Weekend Guide to Visiting Jasper in January: Ice Skating and Saunas!

If you're looking for the perfect winter destination - somewhere that's breathtakingly beautiful, safe, lots of fun and doesn't have to be expensive, look no further - you've found Jasper, Canada. We visited Edmonton and Jasper in January and couldn't believe that they're considered 'summer destinations' they are SO incredible in winter, let me tell you why you must visit Jasper in winter! Jasper National Park - the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies - a whopping 11,000 square kilometres of untamed wildness.

Weekend Guide To Visiting Jasper in Winter

We think that Jasper is the perfect place for a winter weekend getaway - it's one of the most stunning places we've ever been to and, thanks to the fact that it is traditionally a summer destination, there aren't too many visitors there during winter, you can enjoy your winter wonderland practically by yourself. We spent four beautiful days there to create the perfect weekend guide for you, and this is what we came up with :)

Friday: Arrival

Chances are you'll be coming to Jasper from Edmonton like we were. Whilst this isn't the longest journey in the world (four hour's drive) it's still tiring, no matter if you drive or take the bus. To find out more about Edmonton, check out our post 17 Things To Do In Edmonton. We recommend rest and relaxation when you arrive, and luckily there's no better place to do that than at Pyramid Lake Resort where we stayed and think you should too.

Pyramid Lake Resort has everything you expect from a nice hotel: comfy beds, organic toiletries and a massive TV. But where Pyramid Lake Resort really shines is with its location:

Pyramid Lake Resort is the only resort in Jasper with exclusive access to the tranquil Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake Resort is named after Pyramid Lake, which is named after Pyramid Mountain, which was named after the Pyramids in Egypt :)

The Resort is right on top of Pyramid Lake, you couldn't get a more beautiful location. It is essential that you have a car whilst staying at here, because it is kind of isolated and there's no bus (taxis do go up there though). But there is plenty to do at Pyramid Lake Resort to keep you entertained like:

Chilling in the hot tub

Is there anything better than sitting in a warm hot tub whilst looking out at the beautiful snow? No.

Or the sauna

Pyramid Lake Resort also has an awesome sauna right next to the jacuzzi.

Utilise the Pyramid Lake: Go Ice Skating!

You can rent ice skates from Pyramid Lake Resort and go ice skating on the lake! Find out more in this vlog:

Spot wildlife! Winter Wildlife and Nature in Jasper

We saw our first ever coyote here! We were so excited and told every Canadian we met - who weren't impressed at all (coyotes are really common). And much more! You won't get bored at Pyramid Lake Resort.

The nature and wildlife in Jasper is out of this world! Especially in winter! Gigantic snow topped mountains; rivers, waterfalls and lakes turned into sparkling ice - everyday there is a winter wonderland. And the nature! We spent a short weekend in Jasper and saw coyotes and wolves. It was so exciting and they're so beautiful - yet another thing we love about Canadians is their healthy respect and love of wildlife. And you'll have a perfect night's sleep here ready for the next day.

Saturday: Skiing in Marmot Basin

Like I said before, Jasper is traditionally a summer destination. We have no idea why - it's perfect for skiing! We tried out skiing for the first time ever in Jasper and loved it. We loved it straight away just for the views, but it turns out that the Marmot Basin Ski Resort is the perfect place to learn how to ski - they have such great teachers! It's not just great for newbies though, they have plenty of black ski runs for advanced skiers too. Also it's great for snowboarders!

It's a good time to point out that you will.need.travel insurance - we were fine when we went skiing, but our friend went the other day in Italy and fractured her knee! Note, a shocking number of travel insurance policies don't cover skiing because it's 'dangerous', find out here if you need extra travel insurance.

Because Jasper is traditionally a summer location, we had the slopes almost all to ourselves! There were a couple of tourists but most of the people on the slopes were locals. We didn't have to queue for anything, it was awesome! When you're not on the track they have great facilities to hang out in: there's a cafe, a restaurant, a hang out space with lockers. And my god, the food at the restaurant was incredible:

We had a delicious burger and chips there - it's one of the only times I've had chips outside of the UK that were actually good - yey! You can find out more about skiing at Marmot Basin in one of our daily vlogs:

Marmot Basin is by far one of the most beautiful places we've been across the globe - magnificent snowy mountains, beautiful sunrises, gorgeous wildlife, they have it all. But it doesn't just stop there, compliment the beauty with a fun winter sport: skiing. Marmot Basin is perfect for skiing no matter what level you are - they have novice, intermediate, advanced and expert slopes and all in that awe-inspiring environment.

We skied for the first time ever in Marmot Basin and can only recommend it. As Jasper is still (weirdly) considered a summer destination, the slopes were far from packed - in fact, we didn't have to queue for the lifts or the slopes once! Our instructor was really kind and helpful to me (I'm a gigantic wuss when it comes to winter sports, but by the end he not only taught me to ski, but actually showed me how to enjoy it too :) He was also really encouraging and complimentary to Tanbay - it was Tanbay's first time too, but as a great snowboarder, he picked it up really quickly.

Jasper (and Edmonton) aren't just about skiing, in fact when it comes to winter sports they really have it all: snow shoeing, ice walks, snowboarding and even fat biking - bikes with tyres so thick you can cycle on snow and ice. From the weedy to the super-fit, Jasper will have a winter sport that can cater for you that's both exciting and corporates that unbeatable winter nature. Marmot Basin also has the most incredible food - super important after an afternoon of skiing! But great food, excellent variety of slope levels and nice teachers aside, the views at Marmot Basin are unforgettable. [Further reading: don't just stop at winter, there are plenty of things to do in Jasper in Autumn, too!]

Sunday: Canyon Ice Walk

You can't go to Jasper in January and not go on an ice walk through the Maligne Canyon.

The Maligne Canyon is an ancient, natural canyon. In the summer the river runs through it and you can go kayaking there. In the winter the river freezes over!

We went along on an ice walk with Maligne Adventures - we strapped ice cleats onto our warm winter boots:

and walked through the Maligne Canyon on top of the frozen Maligne River. This felt crazy! The ice was super thick though and we saw so many beautiful frozen waterfalls. It really was like something out of a dream.

And Jasper, where you can hike through ancient, natural canyons on frozen rivers, passing ice waterfalls and feeling like you're in a magical dream. Put simply, hiking in Jasper is an absolute must!

What to Pack For Canada in Winter

Packing for winter in Canada is kind of hard to do - what should you take? This post What To Pack For Winter In Canada has you covered (literally) with a list of everything to pack - from clothes to gadgets.

Wrap Up: Weekend Guide To Visiting Jasper in Winter

So there you have it - a weekend guide to visiting Jasper in January, with everything you need from rest and relaxation at Pyramid Lake Resort, to thrilling skiing at Marmot Basin, to breathtaking beauty on the Maligne Canyon walk.

Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels were invited as guests of Tourism Jasper but as usual all opinions are our own. We would never recommend something we haven't personally tried and loved, because that wouldn't be cool and we want to be cool.

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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