January can be pretty blah.  The weather is colder, our wallets just took a major hit thanks to the holidays and did I mention that it’s cold.

But we’re Canadian and that means we’re hearty. And that also means that even if the snow is piling up, while the temperature is dipping, there’s still lots to do to keep us busy. And if we can do it without breaking the bank, while that’s even better!

Enter: Jasper in January, a three-week long festival split into three different interests: Adventure, Appetites and Arts.   I was there this past weekend, where the tiny mountain town celebrated all things winter adventure and boy was there a lot to do. Over two days, I was able to pack in everything from dogsledding to sleigh rides, ice skating, bannock bake, curling, trying out fat bikes, and so much more.


Over the next two weekends, things in Jasper are definitely eating up…sorry, I mean heating up.  The second week of Jasper in January (January 21st to 24th) focuses on food and will feature a chili cook off, mixology 101 and Food-A-Palooza, which I think is going to be as delicious as it sounds. But it’s not just food. There will a free animal tracking program on snowshoes. There’s also a wildlife camera safari, a winter tour experience and a showshoe fun run and walk!  You’re definitely going to be hungry after that!

The third and final weekend of Jasper in January (January 28th-31st) focuses a bit more on the arts, and will feature acrylic portrait classes, yoga workshops, work carving classes, tipi teachings and a night of comedy at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge with Jeremy Hotz. 

And here’s the great thing about Jasper. Because of its distance from cities like Edmonton and Calgary, it’s never that busy, but it’s always worth the time it takes to get there. Especially if you get to drive on the stunning Highway 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper, which is well known as one of Canada’s most beautiful drives.




I love Banff and Canmore as well, but because they’re so accessible, they tend to always be busy. If you’re looking for a quiet mountain town experience that’s not short on things to do, definitely check out Jasper.

And remember your bruised wallet?  Not only are there a ton of activities, there’s also a ton of deals.  Lots of Jasper’s fantastic hotels are offering deals of 10 to 40% off, or even free lift passes at Marmot Basin. Speaking of Marmot Basin, lift passes are 25% for the rest of January, as is Ice Climbing at Malign Canyon. The Icewalk is fantastic and is 15% off too.  There’s even deals at restaurants and some cultural experiences.  There’s too many for me to list here, but you can read all about them on Jasper’s website! 

And what’s funny is that even with all these activities, one of my favourite things to do in Jasper is just enjoy Jasper. It’s a fantastic mountain town, and if you’re into wildlife, it’s pretty easy to spot them. Both deer and elk roam the city like they own it and this particular trip I was lucky enough to see a stunning wolf run right beside my vehicle on the highway. It was amazing.





Other fantastic sights include Athabasca Falls, which even in the winter is a sight to behold:



And make sure you leave some time to watch the sunrise or sunset form Old Fort Point, which gives you view of the whole valley.



Whether you’re after delicious dishes, amazing adventure or scenery like you’ve never seen, it doesn’t really get better than Jasper in January!

Mike Morrison