When we arrived into Jasper, we’d originally had a whole day set aside to skiing in Marmot Basin. With the change of plans on the first day which saw us explore the amazing Pyramid island, lake and mountain area, before heading off to the Icefields Parkway instead of Maligne Canyon and hence moving Maligne Canyon to the following morning, we decided to cut the ski day down to half a day and do it in the afternoon after Maligne Canyon.
“We’ve just been skiing in France twice in the last couple of months…” I thought to myself, convincing myself that I would be fine with skiing here for just half a day.
Once we arrived at Marmot Basin and hit the slopes, I very quickly realised I’d totally underestimated what skiing in Marmot Basin would be like and instantly wished we had more time on the slopes.
First things first – how far is Marmot Basin from Jasper? It’s about 20 minutes by car. 10 of those minutes is spent actually getting to the base of the mountain (it’s that close) and then the extra 10 minutes are spent getting to the top of the mountain (it’s that high). Due to the extreme height of Marmot Basin, the skiing conditions here are some of the best in all of Canada. There’s usually fresh powder and when it falls it stays around for quite some time (no slush or ice like you might get in some warmer areas).
Then there’s the fact that due to its distance from cities like Calgary and Edmonton, Marmot Basin is never crowded which is absolutely fantastic for skier like myself who panic when faced with a crowd. I once pretty much skied right into a chairlift from trying to avoid another skier in France and the anxiety that comes with having to dodge other skiers is something I most certainly did not miss! Marmot Basin was absolutely perfect that way – you have enough skiers around you to create a fun atmosphere but not so many that you end up panicking the entire time and not having as much fun as you should.
The best part here is that Marmot Basin is suited for all ski levels, which for me, I always find that I need to start at a lower level when I go back skiing – to build my confidence up – before become more brazen and willing to try out new slopes.
Then, there’s this ski run called Old Road and it’s the smoothest most amazing ski run I’ve been on! It’s a very long run (so you don’t have to dash up and down the chair-lifts too often) and it’s sheer perfection. By the end of it, I had the ego of an Olympic style skier (alas, none of the talent but I’ll take the ego for now).
Lloyd had taken quite a tumble last time we were skiing in France and although he didn’t hurt himself, it was enough to shake his unusual brand of unwarranted confidence. I call it ‘unwarranted confidence’ as that’s exactly what it is – he was skiing within minutes of our first lesson and while he was good at it, I think a huge part of that was down to his confidence in his perceived ability, which I couldn’t get my head around at the time. It was also so frustrating for me (pleased as I was for him) as I always wanna beat Lloyd at any sports we do! 🙂
This is a random aside and I’m not even sure if this is specific to Marmot Basin (in fact, I’m pretty certain it isn’t) but I finally found a pair of ski boots that fit me perfectly here! See, I have ‘duck feet’ in that they’re very wide (not that they’re webbed!) and as a result, most boots I get pinch me so hard that I have to take them off just to rest my feet. I don’t think I’ve ever done a complete ski session (until Marmot Basin) where I didn’t have to take my boots off just to give my pinched feet a rest.
Needless to say, this made skiing here all the more fun and when I left, I genuinely asked if I could buy the boots off them (*you can usually do that in most places in Europe) but alas, they weren’t for sale. I’ve made a note of them though and plan on buying some next time we go skiing.
Anyway, ski boots digression aside, Marmot Basin was epic, fun, brilliant, the absolute best… you get my drift! I was so disappointed when we had to leave but so pleased we got to experience these fantastic Canadian slopes.
Back in town, I popped down to the pool and jacuzzi for an hour, leaving Lloyd to deal with emails and some calls before we headed off for something of an early dinner.
*Apologies for the messy room, we’d pretty much just checked everything everywhere with our busy day so far. At least the beds are tidy! 😀
Dinner was at Jasper Brewing… and as part of that, we got to try out some of the beers and ales from the micro brewery, as well as getting a sneak peek into the operations! 🙂 By the way, my favourite here is ‘Jasper the bear’ you’ve got to try it when you get here! It’s a honey beer with a touch of coriander and is the absolute bees knees bear’s paws!
For dinner, I finally got try that most famous of Canadian dishes – poutine! French fries, cheese curds and gravy. It was so good here (though I think I was always gonna like it as we had something similar back in my Uni day – chips and cheese, sometimes with gravy sometimes with just gravy and no cheese). That was just my starter by the way (don’t judge – I did share it with Lloyd).
For mains, I went for lamb and mashed potatoes – a solid fave of mine while Lloyd went for a chicken burger and chips.
Dessert came in the form of crème brulee for me (no surprises there – I remember now, I was the first to choose, the menu was too easy for me – I knew exactly what I wanted here). Lloyd went for ice cream while our friends shared an apple and berry crumble between themselves (topped with ice cream).
We drank and laugh till much later into the night than we’d originally planned and we stumbled back to the Crimson, filled with so much appreciation for the beauty that is Jasper!