Marmot Basin

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Far into the northland and separated from the hustle of Banff by a three-hour drive, Jasper is far enough north, and far enough from a major airport (Edmonton: four hours), that people aren't here by mistake or on a whim. People come to Jasper National Park for the scenery, the remoteness, the wonder of a herd of elk outside their hotel and the call of Canadian geese swooping over Lac Beauvert in the spring while the ski area still has winter snow.The largest of the Canadian Rockies National Parks, Jasper has 4,200 square miles studded with lakes, dotted with wildlife, threaded by cross-country trails, and embroidered with spectacular drives such as the Icefields Parkway. Overloaded with tourists in the summer, it's delightfully uncrowded in the winter. It's an understatement to say you won't want to forget your camera for this vacation.Hugging the Athabasca River and nestled against the train station, the town is simple, consisting of clapboard cottages, a steepled Lutheran church, stone houses and lodgings with no single architectural scheme. Here you'll find a friendly, relaxed and homey atmosphere. Marmot Basin's base lodge, Caribou Chalet, is a beautiful 32,000-square-foot building that blends in with its surroundings. Skiers and boarders of different levels can ride the same lifts, which makes Marmot great for family and group vacations. The terrain is fairly evenly divided among ability levels, with appropriate challenge, so everyone will enjoy themselves. If you're looking to improve your skills, Marmot is a perfect choice.Marmot continues to open new terrain every year. Most recent was Cornice Run, off Marmot Peak, accessed by a short hike from the top of the Eagle Ridge Chair. Eagle Ridge, previously accessed only by hiking, is now serviced by a quad chair. Eagle Ridge has two faces: Eagle East and Chalet Slope. The 22 runs off the ridge include expert, advanced and intermediate terrain, as well as one novice trail that winds its way down the mountain. Eagle East provides a wilderness experience with the convenience and safety of staying within the boundaries of the ski area. In addition to the prime tree skiing in Eagle East, two huge bowls of advanced and expert terrain are here. The resort also opened Outer Limits, accessed off the back of the Paradise Chair, for another wilderness experience.

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