozen falls, relax in the wood-fuelled sauna, and enjoy good food and cheer by the fireplace. The next morning, help load the sleds and harness your team before heading out.
3. Majestic Highway
The Icefields Parkway, the scenic highway from Jasper to Lake Louise, turned 75 in 2015. Called the ‘Wonder Trail’ and ‘Glacier Trail’ by early explorers, the then-unpaved route took weeks to travel by packhorse. The road was built from 1931 to 1940; it now provides easy access to Marmot Basin ski area, cross-country ski trails, and frozen Athabasca, Sunwapta and Tangle waterfalls before rising to the renowned majesty of the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier, just over an hour drive south of town.
4. Family Fun at Jasper Park Lodge
After it snows, the golf course driving range at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge transforms into a toboggan park. Ice more your speed? Try curling on Lac Beauvert in front of the hotel, or skating on the huge oval or hockey rinks at nearby Mildred Lake. Rent a toboggan, tube, sled, snowshoes or skates at the Golf Course Clubhouse.
5. Climb Frozen Falls
Rockaboo Mountain Adventures’ Maligne Canyon ice climbing tours suit all skill levels since routes range from easy to advanced. “We’ve had clients seven to 70; if you can climb a ladder you’ll be fine,” says owner/guide Max Darrah. Transport and gear are provided. “Just bring warm clothes,” Darrah suggests.
6. Ice Walk Under the Stars
On evening ice walks at Maligne Canyon, ice formations glisten in the moonlight. “Guides use spotlights to illuminate frozen waterfalls up to 30 m tall. Nothing compares to turning off the headlamps at viewpoints along the trail, and taking in the stars in Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve,” says Maligne Adventures’ Craig McCarthy.
See more Jasper activities listings.
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