Western Living Magazine
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Foodies and outdoor enthusiasts, take note: this 48-hour Jasper itinerary is a foolproof wintery agenda—the cold never bothered you anyway, right?
If Everything Everywhere All at Once taught us anything, it’s that great things can happen in a laundromat. Jasper’s SnowDome Coffee Bar certainly embraces the multiverse theory: the same space holds Coin Clean Laundry and Andromeda Coffee, making this charming locale a café, retail space and laundering facility all in one. Warm up with a fresh scone and an Earl Grey, masala chai or honey lavender latte.
The weather is chilly, but the town is walkable—there’s plenty of shopping to be done in the stores and boutiques off Connaught Drive, Jasper’s main drag. For a classic guilty pleasure souvenir shop, hit up Baxter’s Gifts and Souvenirs (you dream it, they’ve printed a mountainscape on it). For dainty jewellery, handmade soaps and cozy socks, Highground is the place to go. If you’ve overestimated the temperature just a titch, Wild Mountain has all the local-approved outdoor apparel.
Ice Ice Baby
Is there a more stereotypical Canadian experience than skating on a frozen lake? Pyramid Lake Lodge—on Pyramid Lake, of course—maintains a gorgeous outdoor skating track with a hockey rink in the centre. Rent some skates, lace up and tread carefully on your way to the ice (or don’t falling on your butt is a rite of passage). Whether you’re a pro on the ice or still struggling to remain upright, you’ll work up a much-needed sweat and enjoy a breathtaking view of the mountains.
Lunch with a View
After you yank off your skates and remember how to walk normally again, pop upstairs to Aalto—this restaurant just opened on the Pyramid Lake Lodge property in June 2023. The brand-new room has that gorgeous lake view and a lunch menu that puts an elevated twist on traditional (think a burger on a pretzel bun with truffle mustard or a fresh salad with duck prosciutto).
The Jasper Art Gallery’s hours are a bit funky (it’s only open Thursday through Saturdays) so plan ahead if you want to stop by. Here, you’ll find bright watercolours, intricate wood carvings, wildlife photography and more, plus a beautiful selection of prints. The gallery puts on events and workshops, too—keep up on Instagram at @jasperartistsguild.
Slice of Life
Here’s the rustic mountain lodge experience you came to Jasper for: a river rock fireplace, stuffed bison head and full-sized canoe are among the decor at the Hearthstone Lounge. The menu here is a real feast of cozy comfort food, including roast chicken, mac ’n’ cheese and beef Wellington. But the hidden gem here is the Detroit-style deep dish pizza—it’s available for takeout only, so you can chow down on the Berta (short rib, gouda, caramelized onion, thyme aioli and smoked paprika gaufrette) from the comfort of your own hotel room.
Let There Be Skylight
Sunhouse is aptly named—the ceiling is all windows, so this IG-worthy brunch spot is always flooded with natural light. The food is just as photogenic (and, importantly, tastes as good as it looks): the lineup includes key lime French toast, Turkish eggs and halloumi and next-level avocado sourdough toast topped with pomegranate, preserved lemon and pistachio dukkah.
Soup for You
Fuel up for a canyon tour at the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen (lunch is included when you book the six-and-a-half-hour tour). Get the open-faced fried chicken sando with white barbecue sauce and smoked tomato jam—it’s delicious and comes with a side of soup. If there’s time, browse the huge gift shop before your canyon tour begins.
Canyon Do Attitude
For those afraid of heights: the Maligne Canyon Icewalks will make your heart race, but it’s totally worth it. Thanks to Mother Nature, our planet’s most terrifying artist, the canyon becomes a treasure trove of organic sculptures, rippling waterfalls and icy caves in the winter. A guide provides you with boots, spikes and a helmet and the tour starts at the top—walk along the (fenced) cliffside and peer down into the canyon below if you dare. But the most enchanting views are at the bottom, where you can gaze up at the mesmerizing formations frozen in motion and duck under walls of icicles.
End the day at Terra, a restaurant that marries the rustic mountain landscape with modern design and innovative cooking. The Aurora Mule cocktail (Epitaph gin, rosemary syrup, triple sec, soda and lime) is inspired by the northern lights and sparkles with edible glitter. The simple but oh-so-delicious house sourdough is served with an unexpected, umami-forward spread (miso butter!) and the corn ribs are a smoky vegetarian triumph. Main-wise, steak frites is an obvious choice (when in Alberta…) but the duck with smoked black garlic mushrooms is an outside-the-box winner.
This story was originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of Western Living Magazine.
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