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How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder

How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder

I remember the first time I ever tried snowboarding. I was 16 years old and indestructible. Well more or less. It took me probably an hour just to stand up. The next day I was so sore I could hardly move. Regardless, I loved it. I went a handful of times over the next couple of years, and only once to Marmot Basin. Then, when B and I got together, the babies came and I had little to no free time. Still, do to be completely honest. So I wasn’t able to hit the hill for years. Probably 7 or 8.

When L and Big H were gifted snowboarding lessons from their aunt and uncle last Christmas I was so excited. I was finally going to get back to the hill. But this time, I was going to take lessons myself.

B and I booked lessons at Jaspers Marmot Basin at the same time the boys took theirs. We booked the two-hour group lesson for beginners. Even though I had snowboarded before, it had been so long since I had gone, and B had never even tried it.

Included with the lesson was a Full Day Rental, Lower Mountain Lift Ticket, and of course the 2-hour lesson on the bunny hill. You can upgrade to include the full lift ticket if you want, but realistically it probably isn’t necessary for a beginner.  – The kid’s lessons included their rentals, lift tickets, lessons, lunch, and time in childcare as well. –

The website suggests arriving an hour beforehand to get your rentals. I suggest longer. We were there an hour and a half before and were a few minutes late for our lessons. Weekdays are, most likely, less busy than the weekends.

When the lessons started, we had about 8 more people in our group and our instructor, Christian. Dispute the large group he was able to devote time to each student and help them as needed.

He went through the basic steps of standing up. Toe edge and heel edge, and switching between the two. Practising each thing a few times between adding in the next step. When you reached the bottom of the little hill you took the magic carpet back up to the top and started all over again

By the end of the two hours, my husband was done. Exhausted. Not at all surprising. So, we headed up to have a bite to eat where we met up with my brother and sister-in-law (who had injured herself on the hill). Her and B stayed there for the rest of the day.

Now, I have an irrational fear of chair lifts, which makes for a great time on the chairlift. So my brother fed me some liquid courage before dragging me to Eagle Express Quad Chairlift.

After the panicking inducing departure from the lift, we followed the Sleepy Hollow run down to Old Road back to the chalet. It took me about 2 hours and ALL of my energy.

At that point, we grabbed the kids and headed back to our hotel in Jasper for the night.

I have been to a couple of different ski hills over the years, but Marmot Basin my favourite to date. Next time I return I plan on doing lessons again, to increase my skills and maybe learn something new before heading up that dreaded lift up the mountain.

Do you have a favourite ski hill in your area?

How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder
How To Spend A day At Marmot Basin As A New Snowboarder
H & L Marmot Basin
Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 10 comments
Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

Banff, Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

My favourite place in the world is the mountains. I am not even picky about which Mountain Range, although I am partial to Rocky Mountain in my home province of Alberta. I can see them from where I live, and Jasper is just shy of 2 hours away from my doorstep. But, as much as I love Jasper, I have a particular fondness for Banff National Park

Banff offers so many things to do and explore but these are some of my favourites. 

Canoe 

One of my favourite memories in Banff is canoeing. I rented a canoe for an hour from the Banff Canoe Club and spent a fantastic hour leisurely paddling the Bow River. 

Banff Gondola

This was the first gondola I had ever ridden and the views are incredible. Ride it to the top of Sulphur mountain and take in the 360 views. Enjoy a meal at the top, then either ride the gondola down or better yet take the extra time, and energy, and hike down.

Take A Hike

While we’re talking about hiking; Banff National Park and the surrounding area is full of amazing hikes. All skill levels and distances can be found with just a short drive. Tunnel mountain is right in the town and it’s a perfect “beginners” hike.

Bow Falls

If hiking isn’t your thing, but you still want to check out some awesome views than Bow Falls might be more up your alley. They can be seen with just a short walk from the parking lot. 

Banff Hot Springs

Banff Hot Springs is open year round and the only place I have swum outside in the winter. To top it off it was snowing, that is such a cool experience. 

Lake Louise

Just a short drive, through the gorgeous mountain country, is Lake Louise. The picturesque lake offers canoeing in the summer, and ice skating in the winter. Explore it in both seasons, the little town offers restaurants and some shops as well. 

Rocky Mountain Bagel Company

As much as I love Banff the surrounding area has so much to offer as well. This is in the neighbouring town of Canmore. This is the one place that o stop every single time I am in the area. The bagels are good but the bagel sandwiches are even better. I have never gotten anything from there that I haven’t loved. I am particularly fond of their gluten-free apricot cookies

Every time I visit Banff I find another thing to fall in love with. Is there anything I missed that you love?

Banff Alberta Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss
Banff Alberta The Top 7 Things You Don't Want To Miss Out On

Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 17 comments
Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

Why Tunnel Mountain is the Best First Summit

I’ve always wanted to summit a mountain. To get the unapparelled views of the surrounding for the very top. When we planned a trip to Kananaskis last summer I immediately set out to find a good hike for us to do.  When looking at neighbouring Banff, I stumbled on the Tunnel Mountain Hike, and it was a no-brainer. Hike in the beautiful Rockies, and summit my first mountain.

