Resort Review: The Locals Hill Marmot Basin
The beautiful town of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies is home to Marmot Basin, a charming ski resort which retains a local feel. It is fair to say that Monday to Friday you can feel like you have this resort to yourself, and even on the weekends lift cues are rarely seen.
Marmot is a resort that has invested in some great on mountain facilities. Although you wont find the numerous on mountain restaurants associated with european resorts, what you will find is a great base lodge and another at mid-mountain. Food is available for purchase but there is also space to eat your packed lunch if this is what you prefer. The base lodge is also home to a rental and repair shop, as well as the Outer Limits Retail shop that carries all the necessities you may have forgotten, especially those hand warmers!
Set in the middle of the Jasper National Park, Marmot Basin has incredible surrounding views, especially visible from the hike to the peak above the Knob chair, or from the top of the Canadian Rockies Express Chair. Driving to and from Marmot Basin is a reason to visit the resort in itself. The drive offers incredible panoramas and the scenery will blow you away as you wind your way along the Icefields parkway.
Marmot is a medium sized ski area with its Peak at 2612m and the base at 1698m, which is the highest base elevation for any Canadian ski resort. The ski area covers 1720acres and has 91 named runs of varying abilities (30% Novice, 30% Intermediate, 20% Advanced, 20% Expert) and really is a resort for all. With beginner and advanced runs from the top of the Canadian Rockies Express Chair all the way to the base. The longest run at Marmot is 5.6km which gives you an opportunity to get those legs warmed up! In total there are 7 lifts at Marmot of which three are high speed quads. In addition to a variety of groomers, moguls, tree lines, and open bowls Marmot has two terrain parks, including features for first timers up to the big XL jumps.
What we love about Marmot…
One of the major advantages of skiing at Marmot is the long 6 month season. Open in November through to May Marmot averages 4 metres of dry powder snow. That might seem quite low, but its higher elevation and cold spells keep the snow in good condition and with a lack of crowds, freshies can be found for days after a dump. The longer season also lends itself to some great spring skiing which means the later season can very much be t-shirt weather.
What we dislike about Marmot…
Marmot can also be incredibly cold. On my season at Marmot there were days were the -20's were a reality with the lifts being shut for three days due to even colder temps. However there is no such thing as the cold just unsuitable clothing so make sure you wrap up warm during January and you'll still have a great time.
Travel to resort
Nearest international airport is Calgary and there are shuttle buses that run to the town of Jasper. Most likely this would be a self-drive holiday and IT SHOULD BE! Give yourself the time to stop and enjoy the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper.
Get yourself into Eagles East where you can find plenty of drops and glades to explore. Also this can be the perfect place to build a booter. The hike to run Cornice is well worth the effort and not just offers great views, but a fantastic run down.
During your stay make sure you check out some of the other activities on offer in Jasper. During my time my favourites were ice skating on a local frozen lake, a trip to Maligne Canyon where you walk through frozen waterfalls, and curling with the locals.
If you are planning to ski at Marmot it is most likely that you will stay in Jasper. Jasper offers a range of accommodation and the town itself offers some nice restaurants and bars, check out Downstream. Because of the distances between Jasper and the nearest airports and tourist hubs, its is likely that Jasper will be a self-drive holiday, but if not don't fear a free shuttle service runs throughout the winter to connect Marmot to this beautiful town in the Rockies.
We would recommend this place for…
All abilities, families or advanced riders who hate the crowds found at the big Banff resorts.
If you have been to Jasper or have any questions just comment below as we would love to hear your views on what is one of our favourite resorts.