Learning to escape on a snowboard in Jasper

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JASPER, AB - Every muscle tensed, all senses attuned, I lean into my turn, my snowboard carving the snow. Taking a snowboard lesson at Marmot Basin is pushing the limit of my ability as I cruise down the intermediate run Tranquilizer. Age, logic and a 10-year gap since my last snowboard attempt suggest to my mind that this is not something I should be capable of. And yet, it’s working — and it feels totally exhilarating!

I get asked all the time, is skiing or snowboarding easier? If you’d asked me before today I’d have said skiing, hands down. But at this moment the jury is out. After an hour of instruction I’m feeling at ease on the board and my nerves are gone. 

Snowboarder taking a lesson at Marmot Basin, Jasper, AB Canada
Photographer: Paul Lavoie
Progressing to the Eagle Express chair during a lesson at Marmot Basin.

 

What does the concept of “escape” conjure in your mind? For me it’s that feeling of being completely in the moment. No worries, no cares, no thoughts about what I’m going to be doing later. What I’m doing now is too important. 

It’s the feeling you get when you’re doing something challenging and new, surrounded by nothing but mountains, snow, forest and wide-open air. In the moment when it all comes together, there is simply nothing like it.

That is the ever-ready possibility that Jasper and Marmot Basin present. And the Escape Card is a way to double down on the opportunity. 

 


TOP 5 Reasons to get an Escape Card

  1. Half price adult lift tickets
  2. 20% off junior full day lift tickets
  3. Up to 20% off - rentals, lessons, merchandise, cafe
  4. Up to 30% off accommodations in Jasper/Hinton
  5. Up to 50% off full day all mountain lift tickets - 8 select areas in AB, BC, SK

 

Thinking back, I realized it’s been a while since I last got out of my comfort zone and took a real risk. Sure it can be scary, but that’s kind of the point. The tingle of fear and uncertainty, the intensity of physical effort, your neurons firing in all directions as your brain attempts to process massive new amounts of sensory information while also converting it into action — that is the feeling of being alive. 

It’s easy to make excuses. For me, it was always that I didn’t want to waste time and money flopping around on beginner runs on a snowboard, when I could be ripping up the expert terrain on my skis. I always equated that with the greatest possible escape I could experience, and that can be true. But equally as powerful, or more, is the experience of changing the routine and revisiting a familiar place with a completely different perspective.

Enjoying lunch on the upper deck at the main lodge at Marmot Basin, Jasper, AB, Canada
Photographer: Paul Lavoie
The Escape Card gets you discounts on rentals, lessons, merchandise and food.

 

Having an Escape Card means you don’t have to choose to spend one of your few precious mountain days on the bunny hill because at 50% off lift tickets, you have approximately twice as many days in your budget. Add in 20% off lessons, and progressing from bunny hill, to School House, to Eagle Express is both more affordable and entirely possible. After spending a day learning to snowboard again, I can now say this with confidence.

Get an escape card and push your limits!

At the end of a good session, it doesn’t hurt to get discounts on some food and drink either. Treating yourself to something out of the usual and not worrying about the dent in your budget is another form of escape that is well worth indulging.

Having toyed with the idea of learning to snowboard again for years, it simply hadn’t occurred to me how entrenched I had become by procrastinating. It’s often the shackles of our own binding that are hardest to break, and from which we most need to escape. Bottom line: we could all spend a little more time turning those “someday” items on our wishlist into “now” activities, couldn’t we?

Learning how to snowboard at Marmot Basin, Jasper, AB Canada
Photographer: Paul Lavoie
WHEN YOU GO
  • From Edmonton, Jasper is approximately 4 hours' drive (384km). Calgary to Jasper is 4 hours and 45 minutes (413km) up the majestic Icefields Parkway.
  • Marmot Basin has one of the longest ski seasons in Western Canada, typically running from mid-November until May.
  • Grab an Escape Card to pre-purchase lift tickets and save money.

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