Ditch the January blues and head to mountains for the annual Jasper in January festival from January 12 to 29. Each week has its own theme—Adventure, Appetites and Arts—before the festival ends with a massive street party. Many of the activities, from wildlife photography to snowshoeing, are free. Check the Jasper in January site for dates and prices. Need a hotel? Don’t forget that AMA Travel offers a Best Price Guarantee for select hotels in the Canadian Rockies.
ENTER A FAT BIKE RACE, January 12–14
Frosty’s Fat Bike Race Series brings its winter biking competition north of the border for the first time ever. Three days of racing begin at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on January 12 with a four-kilometre cross-country race around Annette Lake. The following day, more adventurous bikers can descend the hills at Marmot Basin Ski Resort in a timed event. On January 14, test your pedaling prowess and ride the scenic 50-kilometre course around Pyramid Bench. Each day features races for cyclists of all skill levels, including inexperienced riders.
MEET SOME ARTISTIC STRANGERS, January 13
You have to tip your hat to Jasper’s tightly knit arts community. There’s always an exhibition around town that will awe and inspire you—like the works of Jason Bartzioka, on display until February 12 at Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archive. Attend the “Perfect Stranger” artist reception January 13 and learn what inspired Bartzioka’s cartoon-like sketches of strangers that he has encountered in the mountain park.
TRAVEL WITH DOGS, January 14
Do your backcountry touring the good old-fashioned way—by whizzing past the snowy forests around Pyramid Lake while being pulled by a team of tongue-wagging Alaskan Huskies. Head to Pyramid Lake Resort for this afternoon of guaranteed fun.
LEARN TO SNOWSHOE, January 14, 15 & 21
Ah, snowshoeing! One of those winter activities that you never quite got the hang of. Join Parks Canada staff during the day to learn the basics of this oh so Canadian activity. Once, you’ve mastered how to tred lightly in the snow, head back out to Marmot Basin in the evening for a moonlit snowshoe walk with park interpreters.
Discover all that Jasper has to offer once warmer weather arrives
TOUR A CRAFT BREWERY, January 14, 15 & 29
Our province is awash in craft breweries, but one local operation has special significance. Jasper Brewing Company turned heads several years ago when it became Canada’s first microbrewery located in a national park. Join Jasper’s brewmaster for a tour of the facility, including beer samples, a souvenir pint glass, Jasper Brewing T-shirt and a burger or sandwich.
ATTEND A CHILI COOK-OFF, January 19
Jasper’s annual chili cook-off has been going strong for almost 30 years. And for good reason: Aside from being a culinary showdown, it’s also a costume party. Teams dress up in themed costumes and compete in friendly competition in several categories. Purist chili-heads will be glad to hear that beans are not allowed, just like chili ought to be made.
EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH TOWN, January 20
More than 15 restaurants will be participating in Food-A-Palooza, a town-wide food crawl showcasing some of Jasper’s best restaurants. Whether you’re seeking something casual—like a Neapolitan pizza and pint of beer from Famoso—or something a bit more adventurous—like duck wings and draught from Syrahs of Jasper—for $15 a visit, you can’t go wrong.
WINE AND DINE AT A FOOD FEST, January 20
You know the difference between a Malbec and a Merlot, but when faced with a menu featuring a seemingly infinite number of wine options from all around the world, you probably have some questions about what makes one varietal different from another. Enter Wine in Winter, Jasper’s mini food and wine festival held at Embers Steakhouse at Marmot Lodge. Indulge in an evening of great wine and small bites—with a little education thrown into the recipe, too.
STAY SAFE WITH AN AVALANCHE EDUCATION COURSE, January 21
For anyone who spends any amount of time in the backcountry during winter, this hands-on avalanche education workshop is a must. The free, full-day session at Marmot Basin will include beacon training, avalanche awareness, and CARDA dog and explosive demonstrations.
SKI WITH AN OLYMPIAN, January 21
Freestyle mogul skier and Olympic gold and silver medalist Jenn Heil will mentor future Olympians during a half-day family ski outing. Novice to immediate skiers age 6 to 14 can spend the morning skiing with Heil at Marmot Basin Ski Resort, followed by a buffet lunch. Heil will share her ski secrets to success: dreaming big while never giving in to perceived limitations.
CREATE A CLASSIC COCKTAIL, January 21 & 22
Nowhere in Jasper is the art of drink-making better executed than at Evil Dave’s Grill. The restaurant’s lengthy cocktail list marries tradition with creative ingredients. During this fun session, you’ll learn how to make three classic tipples with Evil Dave’s in-house mixologists.
COOK A MEAL ON AN OPEN FIRE, January 21
Eating well in the great outdoors really isn’t that hard. Join Parks Canada staff at Marmot Meadows and learn how to prepare a meal over a fire.
Ski to your heart’s content at top Rockies resorts in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper
WINE AND DINE A SECOND TIME, January 21
Another evening to enjoy with the aid of fine wines and spirits, local and internationally brewed beers, and a selection of delicious tapas.
CHEER ON THE ICE MEN, January 27–29
The frozen waters of Lake Mildred become a lively playground for hockey enthusiasts who love to play Canada’s game in the crisp open air. Twenty-plus teams are slated to play in this four-on-four competition for the Jasper Cup.
PARTY HARD WITH SHRED KELLY, January 28
The music-festival crowd will have a blast when Fernie-based band Shred Kelly hits the Atco Street Party stage for 90-minutes of groovy, upbeat folk-rock. Shred Kelly’s show is notoriously high energy, so be prepared to shake your groove thang on Patricia Street.
WATCH SPECTACULAR FIREWORKS, January 28
There are only two times this year that park visitors will get to see fireworks in Jasper: on Canada Day, when our nation celebrates 150 years, and January 28, to mark the final weekend of the Jasper in January. The nighttime show will be combined with an illuminated walk to Centennial Park. Bring your own light and join the crowd as it gathers at the park located beside Jasper Junior/Senior High School, then watch the night sky light up in a memorable display of colour.
GET YOUR “OM” ON, January 27–29
The Lole Wellness Weekend is back again and this year it promises to be even bigger. Enjoy three days of classes to make you feel Zen and bendy. Start Saturday morning off with an invigorating session of Yin yoga poses that will work out connective tissues that rarely get used. The afternoon workshop focuses on restorative yoga, combining physical poses with breathing. After that try yoga dance in a high-energy 90-minute class. Sunday morning calls for a morning strength session before heading back home to the city.