Skip to Content

Marmot Basin, Jasper: My Experience Snowboarding There

Marmot Basin, Jasper: My Experience Snowboarding There

Marmot Basin in Jasper, Alberta, will always be special to me as it is where I learned how to snowboard.

Marmot Basin is located in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies. It has close to 1700 acres of rideable terrain with a base elevation of 6,700 feet and summit elevation of 8,100 ft, giving riders panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies.

Marmot has 91 runs, 6 lifts, 3 terrain parks, several alpine bowls, and one magic carpet. Like most resorts, you will find alpine bowls, groomed runs, parks, and backcountry access.

While you might prefer a bigger resort with larger ski areas, Marmot Basin is a good choice if you’re looking for a smaller, uncrowded snowboarding resort with great scenery and a more laid-back riding experience.

To me though, what really sets it apart is its community, which is very friendly and welcoming and truly knows how to have a good time.

Snowboard terrain, lifts, runs

Marmot Basin offers a wide variety of snowboarding for all skill levels. Being a seasoned rider, I find that the groomed part of the mountain is geared towards intermediate and beginner riders, which is why I tend to opt for the backcountry.

Even though I prefer to ride the backcountry, I enjoy what their parks offer. Marmot holds 3 different terrain parks. The  main one, “The stomping grounds”, contains over 40 features. I’ve spent hours at this park and never got bored as it offers a lot of variety and is challenging enough for even the most advanced riders.

Upon purchasing your lift pass and heading out the door, you will be faced with what they call “The Front Side” of the mountain, which offers primarily beginner runs. These runs also pass by their second chalet halfway down the mountain. The main quad chair will take you directly to the top for access to these runs.

“The back Side” is where you will find the resort’s alpine bowls and more advanced runs. After taking the main quad chair, you must ride down to a surface lift that will take you up to the bowls. These bowls are very steep, so control and confidence are vital.

“The South side” contains the steepest runs of the resort as well as the longest run, “The Ridge Run” which is 2.5 miles long. This side is accessible by riding down from the peak and taking a double chair lift.

“The North Side” Is my go-to destination point, as this is where you will find the backcountry access gates. After taking the quad chair up to the top, riders must walk over the horizon to find these gates. Be careful not to slip and fall before you’ve even had the chance to put your board on as it is very steep.

Snow conditions at Marmot Basin

The snow conditions at Marmot Basin obviously vary with the time of year and weather. I’ve never experienced a lack of snow on this resort, which on average gets around 300 inches of snowfall per season. 

Combined with their snowmaking, both the snowpack and the amount of snow have always been great for me. The resort gets an average of over 9 meters of snowfall per year and it has a long ski season, usually from early November to early May.

Though a large amount of snow is ideal for the terrain, this also means it snows a lot. Getting caught riding in a blizzard is not fun, so it’s wise to check the weather before riding. 

While the 2 chalets provide cozy cover, I have too often found myself stuck inside for longer than I’d like, wasting riding time waiting for a heavy snowfall to pass.

Equipment rentals and maintenance

Equipment rentals are available to those who do not have their own. Ideally, it is better to have your own equipment, as the rental equipment is rarely in good shape and the quality is often sub-par.

For beginners who don’t have the proper equipment however, renting is a good option. Equipment should be booked in advance, as during busy times it may all be taken. Having equipment booked also results in less waiting time.

The resort provides excellent equipment maintenance. This is helpful if you don’t have the proper tools or hardware, especially when something breaks while riding. The staff at Marmot Basin is highly knowledgeable and knows how to fix any issue to get you back out on the hill.

School and lessons

I’ve personally never taken snowboarding lessons, though I wish I had. Taking lessons would have saved me from many injuries and helped me progress much faster. Don’t make the same mistake and get lessons!

Marmot Basin offers snowboard lessons for all ages and skill levels. They have group lessons and one-on-one lessons. All the instructors are certified by the Canadian Association of snowboard instructors, are highly trained, and generally get good reviews.


The resort doesn’t offer direct lodging on the mountain. However, the town of Jasper has great albeit limited options.

Jasper is a hot spot for tourists, so it can be challenging to find availabilities in a hotel. When you do find one, be prepared to pay an arm and a leg. If you’re planning a trip to Jasper, I suggest going in a group to split the costs. 

Costs aside, every hotel I’ve had the chance to stay at in Jasper has been great. They all have shuttles that will bring you directly to and from the resort at set times throughout the day. 

Commodities such as pools, gyms, outdoor hot tubs, and free entry tickets for the bar are all things I’ve appreciated throughout various stays.

Food, dining, après-ski, and social life

The food in Jasper is nothing to get excited over. Although not bad, I’ve yet to find anything memorable. There are good restaurants, but for a town so popular amongst tourists, there’s yet to be anything special that stands out to me. 

Montana’s would be my best recommendation though, the food there is good but the friendly staff is what makes me want to go back.

The best part of being at Marmot Basic is the après-ski. Jasper has to have the rowdiest bunch I’ve ever seen, along with the friendliest people. The atmosphere in the chalets after a long day of riding is unmatched. I’ve made many friends at these events and it is something I look forward to every time I go to Jasper. 

The nightlife in Jasper is like the après-ski, unmatched. Because most of the people there are snowboarders, you may have already met some at the après-ski. Making friends and socializing is easygoing in Jasper and makes for a great time and atmosphere.

One New-Years eve, I went out to a club in Jasper and made many friends from all over the world. Though the people are awesome, I can’t say the same about the clubs themselves.  You can expect to wait in line for at least an hour at the popular spots. Once inside, avoid going back outside for any reason as you will find yourself waiting in line again.

Comparison with nearby resorts

Compared with the nearest resort, Lake Louise in Banff, Marmot is small. Lake Louise has over double the size of its rideable area and the peak is much higher. Lake Louise also offers 6 chairlifts as well as a gondola, which Marmot doesn’t have.

Both resorts are great options, and choosing between the two would come down to personal preference. I prefer Marmot Basin because of its welcoming atmosphere and closer proximity for me. 

Closing thoughts

Though I think Marmot Basin, is a great place to snowboard, I wouldn’t travel too far to visit. For people in Alberta, it is a great option. But making a special trip here may not be worth it. Nonetheless, if you’re in the region it’s an all-around decent place that has an ample amount of variety and a very friendly atmosphere.


Photo credit