Cross country skiing in Jasper

So here I am in “outdoorsy” Jasper in the north of the Canadian Rockies. Before getting here I’d read all about how Jasper is “wildlife central” but nevertheless it still surprised me to see a herd of elk roaming the main street when I arrived. They sometimes come into town at night to use humans as protection from wolves, smart!

The drive up from Lake Louise sure was brilliant; it’s called the Icefields Parkway and is one of the most scenic drives in the world. 230km of snow-capped peaks, lakes and glaciers. I’ve posted some pictures into Canada Snaps!

It’s been almost a week and todays the first day that I haven’t been out and about either skiing or walking on water – well ice to be exact but water sounds better right?

Maligne Canyon icewalk is one of Jasper’s main attractions and it sure was a fun and slippery experience. These huge frozen waterfalls were majestic and our group even got to wriggle into a cave – as Andy from Australia rightly pointed out “we’ve now been in the Rockies too”.

15/12/12 - One of a few frozen 20+ metre waterfalls at Maligne Canyon
15/12/12 – One of a few frozen 20+ metre waterfalls at Maligne Canyon
Walking on water at Maligne Canyon
15/12/12 – Walking on water at Maligne Canyon

Then there was skiing…again. Last time I had skied was four long years ago so I had to recall all the muscle memory I could when I went skiing at Marmot Basin with Andy – bit of a stretch? No way!

Surprising myself even, I was back on some black runs by lunch – albeit not with the style or flair of some…

This skier shows me how it's done
This skier shows me how it’s done at Marmot Basin

One of the most memorable days in Jasper so far would have to be giving cross country skiing a go for the first time. No doubt it’s a tough sport. Think of it as a cross between speed walking, sliding on timber floors wearing socks and skiing. It’s all about the glideeeeee.

I just so happened to go with two Canadians who had been cross country skiing for nearly ten years so they were fast. They said I did really well so gotta be happy with that. Boy I was happy to get back to the car though, 19km and 5 hours later. We saw plenty of wolf and cougar tracks but no sightings of the wily beasts – maybe not a bad thing?

18/12/12 - Keeping up with the two speedsters.
18/12/12 – Keeping up with the two speedsters, Andes and Bree, on the ski to Moab Lake

Something I didn’t know beforehand (but realised straight away) was how dark the skies are here. In fact the dark skies have been officially recognised and Jasper National Park is the largest Dark Sky Preserve in the world. Great for star gazing but northern lights are still quite rare here. Come on northern lights!

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6 thoughts on “Cross country skiing in Jasper”

  1. Hi Dan, Joey and I are reading your story and we were just amazed at the frozen waterfalls – they really must be something to see. Joey couldn’t get over the size of the moose and thought you very brave – getting out of the car – me too Dan. I think he was a bit big to take on. Look forward to your next part of your adventure – you don’t seem to have lost your skill of skiing so will be having a great time. Love Nanny and Joey

  2. I like the new addition to the blog – the snowflakes falling. You must have gone so far out of you’re way to program, design and put them into motion!

  3. Notice how thin Andes and Bree’s ski’s are? I think that the thinner the ski’s are the more skill the skier has (don’t quote me on that). I bet you’re going to tell me that you’res were the same! Black runs as well :0 Sounds like heaps of fun. Tell me about how you managed to tag along in a group of 10 when you walked Maligne Canyon.

  4. That frozen waterfall looks incredible. you are seeing and experiencing so much – lucky you. I couldn’t do that skiing, cross country and black runs. It didn’t know you had done black runs before. You seem to be meeting lots of nice people. mum

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  5. looking for some scenic cross country skiing in jasper alberta…can do 15 to 20 kms per day..would love a cabin in there some where…

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