Marmot Basin Ski Instructors Reveal Their Jasper Faves
Looking for space to shred? Head to Jasper with friends, for world-class powder skiing, no lineups, open spaces, and delicious après in a charming little boho town.#SkiNorthAB #MyJasper
When you’ve grown up skiing on the notoriously busy slopes of France and Switzerland – where lift line waits can be more than 30 minutes long – a winter experience at Marmot Basin, in Jasper, AB, might cause you to wonder: Where has this crowd-less kind of winter fun been all my life? For this and many other reasons, Myrth Grit says: “I absolutely love it here!”
With Marmot Basin opening on Thursday November 10 for the 2022-23 season, another great season of skiing lies ahead. Between late October and early November the hill was pounded by one storm after another, a total of over 130cm of snow, that has set up a strong early base.
So what better time to get the inside track from a couple of friends who know their way around the mountain? Meet Myrth Grit and Josh Peck.
Grit, who grew up in the Netherlands, moved to the town of Jasper, a 20-minute drive or shuttle bus ride to the hill, in 2021. Her lifelong skiing experience meant she had the chops to work as an instructor, a dream job. Between the job, the laid-back, friendly town vibe, and the ski hill, it’s reason enough for her to consider moving to Canada permanently.
This pronouncement wouldn’t surprise Calgarians and Bow Valley skiers, who know they are spoiled for choice when it comes to Rocky Mountain skiing. Yet, the five-hour road trip from Calgary to Marmot Basin delivers visitors with unspoiled acres of space to glide their skis and boards over 91 unpopulated runs.
Add to that a funky little nearby town, with a local craft brewery and a rocking après bar and restaurant scene that is rarely overrun with people, and you’ve got a perfect ski holiday destination in Jasper National Park.
That's especially true come spring, as Jasper's high elevation and northern Rockies location afford it one of the longest seasons in Western Canada.
Grit became instantly infatuated with the dual appeal of the lively town and the ski resort, which boasts the highest base elevation in the Canadian Rockies. “It’s like the little ski towns you see in the movies – and you get to know everyone.”
That small-town vibe echoes on up to the hill. It offers 360 views of spectacular mountain scenery on five mountain faces and more than 1,700 acres of skiable terrain, with enough variety to keep all levels of skiers hooting and hollering in delight for days.
Grit’s co-worker and friend Josh Peck, whom she met while working at Marmot, is equally smitten with Jasper and Marmot. Peck, from the south of England, also grew up skiing in France and Switzerland. He came back to Marmot, though to work at the hill for a second time. He says he’s here for the epic skiing.
For expert skiers, like these two, Marmot Basin offers plenty of challenge. Grit singles out two of her favourite places: the adrenaline pumping alpine chutes and bowls of Tres Hombres and Eagle East.
Grit gushes about the plentiful powder days and the epic fall lines. “It’s as off piste as you can get here. You have to get used to (the powder) and now when I see it’s snowing, I say, ‘Yes!’ ”.
Thrill-seeking skiers addicted to adrenaline rushes have ample terrain to explore. In the last two years, Marmot has added even more advanced terrain with the mid-season opening of the lower half of the Marmot saddle between Marmot 1 and Marmot 3.
But there are loads of groomed and non-groomed green and blue runs for intermediate and newer skiers and boarders, too. Each are easily accessed by the Paradise and Caribou chairs and the Canadian Rockies Express, the longest quad chairlift in the Canadian Rockies.
Need a lesson to up your ski game or a refresher after a season or two away from skiing? Marmot’s ski school offers rentals and group and one-on-one lessons from experienced ski instructors like Peck and Grit.
When you’re ready to kick off your ski boots, Marmot’s slope-side chalet offers a number of places to grab a gourmet burger or salad bowl and beverages, which on sunny days can be served up on a patio perfect for snapping Instagram pics of jaw-dropping mountain views.
Back in town after a day playing in the snow, you won’t have trouble finding food and drink or hotel accommodations for a night or several. Jasper’s main drag is easily walkable, with pubs, cafes and restaurants for every budget. The De’d Dog has become the go-to for Peck and Grit, who unwind after a day on the slopes playing pool over a couple of beverages.
“It’s so easy to meet people here,” says Grit. Evenings often end with an invitation to a bonfire, swapping stories and looking forward to the next epic day at Marmot.
World-class powder skiing, no lineups, open spaces, and delicious après in a charming little boho town, Marmot and Jasper deliver rich rewards and enduring memories for visitors, whether they venture from Calgary – or the Netherlands.
WHEN YOU GO
Jasper is a four-hour drive from Edmonton, or five from Calgary up the Icefield Parkway.
Grab an Escape Card for discounts all season long on lift passes, accommodations, food and more.
Visit Tourism Jasper's website for more winter activities and inspiration to help plan your trip.