Jasper in April – Spring Skiing at Marmot Basin

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Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park has always been our “Home Hill”, since we started skiing in 1976. More than 40 years later, it still excites us to think of skiing there. That is why we jumped at the chance to show it to H & L from Winnipeg when they came for a visit in early April.¬† Things have changed a bit since 1976. Lift tickets then were $27 and now adult day passes go for $106. There were no high speed quads and now there are 3 (the Canadian Rockies quad at 596 m (1955 feet) is the longest in the Canadian Rockies. I seem to recall there being only 41 named runs in 1976 and now there are 91. Two large new areas of ski terrain have been opened up on Eagle Ridge and Tres Hombres. And there are two terrain¬† parks for those who like to snowboard. These same snowboarders tend to shave the tops off the moguls on the more expert runs and now that I am 65, this is not always a bad thing.

The base elevation of 1,698m (5,570 feet) ASL is the highest in the Canadian Rockies and the top elevation of 2612m (8,570 feet) ASL gives the hill a vertical drop of 614m (3,000 feet). 30% of the runs are novice, 30% intermediate, 20% Advanced and 20% Expert.

Lift capacity is 12,000 skiers per hour and with an annual snowfall of 400 cm, the season can run from mid November to early May. Given the distance from the nearest major population center, the hill is seldom crowded and on the weekdays, you can ski straight onto the lifts. Rentals and lessons are available in the base lodge. The 4 parking lots allow skiers to easily ski to the lifts and back to their cars.

(Source:WIkipedia)

We had never skied here in April before, but ended up with a picture perfect day. Sunny, blue skies, a low temp of -3 C and a high of +5 C. Not only has the hill changed, so have we. I am now 65 and while the spirit is still willing, the body sometimes has other ideas. My Patty’s knees can no longer take a full day of skiing. I went up the hill for opening time with H & L and Patty joined us about 10:30 AM, once the snow on the lower slopes had softened a bit.

Here are the pix.

 

Riding the lifts

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the shining Athabasca River below

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H & L on the hill

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photographer goggle selfie

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the upper chalet (Paradise Chalet)

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on the lift

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at the top of Paradise Chair

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Paradise Chair and runs are aptly named

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selfie at top of Eagle Ridge chair

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Jasper townsite from top of Eagle Ridge chair

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Nobody wanted to join me for a run down from the top of Knob. A sign at the bottom of the lift states “There is no Easy way down”. I last skied this run at the age of 60. Now I can say I did it at 65, not well, but I did it and survived.

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Shots from the lifts. The last one was taken while the lift was stopped for 15 minutes due to a power outage. All lifts have backup diesel motors so they can keep going and make sure all lifts have been emptied.

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Various shots on Paradise and this hill truly is Paradise.

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