Marmot Basin

Alberta, Canada

Marmot Basin, located in the stunning Jasper National Park, is a fantastic and affordable option for individuals and families in Canada. The resort is a little smaller than others in the Alberta region, however don't let this dissuade you - Marmot boasts a great variety of terrain, relaxed and friendly mountain atmosphere, uncrowded slopes, and virtually no lift lines (what we like to hear!). Enjoy long groomed runs, open alpine bowls, and memorable tree skiing during the day, and an authentic Canadian Rockies mountain village feel at night in the nearby town of Jasper. It's a small town feeling with world class facilities and skiing which has us dreaming of heading back to Marmot Basin!

Scout Loves

  • Incredible scenery of Jasper National Park (just, wow!)
  • Super close parking near the slopes
  • Good value lift tickets compared to other resorts in Canada
  • Really tasty poutine at the Caribou Chalet (perfect spot for a mid-ski snack)

Scout Tips

  • Head to the Knob Chair on a powder day for some fantastic tree skiing.
  • Good beginner skiing, but the same runs are used by advanced skiiers so can be intimidating.
  • Car provides the most flexibility to get between Jasper and Marmot Basin each morning.
  • Winter is 'off-season' so really affordable accommodation, dining, & activities in Jasper.

Scout Review

The name can be rather confusing to describe this wonderful part of Alberta, Canada. Jasper (the name most commonly used) refers to the traditional mountain town that services the ski resort nearby. Marmot Basin is the ski resort itself. Whatever you like to call it, this ski resort is a fantastic option for the whole family.

We consider Marmot Basin to be the perfect package of a small mountain town with world class facilities, as it gives us the authentic Canadian Rocky Mountain experience without the crowds and price-tag. The resort has a lovely, local mountain feel, but that doesn't mean the skiing or terrin is small, by any means! Expect lots of great challenging runs that will satisfy expert skiers for days (provided the snow is good and it's all been avalanche controlled. At the top of our list of must-ski areas at Marmot Basin you'll find fresh tracks from the top of the Knob Chair, as well as the glades under the Outer Limits and Paradise Quad chairs. We also loved the long cruiser runs off the Eagle Express. For the ultimate mid-ski energy boost, Caribou Chalet is the place to go, with really good poutine. 

Driving allows for more flexibility, although it can be slow at peak hour driving up to the resort. The plus side is that you can actually park really close to the slopes - if there is enough snow you can usually ski across the parking lot to your car! The drive from Banff through to Jasper along the Ice Fields Parkway is an incredible experience and definitely recommended for those making a multi-resort ski trip. Unfortunately, we've had to make the detour around the parkway twice so far due to closures for avalanche control, so flexibility in your travel plans is a must.

After a day on the slopes, exploring the little town of Jasper is a great way to see the authentic mountain town side of Canada. The surrounding National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so the views and wildlife are spectacular, even in Winter. In Summer, Jasper is a bustling town filled with visitors to the park, but in Winter, it's a much quieter and less crowded place to stay. The town has a friendly atmosphere, and a certain charm about it with a couple of great bars, relaxed restaurants, and good coffee - everything to keep the more relaxed type of skier happy. Take advantage of the town's amazing location and join one of the many day tours on a down-day, such as ice walks or dog sled tours. It's a fantastic way to get close to winter nature and see the famous Rocky Mountains.

Marmot Basin/Jasper is a great all-rounder ski resort, with a small mountain town feel, impressive terrain, and located in one of the most beautiful parts of the Canadian Rockies.

Marmot Basin Skiing

Marmot Basin has some great stats under its belt. The resort starts off with the highest base elevation of all the Canadian ski resorts (at over 1700m), meaning the snowfall is light and dry, and the Alberta powder sticks around a little longer. The ski area is both above and below the treeline offering a superb variety of skiing. Marmot Basin caters for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, with over 60% off the terrain tailored to their ability level, but also boasts over 40% advanced / expert terrain. We like those stats!

Being a smaller resort, only 7 lifts provide access to roughly 1675 acres of terrain, however, lift lines are non-existent and slopes are uncrowded. Above the treeline, you can explore wide open alpine bowls and chutes, and the option of hiking up to the top of Marmot Peak itself and making some memorable fresh turns back down to the resort. Newly opened double black diamond runs, like Tres Hombres, are highly recommended for the expert skiers. The gladed runs under the Outer Limits and Paradise Quad provide those tree runs skiers are yearning for, and waiting in line (with the rest of the powderhounds) for the Knob Chair to open is definitely worth the powdered descent that follows. For those seeking long cruiser runs, skiers right off the Eagle Express Quad will satisfy the corduroy fiend in all of us.