Tunnel Mountain is Banff’s smallest summit, located right in town. After doing some research I was promised a relatively easy hike. 4.3 km (up and down) with a gain of 300m of elevation. My hiking experience at the time was pretty limited, and my summit experience was absolutely zilch, so this sounded like something right up my alley. The promise of 360° views of the townsite, and surrounding peaks sounded like just the motivation I would need to get the top.

There are two parking areas. One offers quite a number of stalls and there is a short walk up to the second. This parking area, where we parked, only has about 6 stalls and in early August they are in high demand. The earlier you go the better off you’ll be. not just for parking, but for heat and business of the trail as well.

The Hike

The trail is wide and well-maintained with switchbacks the lead you up the mountainside, leaving the vertical gain very manageable. You walk easily through the trees and towards the top of the mountain, with plenty of gorgeous area with photo ops of the surrounding landscapes. While there is switchback there are points on the trail where the grade is still substantial, you are still climbing a mountain.

At one point we reached an area and I was sure that we were at the top, also we were not, and a kind lady told me we had just a little further so we ventured on.

When we got to the top there was no doubt, the signage made it clear. there is a wide open area perfect for picnics, although I hear there is a grassy meadow a little further down the trail I didn’t know about at the time. The views of the townsite below and surrounding mountains and river are spectacular. Exactly what I needed after the hike up the mountain. After a quick water and snack break, we headed back down the way we came. Providing the same useful information to people, “you’re almost there!”

The trail is very popular, so if you’re looking to be alone you may want to find another. It is a great first summit and easy hike for both children and dogs. For my first summit, it inspired me to add more to the list, both for us to do solo, as well as family friendly.

Tunnel Mountain Trail Information

  • Elevation Gain: 300 meters (948 feet)
  • Time: 2 to 3 hours round trip
  • Distance: 4.3 km (2.7 miles) round-trip
  • This trail is very popular and can get crowded in the summer and early fall months. Beat the crowds by hiking early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Tunnel Mountain Trailhead

Lower Trailhead: In downtown Banff, from the southern end of Banff Ave., turn east on Buffalo St. (turns into Wolverine) to St. Julien Rd. Continue until parking lot on your left where a sign marks the trailhead.

Upper Trailhead: Continue past the Banff Centre. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road from the Tunnel Mountain viewpoint parking area. This parking area is small as mentioned but shortens the hike to 3.6km.

 

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Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Why Banffs Tunnel Mountain is Your Perfect First Summit
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 13 comments
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper

Jasper is one of the most uniquely beautiful places I have seen in my life.  I’ve seen mountains all over North America, Maui’s most recently, but the views of the Rockies are unparalleled. So, living only two short hours away from Jasper we try to get there as often as we can. Hunter LOVES the mountains. Like me, they give him a sense of home, and he is much more grounded when we visit them. We still don’t get there nearly as often as we would like, but in the trips, we do manage we have been able to pick some of our favourite places to visit as a family.

Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon is easily considered one of the most interesting canyons in the Rockies. They have a walking path set up so you can walk from the top of the canyon and falls, all the way to the bottom. Or vice-versa. There is a total of 6 bridges the crisscross over and each offers a uniquely magnificent view. The walk does consist of thousands of stairs – I’m estimating – so it can be quite physical but you can park at the top or bottom and do as much or as little as you want. There is also a picnic area available at either end. Maligne Canyon is a place we have visited many times over the years.

Annette Lake

This is one of our most recent discoveries, we were initially out to find a short hike to do with the boys that was also stroller friendly-ish, and as you can imagine the stroller part is difficult. Then, by complete accident, we stumbled upon this beauty. Not only is the 2.5km path around the lake fully paved so that is both friendly for strollers and wheelchairs, there are also benches all along the way so people of any fitness level can do it and have plenty of places to rest as well as enjoy all 360° of beautiful views. There is also a gorgeous sandy beach perfect for playing in the water and laying in the sun. We will be visiting this lake many times in the future.

Sunwapita Falls

This is a unique set of falls. There is a viewing area which offers a spectacular view of the main falls. There is also a 1km trail that leads to a viewing point of the lower falls. We have only made this trip once, but I highly recommend doing this short hike to see the second falls. The grade is pretty gradual, but it is there. One of the smother trails we have hiked.

Athabasca Falls

This is one of the only places I remember visiting as a child and one I continue to visit nearly every time we visit the park. Athabasca falls are the most powerful falls in the Rockies. The water roars and thunders as it falls and if you stand in the right place (or wrong) you’ll be soaked with the spray from the falls. It is truly an experience. The rocks are wet and therefore slippery, so do not venture outside of the designated areas.

Whistlers Campground

The one and only time we actually camped in Jasper this is where we stayed. It is an extremely large campground but is laid out wonderfully and you would never know its size without driving through it. The bathrooms are clean and well kept and just a short walk from wherever your campsite is. There is plenty of wildlife in the area and if you’re lucky you will be able to spot some from your campsite.

The sites and activities to do in Jasper National Park are limitless. I honestly don’t think we will ever have time to see and do it all. These are just the tip of the iceberg and the ones that we have all enjoyed as a family, some on more than one occasion.

What is your favourite thing to do in Jasper?

Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Top 5 Family Friendly Places in Big Beautiful Jasper
Posted by Jenn in Travel, Travel Alberta, 17 comments