Jasper
Marmot Basin

A local’s low-down on Jasper’s aprés ski culture

BOB COVEY

JASPER, ALTA. — You’re legs are throbbing, your skin is chapped and you’ve got a wicked case of toque-hair. Isn’t life in Jasper great?

The scene? No scene

Skiing, snowboarding or otherwise sliding on the snow is only part of the fun when you’re in the Rockies in the winter—after all that time spent playing outdoors, you’ve got to replenish your calories! 

Hitting the Downstream Bar with the pow crew after a day of quad quivering cruiser turns isn’t out of the ordinary for many Jasper shred heads, and not just because the menu items are named after some of them. 

“There’s no scene here, there’s no ego,” says Dan Arn, one of the locals with a Downstream burger named in his honour. “It’s a place to hang out and talk about the turns you made, or didn’t make.” 

Still throbbing from an unintentional snow somersault two days prior, Arn was proud to show off the contents of his beefy namesake.

“Bacon, mushrooms, cheddar...this isn’t the first time I’ve recovered with the help of one of these bad boys,” he laughed.

You’ll never look at soy the same

For myself, nothing cures a case of the aprés ski growlies like the Downstream’s Samba Sandwich. I’m no vegetarian and I’m hardly one for routine, but after downing this heavenly combo of marinated tofu, mushrooms, onions and secret samba sauce, I haven’t been able to bring myself to order anything else. That was three years ago.

The DS, as it’s known, was renovated in 2008, and new ownership brought an open-room concept and a pumping sound system to this mainstay of Jasper nightlife. Since the changes, the crowds have continued to pull up to the wood as the quality control is evident from the well-positioned TVs to well portioned sides of yam fries.

Off-piste pub crawl

After you’ve got your legs back under you, you might want to check out some of the other hotspots Jasper has on tap. The D’ed Dog is the place to be on Friday nights, and it’s another winner if you’re looking for good pub grub.

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Champs can definitely be worth the walk (or two-minute taxi) to the east end of Jasper; it’s in the Sawridge Hotel and is known for its monster chicken wings. 

The Whistle Stop is friendly on the wallet, the Athabasca Hotel is your Sunday Night destination and Pete’s Club can be counted on for raucous dance floor action. There’s also good things happening of late at the Jasper Legion, including a resurgence of live music which has been making for some healthy competition between venues.

From local hotspots to fine dining to sports bars to pubs, Jasper answers the individual call. If after a day at the hill you can make it around to each of the suggested watering holes, good on you, your ski legs are in-season. If not, you’re just going to have to come back another time. But now that’s not so bad, is it?

For more information on Jasper and Marmot Basin, visit www.jaspercanadianrockies.com.

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