For first timers, there is a good magic carpet area just below the day lodge, and the beginner skiing is quite graduated allowing for steeping stones to more difficult runs. Marmot Basin is great for the whole family, especially those with varying skiing abilities.

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Marmot Basin For Families

Marmot Basin is very family-friendly, and a small compact base area provides easy access to all the resort facilities. The resort has three main lodges, one at the base and two mid-mountain, providing all necessary amenities, from apres to cafes, and retail shops. Everything is quite affordable as well, which is a major drawcard for Marmot Basin.

The ski school is well organised and lessons are conducted by highly qualified instructors with plenty of years experience. Marmot's Kids Camp has great half and full-day group lessons options for the smaller skiiers of all ability levels and up to 12 years. For the teeny 4 -5 year olds, Marmot Mites is a good value 50 minute lesson, or you can extend it to a full day in the Tiny Tracks Program, a perfect combination of childcare and on-hill instruction. 2 hour morning and afternoon lessons are available for adults 13 years and over.

The is no on-mountain accommodation at Marmot Basin, which can be off-puting for those wanting ski-in/ski-out or ease of access. However, there are some great accommodation options in the town of Jasper, including luxury mountain-style lodging and rustic cabins, and value hotels for those who are a little more independant or don't require all the frills of a major ski resort. Most lodging is within the main town area, close to facilities, restaurants, and retail shops. There is a daily shuttle service between Jasper hotels and Marmot Basin, and it's only a 20 minute ride. 

Marmot Basin Accommodation

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Marmot Basin has no on-mountain accommodation, so staying in the nearby town of Jasper is your best option. There is a great range of options to suit all budgets, from luxury mountain-style lodging and rustic cabins, to hotels and motels. Most lodging is withing the main town area, and walking distance to local restaurant and bars, retail shops, and activities. 

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Resort Activities

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Jasper is a great laid back town, the gateway to the Jasper National Park, and an interesting part of Alberta to explore on down days. One popular activity are the ice walks through Maligne Canyon; wander the frozen rapids and waterfalls and take in the incredible surrounding mountains and valleys. Dog sled tours are also popular, and can be booked directly with the tour operators at the Visitor Centre. For the kids (and kids at heart), Jasper also has fun ice-skating in town, museums, and an aquatic centre.

Shoe-shoeing and cross-country skiing is a good way to see the Jasper National Park, and possibly spot some wildlife along the way!

Getting There and Around

Marmot Basin is quite off-the-beaten-track, with the closest city, Edmonton almost 370kms awat (Calgary is 400km). However, daily airport shuttles operated from Edmonton International Airport so it's quite easy to get to Jasper. There are also transfers available from Banff, making it easier to tack Marmot Basin onto a multi-resort ski holiday.

A car is highly recommended for some extra flexiblity and the option of visiting other resorts in Alberta. Marmot Basin would make a wonderful addition to a Canadian ski road trip. The journey from Banff to Jasper is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with the incredible Ice Fields Parkway showcasing stunning glaciers, towering rocky mountains, snowscapes, and plenty of wildlife. It has to be one of the most spectacular drives in Canada. The only downfall is that the road can close for avalanche control at times, which requires a long, boring detour around the mountain range (near Edmonton) to get to Jasper. Although it's not common, it did happen to Scout twice in one trip!

If hiring a car familiarity with winter driving and appropriate vehicle with 4WD or at least snow tyres and chain is highly recommended. 

When To Go

Marmot Basin has a long season, running from mid-November all the way through to May. The coldest month is January, averaging -7 degrees. celcius. The resort receives relatively low annual snowfall, roughly 4 metres, however it's very dry and light Alberta powder, and the colder temperatures keeps the snow sticking around for longer. 

Winter is 'off-season' in Jasper, so accommodation, dining, and activities are more affordable.

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 5570ft / 1698m Gondolas 0 Beginner 30%  
Summit Elevation 8570ft / 2612m Express Quads 2 Intermediates 30%  
Vertical Drop 3000ft / 914m Quad Chair 2 Advanced 40%  
Skiable Area 1675ac / 678ha Triple Chairs 1      
Annual Snowfall 160in / 4m Double Chairs 1      
Longest Run 3.47 miles / 5.6 km Surface Lifts 1      
Operating Hours 9.00am – 4.00pm          
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