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Jasper is All-Out Celebrating this Winter Season and Families are Invited to Join In and Experience the Magic!

November 1st, 2013

It’s that time of year again, we’re bundling up our families in the winter warmers and trying to fully-adjust to those long dark evenings and chilly winter temperatures.  The festive period always brings cozy Christmas cheer into our homes and lots of opportunity to keep those little faces smiling.  Then, after the bells chime in the New Year, before we know it’s the start of a new school term and the daunting feeling that there is a long, bitter winter ahead.

This year, Jasper is brushing off our winter blues and welcoming families to rekindle the joy of spending winter days all together, having fun and making memories in the fresh outdoors.  Throughout the winter season, Jasper is hosting an array of family events as it marks a long-list of Jasper anniversaries and milestones.

For generations, Edmontonians have had a special bond with Jasper National Park.  We all probably remember our own parents taking us for those weekend trips to Jasper, where we smiled next to Jasper the Bear for a family photo, browsed Patricia Street as we enjoyed delicious, multi-coloured ice-cream, let afternoons slip away hanging beside the many lakes and ventured into the clouds on the Jasper Tramway.

Making the most of winter with our families can be easy, we’re lucky to have 11.228 kilometers of pristine National Park wilderness as our very own backyard.  Taking the three and a half journey from the City, along Highway 16 and the family is suddenly transported into snowy scenes of a true Rockies’ winter wonderland – a postcard-perfect backdrop for those winter weekends.

So, why hibernate inside this winter?  Why not rediscover those winter days in the crisp mountain-air open spaces followed by cuddly winter nights by the fireplace – with hot chocolates and toasted marshmallows all round?!  Jasper is just waiting to be explored by outdoor-lovers of all ages, there’s always a different experience, snowshoeing trail or backcountry ski loop to try.  Its shimmering glaciers, abundant wildlife, natural open lakes, deep canyons, evergreen forests and towering, rugged mountain peaks make for days of family adventure.

Winter days in Jasper can be filled with hours of skating around the many lakes effortlessly accessible from the town.  Kids are sure to love hitting the ice on the iconic Lake Mildred close to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.  Or, why not hire snowshoes for the whole family?  Take off with your little ones for an easy trail, perhaps by the Athabasca River to take in the stunning scenery and snow-covered mountains.

A great place to start if it has been a while since you last visited Jasper, or haven’t yet experienced the friendly mountain town during the winter months, is the Jasper in January Festival.  The Festival offers a huge bundle of signature events, family pastimes and winter activities and takes place in and around Jasper from January 17th – February 2nd

This year, the Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary and will bring back many of its family-favourite events, such as Winterstruck, the family Fun Ski Race, the vibrant Street Party, the Walk of Lights and the ever-popular Firework Show.

Winterstruck is a real highlight – picture a fun-filled day at pretty Pyramid Lake where the whole family can enjoy complimentary dogsledding rides, ice-skating, can learn fire-starting skills from Parks Canada experts, play winter bocce and so much more.

To keep those little skiers and snowboarders happy, why not participate in Marmot Basin’s 50th season celebrations?  Take the whole family to Marmot Basin and take in some quality family time on the slopes.  The annual Family Fun Ski Race takes place also takes place as part of the Jasper in January Festival and is guaranteed to get the whole gang excited as they ski to the finish line!

Young beginners can get their ski legs at one of the ‘Marmot Kids Camp’ sessions.   Full day lessons run from 10am – 3:30pm and include lunch with the instructor, meaning Mom and Dad can relax and enjoy a day’s skiing or simply relaxing with a hot drink in the Chalet.   For younger kiddies, the Little Rascals Nursery accepts children from 19 months to 6 years – and remember, ‘Marmot Mites’ (Children 5 years and younger) can ski for free.

A perfect family winter experience that cannot be missed, and brand new in Jasper for the 2014 season, is the traditional Dickensian, horse-drawn sleigh rides.  Wrap up warm, get comfortable in the sleigh and take in the magic of a peaceful, picture-perfect Pyramid Lake in the heart of winter.    

Plus, if you’re keen to tick off ‘the must-do’ winter activity in Jasper, then you should head to Maligne Canyon Ice Walk and venture through the majestic icy walkways – this completely family-friendly tour is a ‘Signature Experience’ in Jasper and guaranteed to leave an impression on the whole family.

For weekend getaways and family trips, an overnight stay in one of Jasper’s hotels or lodges completes the mountain experience.  From rustic cabin Suites, luxury lodges, full-service hotels to winter campgrounds, Jasper has something for all tastes, ages and budgets. Make this winter count and play outdoors in Jasper!

Parents' Jasper Packing List:

·         A camera – to capture all of those special shots and family memories (tag any of your family images on social media with #MyJasper to add them to Jasper’s digital collection!).

·         Layers of warm clothing for active days of exploration in and around the Park.

·         No need to worry about bringing skates, skis or helmets – all equipment can be rented from a selection of retailers in Jasper.

·         A Visitor Guide & local map, which can be easily collected from Jasper’s Visitor Information Centre and many local hotels and B&Bs.

·         A sense of fun and adventure!

Info for Parents:

·         Be sure to book any accommodation before you arrive, weekends in Jasper can be particularly busy for hotels and cabins so planning ahead is best.

·         See Jasper.Travel to plan all those extra adventures in the winter mountains – to book accommodation, tours and experiences.

·         Keep checking to choose from the long list of birthday celebrations and family events.

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