An opening to end all openings: Marmot Basin


An opening to end all openings: Marmot Basin

Marmot Basin opens Nov 12 with great conditions, euphoric skiers

- Jeremy Derksen, "in the field" at MarmotBasin, Jasper AB


There simply might never be an opening day as anticipated as opening day 2021 at Alberta ski resorts. Heavy snowfall, high social tensions and the longest offseason we’ve ever experienced all conspired to make this November 12 especially euphoric at Marmot Basin. 

Okay, those were TV tears I shed, but the sentiment was real. It seems a lot of people caught the excitement, with a good showing of locals and Edmontonians at the hill. 

There were some families up with the Edmonton Ski Club for pre-season training over the November break, as well as just avid skiers and boarders, including tailgaters. 

But as I’ve been writing and generally talking up for years, Marmot Basin is one of those ski resorts that never seems to get crowded the way some others do. So if you’re looking for the crowds you may want to head somewhere else. But if you like room to move around and a laidback, friendly atmosphere, I have a mountain for you.


2 top of eagle Marmot Basin Jeremy Derksen SnowSeekers
Jeremy Derksen

View from the top of the Eagle Ridge quad chair

And here’s the scoop on conditions, straight up: another thing the regulars know is that 50cm at Marmot skis closer to 80cm just about anywhere else. Low brush and good off-season clearing allow Marmot to open up a lot of terrain at lower accumulations - which on Thursday included nine runs descending from Eagle Express down to the base. Mostly greens, yes, but enough to open it up and have some fun.

And furthermore… STOP THE PRESSES… this just in: the Paradise is reportedly opening this coming Saturday, Nov 14.

It’s still the early season of course, but groomers and main runs are well packed and pretty much free of snags. We even managed a few playful runs in the lower glades, although I don’t usually recommend it in the first few weeks of the season (because of uncovered hazards and variable conditions), so ski at your own risk.

Tree skiing Marmot Basin SnowSeekers Jeremy Derksen
Jeremy Derksen

Early season at Marmot Basin included some tree skiing.

You don’t need me to tell you about how it’s “uncertain times” and we are “all in this together” but what you may need to be reminded is that being together on a ski hill is one of the best ways you can be together in the winter while keeping warm and keeping safe distance.

Find out all about Marmot’s safety precautions here.

Plundering the tree stashes and hucking the kickers, harmonizing on the chairlift rumble (chairs 7 and 11 on the Eagle, wink wink) and having laughs with my cohort on the hills, for me, is about as good as it gets. 

Marmot Basin view from the top Jeremy Derksen SnowSeekers
Jeremy Derksen

The view from Marmot Basin can make you stop in your tracks.

When you go

  • Basecamp it: For a strategic Marmot Basin hit, the Best Western Plus in Hinton offers great striking range (think: shorter evening drive on a last-minute departure). Rooms are spacious for laying out all that gear at the end of the day, and fully stocked kitchenettes make impromptu meals a breeze. 
  • Folding Mountain Brewery: Tucked into the side of Folding Mountain on the edge of the park, the brewery has a taproom and a kitchen with flavour to spare. Tip: you can mix and match your 4-packs at the brewery (for those who like variety)
  • Marmot Basin, joins Jasper, Hinton, Grande Prairie and a collection of the destinations across Alberta’s North for #SkiNorthAB.  Inviting you to come up for a visit or re-discocver the wide open spaces with so many smiling faces.
Marmot Basin