Jasper is beautiful but also an expensive town to visit. I enjoy balancing paying for new experiences and finding inexpensive or free things to do. It helps me stay on budget and travel a bit longer.
There are a couple of different places to ice skate in Jasper such as Lake Mildred, Pyramid Lake or Lake Beauvert. I picked Lake Mildred, on the Fairmont Jasper Lodge property. I went after exploring Maligne Canyon on a Monday early afternoon. When I arrived there was one other skater and by the time I left, a family came and joined in. You don’t need stay at the Fairmont to skate, everyone is welcome. Rumour has it on weekends, they have bonfires and hot chocolate for skaters. A giant oval is created to skate with two rinks in the middle that are cleared out to play hockey on. The staff maintain the rink by filling in cracks and plowing the rink.
I ended up bringing my own skates but you can rent them from the Fairmont or in town, if you don’t have any. It’s a fun activity to do and even though I haven’t skated in a few years, muscle memory kicked in for a great workout and a different view of the mountains as you skate around. Afterwards, you can bring a picnic or stop inside for something to eat. To get there, you can either walk from town (about an hour walk depending on how many stops you make to take photos), drive or take a cab.
Walking or Hiking
While in Jasper, there is so much to see outside of the town centre. You can do some research online before arriving and figure out what trails you want to take. Before you arrive, you can get updated trail conditions online or stop by the Jasper Information Center while in town. They were really helpful with me and can give advice based on your skill level. They also can tell you of closures as sometimes the park closes areas due to conditions or to protect animals.
One of walks I took was from the Fairmont back into Jasper. I walked partially around Beauvert Lake, trail 4A and then on to the road that’s closed during the winter. You can also take trail 7 along the Athabasca River but it was slippery and without equipment, I stuck to the road route. It’s an easy route and towards the end, you cross the Athabasca river and can relax while taking in the river and mountains. There are also trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the park.
When walking around town or in the park, you might see wildlife. We some elk eating by the train tracks and deer while coming back from Maligne Lake. You need to make sure to give wildlife their space, especially elk. While I was hanging out in the coffee shop, a man told me that a couple of weeks earlier, someone had to put their van between an elk and a pedestrian as the elk felt threatened. For more information on staying safe, check out Parks Canada. I love spotting animals in the wild so I always try to keep an eye out for them.